The new film Working Man was the opening night feature for the Twin Cities Film Fest, which is celebrating its ten year anniversary. It stars Peter Gerety as Allery who loses his longtime job at a factory in the Rust Belt. He lives in a small town with his wife, Iola (Talia Shire), and this has been his daily life and routine for many years. He feels lost but not willing to give in. He takes it upon himself to break into the factory and go about his work as if nothing has happened.

Part of the festivities every year include discussions and talkbacks with the filmmakers and actors who made it all possible. Opening night was no exception as Executive Director and founder Jatin Setia was able to bring in Robert Jury who wrote and directed Working Man along with two of its stars, Talia Shire and Peter Gerety. Shire is a two-time Oscar nominee for her iconic work in the Rocky and The Godfather films. Gerety can be seen in the acclaimed television series The Wire and Sneaky Pete. I had the opportunity to interview them quickly as they walked the red carpet on opening night.

Robert, this is your first film, what went through your head when you heard Talia and Peter had signed on?

Robert Jury (RJ): It’s a dream come true, right? You’re a first-time filmmaker and you get talent, experience and beautiful actors like Talia and Peter on board. I mean, it’s everything a first-time filmmaker could want.

Talia Shire (TS): I have to tell you. It is a dream come true [for me]. I read the script. My friend, Clark Peterson, produced this movie. We’ve worked together and his taste is first rate. He said “Read this” and I said, “My god, this is different. This is extraordinary. Please let me do this.” First time people are really exciting to work with. They let you collaborate.

What responses have you seen from audiences and does it change when you’re in the Midwest or Rust Belt areas?

Peter Gerety (PG): Don’t know yet. This is my first stop in the Midwest.

RJ: This is our first stop in the Midwest. I’m a midwestern. This is home for me. I lived in Iowa, grew up there. I think it’s a pretty special part of the country.

TS: Great schools.

RJ: Great schools. We’ve seen a lot of industries move out of the Midwest and the Rust Belt. This movie addresses that, the importance of work, the issues of loss and how it affects a family, individuals.

PG: Mental stability

TS: And meaning.

What advice do you have for the Allerys out there that are feeling lost when they don’t have a job anymore and that life they know?

PG: Keep moving forward.

RJ: That’s a big part of the message of the film – to move on regardless of whatever may happen in your life, obstacles, things we don’t expect. That idea of moving on is so important to many of us.

TS: Get up, get out of bed, be creative and inventive, build something. However, that loss is very powerful when you lose a job.

Talia, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that The Godfather is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time. I’ve gotten to talk to Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia about it. What does it mean to you that it’s still studied and revered as a masterpiece all these years later?

TS: They are master works truly, and that someone had the audacity, my brother (Francis Ford Coppola), to write that kind of piece. That kind of size. It’s framed just right, the cinematography, the music, it’s spectacular. It’s a spectacular piece. I’m just extremely proud to be a part of it – a small part of it.

Connie’s a very important part of that story. Your father worked on the music for the third one, right?

TS: My Dad! Yes, he did. We were all there as the great circus family that the Coppolas are.

Hollywood royalty.

TS: A circus family.

Working Man will have an encore engagement at the Twin Cities Film Fest on October 23 at 12:30 pm. It will then play at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

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