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An Interview with Brian Levin, Director of Union Bridge

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2020

Films directed by Brian Levin on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Union Bridge - in a few words, what is it about?


Union Bridge is film about a guy who comes back to his hometown and finds himself in the middle of a mystery that could affect his family legacy. In a thematic way the film is about a few things, one of them being how the past is connected to the present even if you don't know it.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Union Bridge - and is any of the film autobiographical in any way?


I was inspired to write Union Bridge after a friend told me that he was living in a small town, broke and searching for a legendary treasure in the hills nearby. The psychological state of someone looking for buried treasure was interesting to me and I used that character as a jumping-off point for the story. As far as if the film is autobiographical - I'm sure in a subconscious way it is, like most stories are.


Your film is in many ways associative instead of linear in its storytelling and does give away important information only by the by - so could you elaborate your narrative approach, and how hard was it to not (literally) lose your plot telling your story that way?


Yes the film is certainly more implied storytelling rather than explicit. One thing I thought of during the filming was the idea Hemingway talked about how you can show people the tip of the iceberg, and if you as the writer know what happens under the water of that iceberg then you can provide the minimal amount of information and have the audience feel the rest. I had the whole plot in my head, including intricacies that were not on the page either, so I just tried to make sure before we shot anything that I as the writer knew exactly what was happening and that it made sense logically. For me the main thing was telling a story for emotional effect, and that meant doing it in this associative way.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


My overall directorial approach was to let every person involved in the film have as much freedom as possible. I know as a writer on other projects I always did my best work when people allowed me the space to be inspired and excited about my artistic process. The only thing I did as a director overall was to try and make sure all of the parts connected to the whole in a way that would achieve the goal of the film, which was to make the audience feel something.


Where was Union Bridge actually filmed, why there, and what was it like filming there?


Union Bridge was filmed in a small town near the Mason Dixon line (where the Civil War was fought). The name of the town is Union Bridge and it's in Maryland - near where I grew up. I shot it there because it had the look and feel of this story. The town feels like an American town that hasn't changed much in 50 years and it has a strange aura to it. It was fun filming there as you really locked into the vibe of a small American town that in many ways have disappeared from the American landscape.


Do talk about Union Bridge's key cast, and why exactly these people?


The cast were great: I met Scott Friend through my brother in Brooklyn and he has great acting instincts and is a perfect collaborator. Alex Breaux came out of Julliard and is an extremely dedicated and powerful actor - I see a big future for him as he has such a unique look and ability. Emma Duncan graduated from NYU, and she is just totally next level talented. She is so good I really didn't want to give her much direction as her performance was always so inspired and clocked in to the spirit of the script. Elizabeth Noone is a veteran actress and has spent a lot of time with the legends of the industry in New York over the years - and it's apparent that she is cut from the cloth of that type of approach to acting, totally invested and bringing the intensity. All of them fit their characters perfectly and were the natural choices for their roles.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


The on set atmosphere of the shoot was exciting as for a lot of people involved this was a big opportunity to have a feature length film platform for their talents to be showcased. The camaraderie was strong and because of the small budget we all had to work hard and stay positive to achieve our goals.


The $64-question of course, where can Union Bridge be seen?


Union Bridge can be seen on all of the platforms like Amazon and iTunes and cable on demand services and DVD. There are other platforms too that are listed in the press release.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Union Bridge?


The audience and critical reception to the film is what I expected. It is a strange and unconventional film and some people will be along for the ride and dig it and others won't. One thing I'm happy about is that it seems that the people who appreciate the film do so for all the reasons that I would have wanted them to, taking notice of the attempt to make a film that was interesting and unique.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


I have a few scripts and many ideas for future projects - hopefully this film will create the opportunity to make them.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I originally got into filmmaking as a hobby, I thought it was fun to make comedy videos and stories with my friends and family. Eventually I got a masters in screenwriting as my interest deepened.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Union Bridge?


Before Union Bridge I wrote and produced a lot of comedy. I had also written some dramatic scripts but professionally I was more in the comedy space. I'm glad that this film allowed me the opportunity to explore the full spectrum of my filmmaking interest.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


As a director I would describe myself as pretty hands-off - I like to allow the moment to play out without getting in the way as I find that this is where you get some really magical moments in the performances.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


I have been inspired by many filmmakers, some of them include Altman, Welles, Cassavetes, Malick, Antonioni, Fellini, and the list goes on and on.


Your favourite movies?


Some of my favorite films are Network, The Long Goodbye, Lady from Shanghai, The Passenger, Amarcord, Big Lebowski, and the list goes on and on.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


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Films I deplore... hmmm... I don't like films that are too cute and feel like an aesthetic that I've seen a lot before. Bad dialogue really is tough for me to sit through.


Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?


My Twitter is brianlevinlives and my Instagram is brianlevinfilms, and Union Bridge has a Facebook page


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Thank you for your interest in my film, it is always amazing to connect with an audience, as that is part of the joy of creating something.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD