Award-winning film ‘Blood Stripe’ screening tonight at Zeitgeist Zinema

 Photo by Andrew C. Messer

Photo by Andrew C. Messer

Tonight at 7 p.m., the Zinema 2 is hosting a screening of the award-winning film “Blood Stripe,” and will be followed by a Q&A with co-writer and director Remy Auberjonois. Auberjonois is a trained actor who is relatively new to the film production business, but has appeared as a character in titles such as Mad Men, Weeds, Michael Clayton and 30 Rock.

The film, shot mostly around Lake Vermilion and west St. Paul, follows the story of a Marine Sergeant (played by Kate Nowlin) who returns home after a third tour in Afghanistan. Unable to sleep and wracked with anxiety, it is clear that the Sergeant bears unseen wounds from her experiences. When a homecoming party provokes her into an explosive outburst, she runs deep into the North Woods, seeking refuge and solace. But she cannot outrun the darkness in her heart and the wilderness she seeks refuge in soon becomes full of peril.

Director Remy Auberjonois said that he and his wife Kate Nowlin (also a co-writer) originally found the location for the film before deciding on the plot. They later came across an article about a woman from Cook, Minnesota, who was named Soldier of the Year by Military Times. That was the original source of the idea behind using a female service member as a character.

“The story came from imagining a character into that place, and as we learned about certain experiences that some of our veterans have, we applied our imagination to get that experience across through narrative and cinematic storytelling,” Auberjonois said.

While the film is a fictional work, Auberjonois said that harsh truths can be found within the story about the reality of returning home from traumatic military service.

“We were really going for authenticity of place and performance, and tried to get at an underlying truth of an experience,” Auberjonois said. “We hope to give the audience an entré into understanding something about this experience in a way you can only get from fiction and drama.”

The base destination for the film was at Camp Vermilion in Cook, Minnesota. Auberjonois said that many scenes were shot there as well.

“Being at Camp Vermilion was ideal for a film crew because we could live and shoot scenes there simultaneously,” Auberjonois said.

“Blood Stripe” was the recipient of the best U.S. Feature Fiction Award at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival, the Audience Award at the 2016 Austin Film Festival and both the Audience Award and the Indie Vision Breakthrough Performance Award at the 2016 Twin Cities Film Festival. While Auberjonois said the awards were “very validating,” he places most value in the audience response.

“The audience is the prime validator, and the audience response has been wonderful,” Auberjonois said. “The veteran response has been very humbling and gratifying as well.”

Zeitgeist Zinema 2 is located at 222 E Superior St.

CultureKevin Ott