Brad Feinstein has played a key role in bringing quality films to viewers since 2016. The first film he helped produce was the Oscar-winning Fences, and he also was involved in producing the films Beatriz at Dinner (2017) and The Banker (2020). This season, he brings us Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised. Feinstein is the founder/CEO of Romulus Entertainment, which is “founded upon the principles of efficiency, timeliness, and selectivity while still creating transcendent, thought-provoking material.”
During our conversation focusing on his two latest films Jungleland and Dreamland, Feinstein highlighted his passion for engaging and dynamic film that reminded him of the great films of the 1970s. He is a passionate man who wants to bring well made, thought-provoking films to audiences. In the few years that Romulus has been around, I can say with certainty his company’s passion is visible in the films they produce.
During our conversation, Feinstein shared the important distinction that he wants to nurture great relationships with young and talented directors who bring great stories to audiences. In this, Feinstein has succeeded. Both Dreamland’s Miles Joris-Peyrafitte and Jungland‘s Max Winkler deliver raw and powerful films. I am excited for Feinstein to continue to continue to produce quality films with great talent. Check out our conversation below.
Awards Daily: You have worked to bring a diverse array of films to audiences from Fences and Beatriz at Dinner and now Jungleland and Dreamland. What draws you to projects?
Brad Feinstein: I really love projects that are diverse, that make a social statement and commentary. I am very fortunate to get to do what I do. If I am going to have this opportunity, I am going to work with something that gets people talking and can change the world. I think movies really impact people in that way.
AD: Dreamland explores so many elements that are timely to folks today. How did you connect with this subject material?
BF: I did not realize until COVID the impact this film would have. The film is very eerily similar to today. The themes that never go out style are coming of age stories. Young people wanting to transcend their circumstances. Both this and Junglenad are about protecting your family. The parents in Dreamland want to protect Eugene, and Eugene wants to make sure his family does not starve. It’s a movie about family, and love. It’s also about how certain circumstances can change your life forever.
AD: Dreamland has this mix of Grapes of Wrath and Bonnie and Clyde. What do you hope you viewers get takeaway from this story?
BF: Miles is absolutely an incredible film maker. Miles was 23 when we made this. To have that sensibility at that age and leading a crew is incredible. Everyone was in their mid to early 20s, and it felt special to give young people the opportunity to create incredible art. I think this is a fresh take on an older genre of film. I hope people enjoy the film, and if nothing else this is a beautiful story. The film has romance, drama, action, and tension. I think this is one of the best performances of Margot Robbie’s career, and Finn is an amazing upcoming talent. Travis and Kary are fantastic and Darby Camp is a great scene stealer.
AD: I appreciate that you invested in a young director who has a clear vision for his work. What has your process been for creating these working relationships?
BF: I think we are storytellers, we like to tell fresh diverse stories. A lot of these young filmmakers have had a few films under their belt. It was clear from the films Max and Miles had made that they were ready to take the next step. I want to cultivate directors who are driven by the passion for their work, and that want to tell inspiring stories. I want to work with great filmmakers, which will in turn make great films. I want my company to be a safe haven for talent directors to be able to make quality films for viewers.
AD: Jungleland was directed by Max Winkler who has worked in television and on other films, he also co-wrote this script. What stood out to you about this story?
BF: This movie to me was about brotherhood. I have a brother who I have been very close to, and when I read the script I was very inspired to be able to share this great story about a strong brother relationship. We thought the material was special. It reminded me of the movies.of the 70s. There was always such a rich tapestry of characters who come and go, and this film had all those key elements. The sacrifices the brothers make for one another
AD: Jungleland has a similar theme of hope and resilience. What spoke to you about this film?
BF: I think that is a great question. Hope and resilience are the things we need most right now. I really think we need this at this moment where we need stories that will make people think but will also give them hope they can get through the challenging moments of life. It has been a tough couple years, and the idea of coming to a movie that will give people hope is so important. The days of making these hopeless movies in this time is more challenging. No matter what you are struggling with a movie like this will give you hope and if you can do that then you have succeeded in creating a great film.
AD: Jungleland challenges the typical masculinity portrayed in boxing films. This stood out to me in many ways. I would love to hear you speak about the role this played in the film.
BF: I think that these are characters who are not afraid to open up to one another. While they have traditional masculine barriers we get a sensitive look into both characters. The sacrifices Stanley makes for his brother and the way Jack’s character sacrifices for his brother by taking those beatings (he does not have to). Sacrifice and determination are key to who these two men are, and then of course love. These two brothers love each other and they are willing to break their bodies down for one another.
Their story and their desire to open a dry cleaner is also very innocent. They live in squalor and what they ultimately want is to live in a world where they can create something fresh and pressed for others. I think the screen writers wrote very rich and robust characters, and you feel so much for their struggle, it’s so relatable.
AD: What were some of the unique experiences working on Jungleland?
BF: I have worked with some of the biggest actors in the world, and I have never seen people show up for the way they did for Charlie Hunnam as much as they showed up for him. There were days where there would be 500 people there to look at him. The power of TV really makes an impact. He shook every person’s hand, and was so great to work with. This reflects a lot of the work we do. We want to work with people who will continue to help create these experiences for viewers in our films.
AD: What would you like folks to take away from your films?
BF: I just want people to go out and enjoy the films. There was a lot of hard work that went into these films. I think these films will move people. I want people to get excited about Romulus films. We make high quality prestige films that have a message. We really hope that people like our films and are supportive of what we do.
Jungleand is available on VOD (rental) and Dreamland is available on November 17th for VOD rental.