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Woodbury’s wolf of Hollywood

Woodbury native Joe Carlini’s first feature film, “My Senior Year,” will be showing Thursday, April 10 at the Woodbury 10 Theater. Carlini is in the process of negotiating a distribution deal for the film. (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

Woodbury native and filmmaker Joe Carlini has only been out in Los Angeles for a couple months, but already he is starting to see successes.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “The entertainment business in general is a game because it’s all chess moves, so you have to always position yourself to make things happen.”

Carlini, a Woodbury High School graduate, has been hard at work shopping several films around, including the Woodbury-based “My Senior Year.”

“You have to attack it,” he said. “You have to be a wolf. 

“You can’t let things slide by and happen – you have to make them happen.” 

“My Senior Year” will be showing at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at the Woodbury 10 Theater.

Taking in to the theaters

Having a screening at Woodbury 10 Theater is just one of the exciting things happening with Carlini’s “My Senior Year.”

He is currently in the process of negotiating a distribution deal for both domestic and foreign release.

The distribution company could not be disclosed at this time.

“It’s been my baby for a long time,” Carlini said. “I’m excited to give it some wings so it can be seen nationwide.”

“My Senior Year” tells the story of Brian Robertson, a home-schooled boy from a broken family. Brian's goal from a young age is to live a normal teenager's life, and when he is finally able to make that dream a reality he is in heaven. When tragedy strikes, his life is turned upside down. He feels taking his own life is the only viable option to escape his pain.

Carlini said the distribution company that he is working with is taking a leap of faith with “My Senior Year” because there aren’t any names attached to the film.

“They just thought it was that great of a film,” he said.

Carlini said the hope is that “My Senior Year” will receive a theatrical run before being available with Redbox, iTunes, Netflix and hopefully Walmart.

“If it was an ideal world, I’d like to finish “My Senior Year” and get that behind me,” he said.

Other movies in the mix

”My Senior Year” isn’t the only film that Carlini has on his plate right now. He already has two documentaries in the bag and is in the process of working on three additional feature films.

Carlini said the next film he wants to direct his attention to is a comedy that he is writing with his roommate, Dave Collins, another WHS graduate.

(Dave’s) one of the funniest kids I know, so I wanted to pick his brain,” he said. “With his one liners and my overall tone, we could write a really good comedy.”

Carlini and Collins are still in the process of writing the film, but Carlini said the humor is in the same vein as “American Pie” or “Superbad.”

“it’s about a girl trying to figure out what guy is for her,” he said, “and the sleaziness of guys in general.”

Carlini said he is hoping to start filming the comedy late this year, or early next year, in Minnesota with Minnesota-born actors. 

In fact, Carlini met Swardson through a friend, who is friends with Swardson.

In addition to the comedy, Carlini is also working on a football film, called “The Heart of a Champion,” which has generated some interest from several film financing companies.

“They said it has a lot of heart and guts to it,” Carlini said.

Additionally, Carlini has received interest in making one of his documentaries, a film about his grandfather called “Everything Is Wonderful,” into a feature-length film.

Carlini has not only seen success with shopping his films around, he has also made several connections out in Los Angeles, including the screenplay writer from “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

Carlini said he is going to keep reaching for the stars to make his filmmaking dreams come true.

“It’s time for me to move onto new pictures, new stories,” he said. It takes some time, but I’m excited that things are moving fast.”

My Senior Year” will be screening at the Woodbury 10 Theater on April 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10  for adults and students are free with a student I.D. Everyone that attends Thursdays screening receives an autographed mini My Senior Year poster signed by members of the cast and crew.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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