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Broward moviemaker Andrea Olabarría says she laid it all on the line for teen film, ‘Rough Winds’

By STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

s822-ROUGH_WINDS_1_embedded_prod_affiliate_56 Andrea Olabarría of Wilton Manors put a lot of herself into Rough Winds, her new film about a group of extremely troubled teens.

Olabarría, 28, conceived the story, co-wrote the script, produced and directed the feature, which screens Wednesday at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. And the aspiring filmmaker, who learned her craft at Miami Dade College, also put $20,000 -- ``All my money'' -- into the three-year project.

``And that's not what it cost,'' she says. ``Everybody's working for a percentage. If I had to pay for all the actors and locations, it would cost 100 grand, easy.''

Written in 2006, filmed throughout Broward County and featuring a young South Florida cast, Rough Winds takes on all sorts of lurid issues: teen suicide, incestuous rape, bulimia and self-hating homosexuals.

``It really isn't autobiographical. It's all fiction,'' Olabarría says.

She concedes: ``The gay character I came up with because I'm gay. The first couple of years I realized I was gay, I wasn't able to tell anybody. It's really hard to do. But when you come out, you just say `Screw it.' You start telling people, going out and partying and realizing, `I should have done it a while ago.' ''

First-time movie actor John Iovino plays Connor, a macho teenage boxer who flips out when confronted by his young lover (played by Albert Campillo, 22, of Hialeah) and beats him almost to death.

``The message definitely is not to be afraid to be yourself,'' says Iovino, a younger-looking 32-year-old who lives in Plantation with his girlfriend and her two children. ``There's more harm that comes from pretending. Look how much damage [Connor] does, almost killing his friend.''

Olabarría found most of her young performers by advertising on casting website ActorsInfoBooth.com.

Rough Winds also stars Danna Maret, 21, of Coral Springs, whose character, Jess, slits her wrists in the film's opening scene, and Jessica Brydon of Lake Worth, who plays Ann, a chubby teen who keeps the weight down by sticking a finger down her throat and vomiting -- on camera.

``I'd do anything I had to do to make her real,'' says Brydon, 19. ``The day of the big vomit scene, I didn't eat before I went. I was having difficulty making myself throw up.''

Olabarría and her crew put together a mix of mustard mixed with water and vinegar. In the cinema tradition of Divine and John Waters' Pink Flamingos, trouper Brydon downed the vile concoction.

``It tasted awful, and it worked,'' she says.

Cast: Danna Maret, Jessica Brydon, John Iovino, Albert Campillo, Mary Ann Leavitt and Owen Miller

Producer-director: Andrea Olabarría.

Screenwriters: Olabarría and Doug Klozzner.

Running time 100 minutes. Vulgar language, graphic violence, sexual scenes. 8 p.m. Wednesday at Cinema Paradiso. Cast and crew members will attend the screening and stay for the party in the courtyard.

Caption: John Iovino plays Connor and Jessica Brydon plays Ann in Rough Winds.

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