Freise brothers set to film first Hollywood feature film in hometown of Union, Missouri

UNION, Mo. – The Freise brothers’ pursuit of their filmmaking dreams is now taking them from Hollywood back to their hometown of Union.

Adam and Nathan Freise will return to Union this March to shoot their first feature film titled One

Even when the twins were young they shared a common interest in drawing and animation. But they were encouraged by their parents and peers to aim their talents at something more legitimate to their geographic location, such as architecture.

“After going to Disney World we saw the cartoonists there, and that was really exciting for us to see,” Adam says. “It was like, ‘Oh wow, this can actually be a job!’ But still, at that time I think our parents were like, ‘OK, you’re great at art and you’re good at math. Maybe go for something more practical like engineering or architecture.’”

Architecture it was.

The duo attended the University of Kansas in 1999 and graduated with bachelor degrees in architecture in 2004. They then moved to Chicago to take on their newest endeavors with their creative skill sets. Nathan says it wasn’t until after seeing Joseph Kosinski’s production Tron: Legacy that the twins realized they had the same skill sets to pull off a filmmaking career as Kosinski – who also found his start as an architectural designer.

Additionally, Kosinski also hails from a small Midwestern town, giving the twins hope for a successful future.

Adam tells The Heartlander their knowledge of drawing on a computer has helped blaze a smoother transition into the world of movie visual effects. Architectural designers and Hollywood moviemakers, it turns out, use the same software programs. 

Nathan says people typically ask how he and his brother are so creative for two small-town Missouri boys. His answer: a small town forces you to become creative because there isn’t much else to do. As children, the two would grab their friend Travis and head off for “missions” armed with their parents’ VHS recorder and imaginations. 

Nathan would ultimately set out for his Master of Fine Arts degree in New York. After producing a thesis film advised by none other than Adam, the twins decided they were officially done with architecture and decided it was time to pursue the world of entertainment, where they found themselves making commercials in L.A. for the last 10 years. 

The two have produced commercial spots for the likes of Adidas, NFL, Zillow, Calphalon and BMW, and were even chosen for a Young Director’s Award at the Cannes Film Festival for a Tesla advertisement. In addition, the brothers were invited to Space X and had the opportunity to meet Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Adam says before he and his brother began writing One, it had been an ongoing idea. The film will be a 20-minute short, which the Freise twins maintain is where many filmmakers find their start in film. 

So, what will it be about?

“Without giving too much away,” Adam says, “it’s about that home journey and how it changes in your life. In order to get a proper screenplay together we brought on our friend J. Elvis Herman, who is a writer who has done some novels and short stories. He hopped on board and we threw all of our concepts and ideas at him and he turned it into a screenplay. When we bring it to festivals we would like to get interest drawn from producers or studios who may want to shoot something bigger with us and lead to bigger and better things.”

The Show-Me State natives say Missouri’s tax incentives are non-existent for moviemakers, but they still feel Missouri presents the best backdrop for their dystopian-style short film. 

“I think there’s something about growing up there,” Nathan says. “We have this family farm that has an old rusty trailer, there’s a junk yard we played around as kids, there are some really cool fields and a river. The actual world where we are building the story has no time period or location. We wanted to make this a surreal no man’s land.

“What we like about Missouri is all of the things from our childhood that drove our imagination. In late winter or early spring when all the leaves are off the trees and you have these dead-looking trees in the ground and it’s muddy with gray skies, it is kind of a weird dystopian look. We thought that fit perfectly for what we are trying to do.”

In order to raise funds for cast, crew, set design, flights, housing, meals and more, the Freise brothers are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for One. The campaign is still taking donations. For those interested in reading more about the Freise brothers and their campaign, visit their website

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