Arts

How DFW-based film ‘This World Won’t Break’ became a festival hit with no budget

Actor Greg Schroeder plays Wes Milligan, the lead character in This World Won’t Break | Image courtesy of This World Won’t Break

This past April, This World Won’t Break had its official world premiere at Dallas International Film Festival. The film, which was four years in the making, screened in a packed theater on the first night and received a standing ovation. It became an instant hit at DIFF, thus, more screenings were added to the schedule. This World Won’t Break has since proven to be a crowd favorite in Dallas’ independent film community. 

This World Won’t Break tells the story of Wes Milligan (Greg Schroeder), a musician struggling to make his big break into the music industry. The film was shot entirely in DFW and directed by Dallas-based director, Josh Jordan. While Jordan was able to secure many resources for This World Won’t Break, he and his crew largely relied on the kindness of local business owners, due to having limited funds.


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“We had a budget and we had a couple of investors,” Jordan says. “A couple of days before, they pulled. Literally, two days before principal photography, I went and had lunch with them and they told me ‘Yeah, we’re not doing this. It’s not working for us.’ I went to go pay my tab and I walked outside. I forgot that I actually rode from their office, so then I’m trying to get back in their car ride back to their office.”

Josh Jordan, director of This World Won’t Break | Image courtesy of This World Won’t Break

Disappointed, Jordan nearly gave up on This World Won’t Break.

“I ran a stop sign, I think I cried at the next one, and then I threw up the next one,” Jordan recalls. “And then I called my crew, and I said, ‘Guys, I really apologize, we can’t do this.’ And they were like, ‘We’ll see you tomorrow morning.’ And I said, ‘There’s no money,’ and they were like, ‘We gotcha, we’ll see you tomorrow morning.’ And so, the troops rallied and we just dove right into it, not knowing how we were paying for it the next day.”

Production on This World Won’t Break took place over the course of four years. Despite not having a budget, Jordan and crew were able to secure over $20,000 in crowdfunds. Venues kindly loaned Jordan their spaces for filming and other Dallas creatives loaned them costumes and equipment. Jordan also worked odd jobs to acquire funds for the film. The final cost of the film came to around $36,000.

After filming, This World Won’t Break clocked in at four-and-a-half hours long, however, with the help of his son Julian, Jordan was able to trim it down to a digestible two-hour film.

“I think I gave Julian a little bit of PTSD from all of that,” Jordan jokes. “He had to take a break from watching movies after editing my film.”

Up until This World Won’t Break’s premiere at DIFF this past spring, Jordan was nervous about how the film would be received.

“To pull the curtain back and be 100 percent honest, I didn’t think we would even get into the Dallas International Film Festival,” Jordan says. “And then when we did, it was mind-blowing. And then the second wave hit, and my thought was, ‘What if no one comes?’ Then, they put us in a really large theater, then the third wave hit was which was, ‘What if no one likes it?’ You always believe in your own art, but as an artist, you always doubt. But I’ve just been blown away at the response so far.”

At DIFF, This World Won’t Break received the audience award for Best Narrative Feature. It has since gone on to be added to the line ups of other film festivals, like the Nashville Film Festival and the Byron Bay Film Festival in Australia. Although Jordan has not yet disclosed plans for a nationwide or a home release of This World Won’t Break, he is excited for the film to put Dallas on the map.

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“Dallas, Texas showed up and it keeps showing up every single day,” Jordan says. “I can’t believe that we made it. I knew that we would, but the fact that it just keeps growing is just a testament to the city and the community.”

This World Won’t Break will screen at the inaugural North Texas Film Festival on Sunday, September 29 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets for NTXFF can be purchased here.

Alex Gonzalez
Alex Gonzalez is a writer at Local Profile. He is a lover of food, music, sports, art, and world cultures. Alex was born and raised in Plano and graduated from University of North Texas in 2017. When he is not writing, Alex enjoys hiking, attempting to cook, going out to happy hours, and playing board games with friends.

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