Film & TV

Miami Family Breaks Out with Breakup at a Wedding

When Breakup at a Wedding has its Miami premiere at O Cinema tomorrow night, there may be almost as many Miami natives on screen as in the theater. That's because the director and the star of the comedy are brothers Victor and Philip Quinaz, who are returning home with their debut feature film.

"Born and raised," Vic says proudly. "We grew up in Miami Shores, at 93rd and North Miami Avenue." Vic went to New World, Phil to MAST Academy. Much of their family still lives here, their mother a high school teacher and their dad running the Johnson's Duplicating print shop on Flagler.

"Miami is one of the funniest places on the planet," Vic says, "and it's a part of everything we do."

The film -- which the brothers wrote with Vic's partner Anna Martemucci, also in the movie -- is constructed as an elaborate wedding video made by a videographer who refuses to respect the couple's boundaries. The videographer, played by Vic, ends up discovering all manner of breakdowns and freak outs by the couple and their guests, many of whom are played by Vic and Phil's Miami family.

"Our mom plays Phil's mom, the mother of the groom," Vic says. "She was a model back in the day and so as kids, we spent a lot of time outside the dressing rooms at Burdines."

Vic and Phil have been working together since nearly as far back as then, Vic making videos with the neighborhood kids. Later, Phil composed the music for Vic's first short film, which was shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

Though Breakup at a Wedding was made in New York, Vic says, "We are dying to shoot in Miami. We want to do a comedy down there so badly."

Phil says, "We're kicking around an idea for a TV show about a treasure hunter. He's a Florida chain mall guy who owns a few Supercuts. But on the weekends, he goes down to the Keys to dive for treasure. It'd be about beer koozie culture."

Work necessities have moved the brothers to Los Angeles where, other than taking meetings with idols of theirs like Ivan Reitman, they are expanding the Periods project with the Nerdist website and gearing up for the television pitch season.

"But one of the first pitches that we're going out with in the fall for cable takes place in Miami," Vic says. Though he can't go into the details of the show, he insists that "the goal is to shoot something there."

Don't believe him? Short of having a colada tattooed on his neck or naming his first-born child "Mofongo, Jr.", Vic has one of the most authentic Miami lifer bona fides around.

"I actually grew up with Billy Cohen, now known as Billy Corben. We were best friends in high school but went different ways after."

The pair was the president and vice president of the student council at New World and was in charge of planning their prom together. Or at least Vic was.

"Billy had a special deal so he could graduate early, to finish his film," Vic remembers. "So I had to take over prom duties. I had to pick the hotel. I had to pick the theme. I had to pick chicken or steak."

Vic picked steak. He picked the rare and elusive No Theme. "But it was New World, so it was an alternative school. Most people just wanted the prom to be over so they could start the festivities of an alternative nature."

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B. Caplan

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