Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, award-winning director and four-time Sundance film festival participant Miguel Arteta has roots about as far from the Midwest as possible. Nonetheless, attending his own screening in cuffed jeans with simple black lace-up shoes, his button-down untucked, Arteta seemed as down-to-earth as the characters in his wholesome new comedy “Cedar Rapids.”

Though rather far removed from the state where the film takes place, Iowa, “Cedar Rapids” was shot almost exclusively in Ann Arbor’s Clarion Hotel. The hotel was chosen for its unique structure, which features a centralized, indoor swimming pool. Further filming took place at a ramshackle white house on the outskirts of town, which was demolished the day after shooting wrapped up.

Representing an entirely different part of the country while on location somewhere else theoretically poses some problems from a production standpoint. However, according to Arteta, it was surprisingly simple to recreate Iowa amid Ann Arbor’s tree-lined landscape.

“Fortunately the film is about a convention … very indoors,” Arteta said in a recent interview with The Michigan Daily. “And both places (Cedar Rapids and Ann Arbor) are cold! It was justifiable that we would be inside a lot of the time.”

“Cedar Rapids” was originally slated to be shot in the city of the same name, but early on in the production, a total collapse of the Iowa film tax credit incentive resulted in a dearth of funds with which to produce the film and a waste of eight weeks of preparatory work. Fearful of production falling far behind and attracted by the 42-percent tax rebate offered by Ann Arbor, production was relocated — with only four weeks of prep work allowed. Though the production team rushed to complete the preparations, by a stroke of luck four weeks was plenty of time, according to Arteta.

This abrupt change was taken in stride by the director, who regarded the shift as just another difficulty to overcome, displaying a resiliant trait evident throughout the events in Artera’s life. Despite being expelled from high school in Costa Rica, he moved to Boston to complete his schooling and subsequently made his way to Harvard, where he met and fell in love with filmmaking, before eventually leaving for Wesleyan. After graduating from that institution, he earned a Student Academy Award for his film “Every Day is a Beautiful Day.” He then attended the American Film Institute, where he earned his MFA in 1993.

Two years in the making, “Cedar Rapids” represents a mishmash of Midwestern values, hypocrisy and Arteta’s own life philosophy. He is a man who believes in what the Midwest stands for, having fun with it but “never making fun” of it, he said, and defending it when necessary. For example, Arteta pointed out that Iowa accepts gay marriage and voted to elect President Barack Obama, yet still bears the brunt of jokes about Midwestern conventionalism from so-called “liberal” states like California. Arteta’s love and respect for the oft-ridiculed Midwest is evident in his view of the film and the script as a whole.

“What affected me about the script is that it told the story of how you can be kind but not be a chump,” Arteta said. “That’s the kind of people I’m looking for in my life and that’s what I’m aiming for myself.”

Thanks to Miguel Arteta and his philosophy, perhaps “Cedar Rapids” will bring some glory and respect back to the Midwestern slice of the country that we call home, while sending a positive message in the process.

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