A stretch of Pennsylvania highway was the spark behind one filmmaker’s masterpiece.
“Route 30: Three Stories, One Highway” was written, produced and directed by John Putch, who is based in California. The film was shot between Chambersburg and Gettysburg. Now, it travels back to the area, this time showing on the big screen at Ligonier Theater beginning Feb. 20.
“In my effort to be original, I decided to take my ‘no frills’ moviemaking team back to my hometown and shoot some fun stories about people and themes that meant a lot to me growing up in the area,” Putch says.
Putch is the son of Bill Putch and Jean Stapleton, best known for her role as Edith Bunker on the television sitcom “All in the Family.” The two founded Totem Pole Playhouse, a summer-stock theater situated along Route 30 at Caledonia State Park, midway between Chambersburg and Gettysburg.
His “back to basics” moviemaking plan is simple: Share the profits with all of those involved in the production, and keep the budget low and the filming to a minimum, allowing the professional actors, directors and crew members to produce a spectacular show.
“The less you have, the easier it is. My new motto, when I’m not working for a Hollywood entity, is ‘less professional, more fun,'” he says.
The film was shot in 18 days in October 2007 with a cast of 15 and eight crew members. It includes three interconnecting comedic stories from folks along Route 30, also known as the Lincoln Highway, in south-central Pennsylvania.
“Deer Hunters Wives” tells of the frustrations of Civil War tour guide Mandy (Nathalie Boltt), who obsesses over Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed at the battle of Gettysburg. Mandy’s friend June (Christine Elise McCarthy) struggles with an Internet porn scheme to make extra money.
In “What I Believe,” a man (Kevin Rahm of “Desperate Housewives”) seeks the help of a Christian Scientist (Wil Love) to heal his back pain and explain the Big Foot that chased him down the mountainside.
“Original Bill” is the story of a writer (David DeLuise, son of actor, writer and chef Dom DeLuise) who buys a farmhouse in the country hoping to find inspiration to write his novel. He is sidetracked by his Amish neighbor (Dana Delany of “Desperate Housewives”), who smokes, drinks, swears and secretly watches his TV.
“The film also features properties along Route 30 and was partially filmed at Tin Lizzy’s in Youngstown, Pa., and Country Cafe & Video in Pleasant Unity,” says Cathi Rhodes, interim director of the Valley Players of Ligonier.
Putch says the film has been shown in York and Gettysburg, and he is looking for more venues to show the film along the Lincoln Highway.
“We started in July of 2008 and will continue to the end of 2009. We’ve played 21 festivals and have racked up 11 awards. We are pleased at the reaction, and hope others want to see it,” he says. “By the way, I’ll show this movie any place that wants it.”
Putch says that when time and budget allows, he attends the viewing of the film to participate in a question-and-answer session afterward. Although Putch will be unable to attend the Ligonier showing, he will send a representative to address the audience.
By Carla DeStefano
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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I Can Smell Your Brains Cinema and Freak Show Entertainment are proud to announce the Arizona Premier of Run! Bitch Run! this past weekend February 6th and 7th at Chandler Cinemas!
RBR is a take on exploitation films of the 70’s that will not only make you laugh but make you cheer on the sheer ecstasy of revenge taken throughout. The story carries a few similarities to Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave with a taste of They Call Her One Eye thrown in.
The story is about two traveling catholic school girls trying to raise money by selling religious paraphernalia and spreading the good word. Catherine, who is played by newcomer Cheryl Lyone, is a sweet and naive girl with God as her co-pilot and religion in her heart. Her friend Rebecca (Played by Christina Lobo and his croniesDeRosa – Playboy’s Babe of the Month in the July 2007 issue!) has sort of a wild steak now that they are away from the church and on the road.
The two girls get in serious trouble when they stumble upon a murder trying to teach the good word and are kidnapped by a pimp/drug dealer with a mean streak named Lobo (Peter Tahoe) and his two cohorts – Clint (Johnny Winscher) and Marla (Ivet Corvea). Their innocence is quickly taken as they are raped and tortured and then left for dead.
But you can’t keep a good girl down and it turns out Catherine lives trough this whole disaster. She steals a nurse outfit from a hospital and escapes to get revenge on the super hot!folks who did this to her and her friend. The bible does state, “An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.” Armed with a shotgun she makes a comeback worthy enough to make even Charles Bronson proud.
From here on out you can understand the gist of the film. The movie is packed with funny off the wall dialogue and good characters. Lobo is such a slimeball throughout the flick it is almost hard to picture him not being like that in real life! His constant howling like a wolf is hilarious. And Marla masturbating with a toilet plunger is a site to see.
The level of violence is extreme but done just enough that your anticipation for Catherine’s revenge builds up immensely. In our quest to find new and independent films, Run! Bitch Run! is for sure a film you don’t want to miss. It has all the cool elements of the old school Grindhouse films without a multi million dollar budget. Cheryl Lyone’s acting is great and quite impressive considering the intensity of her role and the variations her character goes through. There is even a funny cameo by Daeg Faerch of Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Hancock.
Director Joseph Guzman and writer Robert James Hayes II are currently working on a new film called Nude Nuns with Big Guns which is slated for 2010. Some of the same cast members of RBR are starring in the film and it’s currently in pre-production.
According to their IMDB page the synopsis is: Sister Sarah, a rehabilitated prostitute turned Nun, is tracked down, raped, and left for dead by her former pimp (Chavo) and his merciless motorcycle gang (El Diablos). Unable to control her lust for vengeance, Sara sets out to dispense Judgment Day on those who did her wrong.
We expect a lot of good things from Guzman and Hayes in the future and hope you make it out this weekend to the Arizona premier of a soon to be classic.