‘Route 30’ director makes ‘trilogy’ plans
The success of “Route 30,” John Putch’s low-budget, local film that has won 14 awards at film festivals across the country, has motivated his creative genius to make two more films about the area and its folklore.
“I’m making a sequel,” Putch said with excitement. “It will be the second film in the ‘Route 30’ trilogy!”
Putch has already drafted a script for a second installment about the local highway and area myths and truths intertwined with loveable characters. Putch said some of the original characters will appear in the second film that is expected to start production in October 2010.
“The tagline is ‘New stories, same highway,’” he said. “It will take place in Pennsylvania and I plan to condense it (the coverage area) even more. This one will focus on Fayetteville and Caledonia, the area between Gettysburg and Chambersburg. That’s where the ghosts are, the Bigfoots are and where alien spacecrafts land.”
Producer Jonathan Taylor said Putch didn’t mention there would be more than one “Route 30” film made.
“But during the experience of this film, there were so many moments that were creative and as soon as it was done and people took to the characters, I could tell there were ideas for another one.”
Taylor said Putch began working on the new script after the original film premiered in York last fall. “I read the script a few months ago,” he added. “I’m sure he’s not completely finished. He was out of the country for awhile and I’m sure he’ll work on it more this summer.”
Putch plans to officially announce his upcoming plans at a press conference Saturday, May 30, in Chambersburg’s Capitol Theatre.
Putch and his cast and crew members are preparing for a June 20 premiere of the original “Route 30” film at the Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg.
“It’s about time we’re showing it in Chambersburg,” Putch said. “We shot part of the movie there and I was born there. I can’t wait to show it for the people who couldn’t make it to Gettysburg.”
The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June, 20, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 21. Tickets are $15. The showings will be presented by the Cumberland Valley Film Club, the Capitol Theatre and Patriot Federal Credit Union. A pre-show reception with members of the cast and crew will be held from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. June 20 in the Woods Center in Chambersburg. A limited number of tickets are available for $25.
Putch said he has been working closely with Chambersburg Mayor Pete Lagiovane to have the premiere held at the theater. Putch said he will be joined by his sister, Pamela Putch, an executive at NBC; Curtis Armstrong, best known for portraying Booger in the “Revenge of the Nerds” films from the 1980s and 1990s; Mister Ed of Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum in Orrtanna; Taylor; St. Thomas native Alicia Fusting; Carl Schurr, a former proprietor of Totem Pole; and a few others from Los Angeles for a question-and-answer session after the film Saturday and Sunday.
The film also will be shown at the Artsfest Film Festival in Harrisburg on May 25. Putch also will travel to England at the beginning of June to show the film at two festivals.
Putch said previously he decided to make a second low-budget film since his 2006 film, “Mojave Phone Booth” starring Steve Guttenberg and DeLuise, won seven awards at five different film festivals.
“I decided I wanted to set it in familiar settings,” Putch said. “I had great memories and great resources (in Fayetteville), and to make small movies you need help and resources. I thought, ‘Where can I go where it can be friendly?’ That’s how it came to be. I don’t particularly care for the way Hollywood does their films and TV shows. I think the better movie is the more economical endeavor and the one that is driven by the content.”
Audiences across the U.S. have accepted the film and appreciated it, according to Putch.
“We won 14 awards and have been in 30 or 40 film festivals and we’re still going strong,” he said. “We’ve won the Grand Jury Award for best feature in Iowa and recently won the ‘Best Use of Booger’ award (for Armstrong) in Seattle. That’s one of my favorites!
“I’m happy to say that for the people who choose to go see it, the reaction has been tremendous,” he continued. “They don’t get all the nuances that we get, but they are still pleased after they see it. They are incredibly interested in what was real and what was fictional. Here (locally), they get that. But John G. Public in Palm Springs or Chicago thinks everything is fictional until the question-and-answer when I tell them Mister Ed is real, the Totem Pole is real and that my father was Bill Putch. They’re fascinated by that.”
Putch is working on getting “Route 30” on DVD and hopes to release it by the end of 2009.
Taylor said he is not surprised by the film’s success because it is original. On the other hand, he is a bit surprised because “the film is so original.”
“We didn’t make it to win festivals, but it’s always encouraging to have audiences enjoy it,” he added. “I’m just a bit surprised because it’s so unique.”
Taylor said he, Putch and the cast and crew are extremely excited to show it to a local audience once again. It was shown at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg in September and at the Strand Capitol Theatre in York in October.
“It really brings the project full circle,” he said. “Other audiences like it, but not like they do at home. I can’t wait to watch it with the local audience.”
Record Herald by Denise Bonura