Capitol Theatre to screen 'Route 30'

May 30, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. --John Putch could not get it out of his head.

The tales of sasquatch. The sightings of ghosts. The encounters with an elephant-obsessed store owner. The secluded lake that was once a rock quarry.

"It is something I think about all the time and have thought about for years," he said.

Often that lore drew him back to his home at the edge of the Micheaux State Forest.

But rather than repress his memories, the Hollywood film director decided to commit them to the big screen in his new backwoods comedy set along the Lincoln Highway titled "Route 30."

Putch traveled back to Chambersburg on Saturday to hammer out some last-minute details before he screens his movie at the Capitol Theatre on June 20 and 21.


The film has shown in Gettysburg, Pa., and York, Pa., two towns, which like Chambersburg, sit along the highway that inspired Putch's film.

Showing the film in Pennsylvania brings a smile to his face, he said.

"When I show it around here, there is a decidedly inside edge for viewers," he said. "It is much more fun to show when the audience is in on the secret."

The film tells the stories of three people who live along the Lincoln Highway and weaves the threads of local tall tales into the characters' lives. Among its small cast are Chambersburg native and actress Alicia Fusting, and former Totem Pole Playhouse actors Carl Schurr and Wil Love.

The film is not rated, but Putch said it would probably be considered an R-rated movie because of some adult humor, drug use and profanity.

Putch grew up in Franklin County.

The son of actress Jean Stapleton and former Totem Pole Playhouse artistic director Bill Putch, he has not called the area home since the 1980s.

Yet he said there is an indefinable force that continually pulls him back to his childhood home. The best way he can describe it is the odd sense of comfort he feels when in Franklin County.

While Putch has entered the small-budget film in festivals across the country, winning 14 awards to date, he said he did not make this movie to pad his wallet.

"There is so much waste and squander in Hollywood," he said. "This is my love letter, really, to the area I grew up in. I did it for me. I wanted to tell my stories, and my medium is film."

Making the film proved to be so much fun, Putch said he has already committed to making "Route 30" a series, and said the plan is to shoot three movies in the area, hopefully starting in October 2010.

As he sat in the Capitol Theatre on Saturday, ideas for the next two films constantly peppered the conversation.

"Aliens, ghosts who want to get rid of the aliens and strippers," he said laughing. "That is all I can tell you about the next one."

But until he hammers out the details of the next film, tentatively titled "Another Route 30," audiences will have to settle for watching the first installment in June.

If you go

What: "Route 30," a new comedy by Chambersburg native John Putch

When: June 20, 7:30 p.m.; June 21, 2 p.m.

Where: Capitol Theatre, Chambersburg, Pa.

More: Tickets cost $15. Information on the film can be found at Information on the screening and purchasing tickets can be found at or by calling the box office at 717-263-0202.

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