Georgetown College professor Ed Smith is bringing his acclaimed film Surviving Guthrie to the historic Rohs Opera House Sept. 20 with the hopes his fellow Harrison Countians will share in the joy of a project that has some legs.
The showing, sponsored by the Cynthiana Arts Council, is at 7:30 p.m., followed by a reception with the cast and crew at Bianckes the popular, downtown restaurant that was featured in one of the movies scenes.
Prior to that, Guthrie will be screened twice at the Central Florida Film Festival over Labor Day weekend (Aug. 29-31) at the Osceola Center for the Arts in Kissimmee. The 90-minute movie has also been chosen for the Secret City Film Festival in Oak Ridge, TN, Oct. 9-12, another of the 11 events in which this clever, dark comedy has been entered.
In between (Sept. 26), Smith will speak on The Making of Surviving Guthrie at the prestigious Filmmakers Studio in Louisville, in conjunction with the IdeaFestival. This is a pretty big dealfor me at least, he said.
Smith the director, editor and producer knew he had a hit when patrons at the March world premiere at Lexingtons Kentucky Theatre gave him a standing ovation and stayed around for comments and a glimpse of the actors and crew. He was visibly moved at the time; and, he said recently, That was a peak experience and Im still trying to process it. An artist spends so much time doing the workthen, to see it acknowledged like that its what every person whos ever been on stage or sung a song would hope for.
Smith continues to hear from alumni and others that this first feature-length film out of the Theatre & Performance Studies department was a high moment for the College, he said. We wanted it to look and sound like a movieso, I am proud that we could do that.
Smith and his go-to tech support student Michael McCord, a Cynthiana native who graduates in December with three majors (Math, Computer Science and Theatre), are still doing some fine-tuning. We continue to clean up the sound and weve added some additional dialogue little things that probably no one would notice, Smith said.
Cynthiana residents are likely to notice some of their friends and neighbors as extras in the restaurant and other scenes, including Lemmy and Peg Arnold, and Allen and Patsy Waugh. Smiths wife (Betsy) has two non-speaking roles as the college presidents wife and a caterer. Their son Ethan, who is home-schooled, has a small part.
Were lucky the people of Cynthiana have been so gracious especially (Bianckes owners) Tom and Judy Spicer, Ed Smith said.
Two other key Cynthiana connections arent visible: Composer for the film is Smiths brother-in-law Bobby Brannock, who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo.; and Kens NewMarket was the official donut-maker.
If we had 25 days of shooting, we probably consumed 35 dozen of Kens donuts, Smith laughed.
Most of Surviving Guthrie is set at a fictional, small liberal arts college (played by Georgetown College) with more than 100 students, faculty, staff or Georgetown alumni contributing.
Rising Georgetown senior Jessie Rose Pennington, who was profiled by Lexington Herald-Leader arts columnist Rich Copley in April, is Ally the estranged, individualistic daughter of Carter Guthrie (played by well-known Lexington actor Joe Gatton), an aging, disgruntled professor. Ally wont speak to her drunken father until the Paulsen College dean of students (English professor Todd Coke) blackmails her into reforming Guthrie or the school risks losing a huge donation from a wealthy alumnus. The plot thickens, but the ending has been warming hearts.
Film fans will have a chance to meet Ed Smith and scriptwriter Jesse Harris, Georgetown class of 06; as well as McCord and many of the cast members that night at the Rohs or Bianckes. Tickets are $5 for the showing and $5 for the reception. For reservations, call Missy Bishop at Maysville Community Colleges Licking Valley Center in Cynthiana, 859-234-8626, ext. 66400.