Actor Ray Ficca in the film  Route 30, Too.  The film premiers in York next month.
Actor Ray Ficca in the film Route 30, Too. The film premiers in York next month. (FLIPSIDE -- SUBMITTED)
It won't be a lavish, Hollywood-type movie premiere, with a red carpet, dazzling gowns and spotlights.

That's not what the director and actors involved in "Route 30, Too!" would expect for their film, which will make its York premiere next month at the Strand Capitol Theater.

The two-year effort to bring the second film of a planned trilogy to screen is a labor of love for those involved, which include director and producer John Putch and a close-knit cast of local and Hollywood actors.

The movie premiered in Gettysburg and Chambersburg in the fall and is set to play at the Berlin Independent Film Festival in Germany in two weeks.

"With these (local) premieres there is a great buzz and excitement," said Ray Ficca, who plays Junior in the film. "It still has that buzz of a movie premier, like a Hollywood premiere but a little smaller. It's only played in a handful of theaters."

The film is a spoof on big-budget alien movies and involves a ghost in the woods and quirky characters, all centered on the Lincoln Highway that runs through York, Adams and Franklin counties.

The York premiere, on the evening of Feb. 16, will include a question-and-answer session with Putch and members of the cast after the screening. The premiere is a chance to expand the film's local following and interact with the audience.

"It's like a theater experience of sharing your work," said Ficca, the artistic director at the Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville.



audience always has terrific questions, not just about the movie."

"There's nothing better than actually getting a chance to share it with the audience. That's the best part for me," said Putch, a veteran actor and director who is the son of television actress Jean Stapleton and the late producer/director William H. Putch, who guided the Totem Pole Playhouse for many years. "I enjoy it and people seem to appreciate it."

"I think it is really neat to do the premieres where we filmed it," said Brigid Ryan, who plays Mary in the movie.

Actress Brigid Ryan-Pitts is the female lead in the film  Route 30, Too.
Actress Brigid Ryan-Pitts is the female lead in the film Route 30, Too. (FLIPSIDE -- SUBMITTED)
"It's a different kind of energy, but it's a warm audience."

Shot on location in Southcental Pennsylvania, the film is the sequel to Putch's 2009 film "Route 30." It involves a local legend, the ghost of the White Woman who while haunting South Mountain wants to get rid of a pesky space ship that landed in her forest. It's interwoven with stories of wacky characters, including Rotten Egg, the owner of Chief Split Log's Gentleman's Club.

"The film has a lot of heart to it," Ficca said. "They are wonderful characters you could meet in any small town along Route 30. You know people like this."

Ficca describes his character as a sidekick to Rotten Egg.

"He's always trying to do the right thing, but doesn't always succeed," he said.

Putch began making small-budget, independent films on the side after growing frustrated with the influence of studios and distributors. His films "Valerie Flake" and "Mojave Phone Booth" are fan favorites on the Indie film festival circuit.

Putch typically assembles a close-knit crew and cast to make his independent films, creating a theater troupe-like feeling.

"It was really a magical time (the filming)," said Ryan, who is originally from Pittsburgh. "John brings together everybody that he loves. It's an incredible opportunity to work with him."

For "Route 30, Too!" Putch is not only the director, but the producer, distributor and public relations man.

But working independently had its drawbacks. After wrapping up filming of the movie in December 2010, Putch had to put the project aside to direct "Beethoven's Christmas Adventure."

"I literally couldn't touch it for months," said Putch, who has also directed several episodes of television's "Cougartown" and "The Middle."

The special effects in "Route 30, Too!" also took more time than expected, he said.

Putch has already begun writing the screenplay for the third film in the trilogy. He expects that one to take much less time to get to the theaters.

But you'll get a chance to ask him about that at the York premiere.

If you go

What: York premiere of film "Route 30, Too!"

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 16

Where: Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, the corner of George and Philadelphia streets in York.

Details: There will be a question and answer session with director John Putch and the cast after the film's screening. The first 50 people in the theatre will get a "Route 30, Too!" poster.