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    "Roman Citizen" Premiere in Louisville Draws Crowd Despite Oscars
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    Most of Louisville's population was probably glued to the Oscars Sunday night, but a notable crowd showed up at the Brown Theater to view the world release of Outrider Studios' "Roman Citizen". Excited chatter filled the lobby, which opened at 7 p.m. with finger foods and a cash bar. Actors and crew mingled with the crowd as people posed for pictures in front of the "Roman Citizen" backdrop that was set up for the event. Attendees found their way into the theater, and the film producers were introduced by local comedian Rich Ragains.   It was writer, director and producer Luca Elmi that kept the audience in stitches, though. 

    "I need you to bare with me," said Elmi after being introduced by producer and director of photography Hunter Curry, "because you are here for free, so just sit down and listen. I have some people to thank..."

    Elmi went on to thank the Brown Theater for allowing them to reschedule the premiere after winter storms made it impossible for cast and crew to get into town for the originally scheduled date last Tuesday. "A filmmaker I once knew compared film making to making love," Elmi continued, praising the Louisville production team. "I like to compare it to making love in a dentist's chair. It can go from intensely pleasurable to intensely painful in a moment. These guys took the dentist out of the equation. I got to come to Louisville and make love for six days."

    After a round of laughter, Curry and co-producer / unit production manager Drew Ingram commented on meeting Luca at a film festival and made a few comments on how proud they were of their cast and crew. Then, spirits were high as the room went dark, and the film company graphics filled the screen. 

    It is sound advice to any screenwriter that something exciting should happen within the first seven to ten pages to set things in motion. "Roman Citizen" started on page one. The film opened with intense action, quick cut edits and heart pounding music as an apparent bank robbery unfolded.  The acting in the film was commendable with superb performances by the entire cast. A lot of emotion was displayed by the cast as they were interviewed by Lieutenant Elàn Gallagher and Detective Yas Barrow (Sheilagh Weymouth and David van Arsdale). Each of the interviews was followed by flashbacks to fill the audience in on more of the story behind the opening chaos. The bank "robbers" kill the bank security without taking any money, and the crime doesn't make sense to Lt. Gallagher until "history expert" Det. Barrow tells her about an invasion in Rome where a whole city is ransacked as part of a larger plan to have one man killed. The story pushes the detectives to realize that the criminals hid themselves amongst the victims after the stand off with police. The whole plot was actually a plan for revenge and not a bank robbery at all.

    It was hard to not notice a few small technical difficulties towards the end with sound and editing, but I'm sure the kinks will be worked out. The overall plot and concept by Luca Elmi  was interesting, and some of the dialog really stood out as well done; I feel the writing and editing could have been cut a little cleaner with less explanatory dialog. I always enjoy a writer who can take an ancient story or concept and weave it into a modern tale. I found it quite impressive that the 40 minute film was made in 6 days. I was also impressed with the location and the involvement of the Louisville Metro Police Department SWOT team. All in all, "Roman Citizen's" cinematography by Curry, Brennan Clark, Cody Duncum, and Kevin Crisp coupled with the editing by Stefania Calatroni and direction by Luca Elmi really built tension for the audience, and I look forward to more from this team.

    "Our First AD David Stickler was responsible for saving this film and being able to handle the scale of this thing," said Curry. "Good ADs are hard to find. We needed someone who could tame the lion, "Roman Citizen." He had the A team to deliver on many levels of organizing our production so that the creatives could focus on the story."

    Outrider Studios hopes to work on a TV pilot next, and they showed the trailer for "Blackstone" after the featurette. The trailer about miners in Eastern Kentucky definitely got my interest. It was professionally made, and it packed a lot of conflict into just two powerful minutes that made me want to see more. Actor Paul Louis Harrel portrays a mine owner and really nailed the line that ends the trailer by holding out a coin, staring down the miners and calmly saying "Before you go starting a war, remember one thing: I own you." He then slammed the coin in his hand on the table in front of him as the screen cut to black.

    The evening ended with a mini documentary by Cayce Crown about the making of "Roman Citizen."  Crown did a fantastic job of really creating an inside experience for the audience and capturing Elmi's personality. The moments shared displayed a spirit of professionalism, fun and dedication. Everyone had great things to say about the experience.  Stay up to date with all of Outrider Studios' news by following their Facebook page or their website. 


    Photography: Drew Ingram (left), Hunter Curry (center) and Luca Elmi speak about the film. Photo by Danielle Bartley.
     

    Jessica Lynn's picture

    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for Louisville.com since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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