CLEARFIELD – One day, he hopes to direct films in Hollywood. On June 18, Spencer T. Folmar, 20, of Grassflat will be a step closer to his “ultimate goal,” when his feature-length, independent film, “Guilt & Sentence,” premieres at the Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg.
Nearly two years ago, Folmar began writing a screenplay, which later evolved into his present film project. He said he continued to develop his ideas and had soon written 50 pages. He shared his evolving script with his cousin and co-writer, Jeffrey F. Spanogle.
“We started tossing around some ideas. His closely aligned with my own. We had a 147-page screenplay by June 2009,” Folmar said. He said they held open auditions for the cast at the Rowland Theatre a month later.
According to him, they had 50 people audition for the various roles in the film. He said they discovered their main characters among the auditioning talent. With extras, he saw his cast and crew quickly double in size.
Folmar admitted he had mixed expectations heading into the two days of auditions. He said he hadn’t heard of approximately 90 percent of those who tried out for a role in his film.
“I didn’t have any idea. It was amazing and exciting to see these people show up so enthused,” he said. He said his entire cast originated from Clearfield and Centre Counties, noting all filming was done in central Pennsylvania.
Folmar said he only had two weeks to shoot footage for “Guilt & Sentence,” a film with a nearly two-hour run time. In Hollywood, he said most directors film for as long as six months. He said they put in a number of long days, which sometimes spanned up to 16 hours.
“We once filmed for 48 hours – non-stop. We just switched cast members in and out. We had a deadline and were determined to make it. And, we did. We actually (wrapped up) a day early,” he said.
But Folmar transitioned into the next phase of his film’s production without blinking. He switched from a roommate dorm room set-up to a single. He would then convert his dorm room into a small-scale production studio that was complete with his editing equipment and software.
“Now, people are telling me to sleep already. But fortunately, God blessed me with the ability to work on little sleep,” he said. “But it’s gratifying to see it all come to fruition. We’re excited to bring it to the Rowland.”
Folmar said “Guilt & Sentence,” which is now in the post-production stages, has a “thought-provoking” storyline of two lost and troubled individuals. He said they are forever entwined after a traumatic event occurs in the film.
He continued, describing that Janis, a 20-year-old woman, struggles with depression. He said she takes the blame for Peter, who works as a social worker hiding a troubled past.
“It will explore different sides of human nature, (like) paranoia, suspicion and especially the weight of guilt and its consequences. The story explores the idea of soul-searching and shows the power of true redemption,” Folmar said.
“It has some intense scenes with a little blood and gore. It’s a moraled film, but it’s also real life. It will definitely make people think. In all my courses, I’ve learned that people digest the media. It’s going to stick with them. I think it will stick with them in a good way.”
He said the film has been rated as PG-13 due to mild language, light blood, gore and smoking. He said they have designed a trailer, which can be viewed on the film’s Web site. He said he believes it’s an accurate portrayal for viewers.
“Guilt & Sentence” will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, June 18 at the Rowland Theatre in Philipsburg. Doors will open at 5 p.m., however. Advanced tickets are available for $7 and can be purchased through the film’s Web site. All tickets will be $9 at the door, he said.
“Hirsch Jazz Quartet,” of State College, will entertain the audience from 5:30 p.m. until the showing at 7 p.m. They’ll perform music from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940’s. The theater will also be decorated similar to a “Red Carpet” event.
In addition to its premiere, Folmar said they will feature the film at the Super 322 Drive-In Theatre sometime in July. He said they haven’t confirmed a date for the showing.
He said they’re also discussing possibilities of showings in the State College, Altoona and DuBois areas. He said they plan to continue discussions with independent film studios in hopes of a distribution deal.
“It would be a dream come true. It’s my ultimate goal to be a Hollywood director. It’d be a dream realized to just get my foot in the door,” Folmar said.
Folmar was a graduate of the West Branch Area Junior – Senior High School in 2008. He is currently furthering his career studies at Grove City College.