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Last updated: August 20, 2005
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

 

Rough Cut: TURNTABLE

by Janet Young
 

Chlotrudis can be a great resource for filmmakers seeking an informed eye on their works-in-progress. A team of four CSIF members recently joined Robert Patton-Spruill of Film-
Shack Productions to screen a rough cut of his new feature film Turntable and give our feedback.

Robert Patton-SpruillPatton-Spruill describes his work as “Urban New Wave” or “film noir in the hood”---updated settings of classic French films made in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury and drawing on Boston talent. TURNTABLE tells the story of Vincent, a live-and-let-live nightclub DJ who struggles to escape the tentacles of the crime world that has enmeshed his father and brothers. Knowledgeable viewers will recognize the film as an homage to Truffaut’s SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER.

Warmly welcomed at FilmShack’s Headquarters by Patton- Spruill, his business partner and spouse Patty Moreno, and producer E.J. Walton, our team took a quick tour of the Film- Shack facility, which provides equipment rentals and postproduction facilities for independent filmmakers in the Boston area. Then we settled in front of a small monitor to watch the film. We knew in advance that the music soundtrack hadn’t been selected and Turntablethe sound editing wasn’t final, but also that if it seemed that a scene or piece of dialogue was obviously needed for the film to hold together, chances were that footage had already been shot and we could suggest re-incorporating it.

Says screening team member Chadd Kline of the experience, “What I found was that the film was substantially more complete than I thought and it was great! The plot and characters taken on a ‘surface’ level makes for compelling viewing, but the fact that this is all based on a French New Wave movie makes it even more astonishing to people ‘in the
know.’” Beth Curran adds, “I really appreciated the chance to remind myself how to view a film critically...since college I’ve tended to avoid it, not wanting it to interfere with my full enjoyment of whatever it is I’m watching. This process reminds me that I can do both.” Here was one situation in which no one was going to accuse us of being over-analytical.

Afterwards, Robert and his associates listened to our questions and comments with remarkable open-mindedness. Says Chadd, “It was wonderful to hear his responses to all the criticism because it was obvious that he had spent a lot of time with similar questions and issues and he had made conscious choices one way or the other. It was exciting to understand his artistic vision in this way.”

Beth says of Robert and E.J., “I’m sure that was difficult on some level for them, to be that open so late into the post of the film, you know? And yet they were really gracious and
very receptive to what we offered.” She adds that some of the film’s most violent yet evocative scenes have continued to reverberate with her weeks later.

Beth speaks for the entire screening team when she says,” I definitely want to do this again, and definitely want to see the final cut of TURNTABLE!”