Feature Film by University Screenwriting Faculty Member Accepted at Two Film Festivals

Steven Saylor's third full-length feature film, "God's Country, Off Route 9" has now been accepted into four festivals

March 17, 2010

“God’s Country, Off Route 9,” an independent film by Steven Saylor, an assistant professor in the University's Writing for Film and Television program, has been accepted into the Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival and Riverside International Film Festival.

Scheduled for April 15 – 25 in Muskogee, Okla, the Bare Bones Festival is a showcase for independent films with budgets under a $1 million and features projects "usually helmed by a multi-tasking filmmaker who produces an independent motion picture by any means necessary." The Riverside Festival, April 16 – 25 in Riverside, Calif., is a growing showcase that screens "top quality international cinema from around the world, including world premieres, features, shorts and documentaries."

The 103-minute "dramedy," which premiered at the University of the Arts in April 2009, was also screened at two Indian festivals.

Co-written by Saylor with Ryan Kattner, "God’s Country" follows Bruce Brewster, who has been written off as a loser by his ex-girlfriend, best friend and shady guys who bankrolled his grad school film project. Drowning in debt and desperate for a new direction, Bruce gets a proposal from his estranged father: a pile of cash in return for Bruce's coming back home to family-values country to play the role of loyal son in dad's well-financed political campaign. Bruce takes the bait and heads home, only to become romantically entangled with a former high school classmate who is connected in an inconvenient way to his father's campaign.

The film stars Sean Christopher Lewis as Bruce; University of the Arts Theater Arts professor Johnnie Hobbs Jr. as his father Rod; Kristyn Chouiniere as Teri, Bruce's former classmate cum love interest; Nick Martorelli as Cole, Bruce's film-school buddy and business partner; University of the Arts alumna Alisa Howard '08 (Theater Arts) as Kat, Bruce's ex-girlfriend; and Kirk Wendell Brown as Bledsoe and Kaci M. Fannin as Sadie, Bruce's ex-girlfriend's father and mother, respectfully.

An assistant professor teaching screenwriting and film at the University of the Arts since 1996, Saylor is a writer, director and editor whose first two features, "The Pope of Utah" (with Chaim Bianco) and "Beat the Air" have played in festivals across the world. His features and shorts have aired on public television stations and won a number of awards, including best feature at the Chicago Underground Festival, best low-budget feature at London's Raindance Festival, and a citation at the Chicago International Film Festival.

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