The curtain goes up at The New Main on a new independent film, “Right Before Your Eyes,” at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20.
The film, which is distributed by Nagra/myCinema, will have a limited nationwide theatrical release that day. The New Main will also host a special Q&A session with director, producer and writer
David Vincent Bobb along with other cast and crew members after the 2 p.m. showing on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Bobb, a local filmmaker, describes the film as a faith-based film. It’s about a newly recovered alcoholic, who embarks on a train ride home to visit his young, autistic son he has not seen since birth.
During the train ride, he shares his story with a stranger.
“Faith-based films get a really bad rap. But this story is relevant in today’s society — I think it will strike a chord with a lot of people, particularly in light of today’s opioid crisis. I’m hoping that this film can give someone hope — anything is possible if you have God in your life,” Bobb said, adding that the film is inspired by events in his life.
He said the title is a reference to the fact that the answer to all the main character’s problems were always there: right before his eyes, staring him in the face. Since its release earlier this year, it’s been nominated for a number of awards and has won six at various film festivals including the International Christian Film Festival, Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, Northeast Film Festival and Queen Palm International Festival.
“We like doing different things. Any time a film maker has an interest in showing at a smaller local movie theatre, we’re open to working with them,” said Penn Ketchum, who operates The New
Main with wife Aimee and is also a partner in Penn Cinema.
He said both movie theaters focus on a variety of genres.
“People want to see a small independent film as well as blockbusters like the Star Wars movies. ‘Right Before Your Eyes’ has been shown mainly at two-screen cinemas, which are known in the industry as ‘art house theatres’. When David approached me it was about showing the movie at The New Main,” Ketchum explained.
He said the idea for the Q&A session was born during a discussion he and Bobb had over coffee at Scratch Bakes, about two blocks from The New Main, which is located at 124 E. Main St., Ephrata.
“All good things are based on a relationship. It’s not every day you get to showcase the work of a local filmmaker. The Q&A session will give moviegoers a chance to meet the filmmaker and learn about the piece,” Ketchum said.
Bobb said the Q&A session is excited. “I love talking to people. I think it’s cool to be able to meet the subject matter of the film as well as the cast and crew and have the opportunity to ask them some questions,” he said.
He explained that he started acting as a child when he was in a school production of “Sound of Music” in Philadelphia. After graduating from high school, he took classes at a Philadelphia art school with the goal of becoming an illustrator. Bobb said at art school he had his first experience with the “alcohol scene”.
“My mom had paid for my first semester of art school, but when she found out I was involved with alcohol, she refused to pay for a second semester,” he explained, “I wanted to clean up my act so
I decided to enlist in the Marines. But I found out there was alcohol and drugs there, too. Eventually I got an honorable discharge from the Marines.”
In the Marines, he was stationed at Parris Island, and after being discharged, he found a job working as a waiter in a restaurant in nearby Beaufort, S.C.
“A lot of movies are shot in and around Beaufort, and one of the waitresses told me there was a casting call for ‘The Jungle Book’ directed by Stephen Sommers (the movie was released in 1994). I responded to the casting call and got the part of a British soldier. That ignited my passion for film and directing,” Bobb said.
He moved back to Pennsylvania and lived in Harrisburg. He continued to work in the restaurant industry, and unfortunately was still involved with alcohol and drugs. He met a girl in a bar, and she became the mother of his son, who was born in 1996. Like the character in the film, he was a nonverbal autistic.
“When my son was born, I again tried to clean up my act. I went to an AA meeting and met a guy involved in the theater scene in Harrisburg. He encouraged me to try out for the part of Biff in ‘Death of a Salesman’,” Bobb explained, “I got the role and that helped launch my acting career — after that I started getting gigs.”
He was encouraged to go to New York and “do the acting thing”.
“Unfortunately I got back into drinking. I moved back and forth from New York to Pennsylvania and spent time in and out of rehabs,” he said, “I hit rock bottom in New York &tstr; I felt guilty that
I wasn’t taking care of my autistic son and eventually I became homeless. I was able to move back to Pennsylvania,” he said.
During one of those moves, he spent time at the Bethesda Mission’s men’s shelter in Harrisburg.
“Everything I learned there helped me recover on my own — I found God,” he said.
Bobb is now living in Lebanon with his son, who graduated from high school in 2015. “The day he suddenly began talking was really powerful,” he said.
He had started writing the film in New York and from time to time would take it out and work on it. After finishing the script, he decided to make the film. He put out a call on Facebook and found the cast and crew, and through some connections was able to find investors to shoot the $100,000 film.
It was shot in 2017 and some of the locations may be familiar to area residents — Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown, Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill, and Bethesda Mission. Bobb said the film was finished earlier this year.
A sneak preview was held in April at the Allen Theater, Annville.
Tickets to the Sept. 20 opening at The New Main and the Sept. 22 showing and Q&A session are available at thenewmain.com or beforeyoureyesfilm.com.