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A Welcome "Robbery"

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From the moment I was pitched the story of J.L. Rountree at the IFP market by our directors Lucas and Adam, I was incredibly excited about this project and knew that I wanted to get involved. Essentially, the film follows the story of a man who from the ages of 86 to 92 became a serial bank robber. When you hear a logline like that, you immediately start asking questions like: "Why and how on earth could an old guy go and do that?" Or "how much did he get? Did he get caught?" Finding out the answer to these questions was what truly inspired me to produce this movie.

I've always felt the projects I gravitate towards are those that are character driven or rather, derived from the drama of the human condition. As a child of the 60's and 70's, I grew up idolizing the work of Frankenheimer and Coppola; directors who I feel best exemplified this style. Despite the fact that we were making a documentary, it is from this approach that we tell the story of Red Roundtree in This Is Not A Robbery.

I was a tad nervous getting involved with a documentary, as the films I have produced in the past are narrative features. That being said, I couldn't get over how much I fell in love with the story of this man and subsequently, I jumped in head first and the process, while challenging at times, was incredibly rewarding. Needless to say, it was most certainly a valuable learning experience.

As I've come to discover as far as working with documentaries is concerned, the end result is vastly different from the original concept. So much of this film's elements grew organically out of the editorial process. For example, it was originally our intention to show the security footage from the robberies, however, a monumental problem arose in that the banks refused to release the security footage to us. Making a documentary about a 90-year-old bank robber without showing the robberies would have been pointless, so we needed to come up with a different solution. Furthermore, Red died in 2004, and while we did have his audio tapes from the interview with a GQ magazine journalist, Jim Lewis, it became increasingly challenging to create a protagonist out of soley archival material. It was then that we came up with the idea of animating the robberies. That worked so well, and created such a nice counter-balance in tone, that we decided to animate other sequences such as the strip clubs and drugs sequences. Not only did this solve our problem of "not enough Red," the animation became representative of the almost comic-book-like way in which Red spent his twilight years. I think those sequences are much stronger animated in that we dramatize a re-enactment in a stylish way, without it looking like a campy recreation, like one might see on a show Court TV.

Regardless, the experience of working on this film and finding out about this man's life and journey was definitely life altering. I'm incredibly excited about showing this film at the festival and most importantly, I can't wait to unveil it for an audience and hear peoples reactions. I feel that Red's story is truly inspirational and one that needs to be seen. There's something inherently interesting in the story of a 90 year old man who to quote Dylan Thomas, "would not go gentle into that good night," and instead decides to do something sensational.

Check out the Tribeca Film Festival website for more information.

Upcoming Screenings:

Sat, Apr 26, 4:00PM
AMC Village VII Theater

Sun, Apr 27, 10:00AM
AMC Village VII Theater

Mon, Apr 28, 4:30PM
AMC Village VII Theater

Wed, Apr 30, 8:00PM
Village East Cinema

Fri, May 02, 5:30PM
Village East Cinema

Sun, May 04, 1:30PM
Village East Cinema