STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Many men would buy a sports car when their mid-life crisis hit. Not John Charles Hunt. At age 45, after achieving the American dream of obtaining a house, a car, and a family, he said he decided to follow his heart. He started acting in local independent films, then wrote and directed his own. Audiences can see his film “Jersey Justice” on the big screen at the Ambler Theater on June 20.
“I said to myself, ‘it’s time,’ and did it with my wife, Kathi, supporting my dream,” he said.
In “Jersey Justice,” a Doylestown wife and mother witnesses her husband’s murder and decides to seek revenge in a 24-hour time period. During Polly O’Bannon’s quest for justice, she finds others who share her taste for revenge in the Pinelands of New Jersey. Emmy-winner Blanche Baker stars as the soccer-mom avenger.
When not writing or working on other aspects of his film career, Hunt, of Doylestown, can be found on a FedEx truck. He works in Fort Washington as a driver. He works hard at his day job, but even harder on his dream, spending mornings before work writing or working on films and other projects through his company, Sayre Woods Media.
“I always wanted to make a movie since childhood,” he said. “I was obsessed with movies and spent most of my pleasure time in a movie theater for entertainment.”
Now, he spends most of his pleasure time making or writing movies. He thinks most people crave that kind of entertainment.
“It’s a worldwide culture of storytelling, and films are a collaboration of a number of talented people working to tell a story in an art form,” he said. “It’s a cross between entertainment, education, and stimulation of the senses.”
Those who enjoyed the 1970s revenge thrillers will really like “Jersey Justice,” which pays homage to the genre, he said.
“I compare revenge flicks to a hot bowl of chili — full of heat, full of meat, satisfying to the last spoonful,” he said.
Hunt, who was born in New York City, wanted to show the film at the Ambler Theater because he likes the cinema’s atmosphere, but also because “we filmed in Souderton, Lansdale, along Route 309, and in Bucks,” he said. “It’s a local thing.”
Hunt hopes people come out to see the flick, but if they can’t, it’s available through Amazon.com and Vimeo On Demand. In addition to showcasing the film to locals who will appreciate the settings, the Ambler screening also will honor Christopher Tully. The Middle Bucks Institute of Technology teacher worked as editor on the film. He died unexpectedly early this year. “He was a talented man,” Hunt said. “We are dedicating the screening to his memory.”
After the screening, it’s back to work — at both jobs. Hunt is developing two new projects. One is a terror thriller called “Beg for Death,” the story of a troubled informant who’s under house arrest and in fear for his life. He meets with an unseen force of nature within his home. It’s a tribute to thrillers like “Duel” and “Night Stalker,” Hunt said. The other is a biographical film called “American Maniac.” It’s the story of character actor Joe Spinell, who played loan shark Tony Gazzo in “Rocky,” and his rise to cult stardom.
Maybe a story about how a guy from Doylestown became a famous filmmaker while working at FedEx can’t be far behind?
IF YOU GO
What: “Jersey Justice”
When: Doors open 9 a.m.; showing 9:45 a.m. June 20
Where: Ambler Theater, 108 E. Butler Ave., Ambler.
Info.: Call (215) 345-7855 or visit www.amblertheater.org/films/jersey-justice
For more information on Hunt, visit www.sayrewoodsmedia.com/