Hundreds flock to Turners for red-carpet event

  • A red carpet event and screening of “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” at the Shea Theater Saturday was followed by a Q and A with composer Joe Kraemer, left, writer and director Robert D. Krzykowski, middle, and producer Lucky McKee, right, hosted by radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, standing right. Staff Photo/David McLellan

  • Moviegoers file into the Shea Theater for the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Kyle and Lesley Cogswell pose for photos during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Moviegoers file into the Shea Theater for the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Moviegoers file into the Shea Theater for the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • David and Linda Singer pose for photos during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Monte Belmonte, right, and his family pose for photos during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Robert Nunnelly, 11, poses for a photo on the red carpet during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Monte Belmonte, right, and State Rep. Natalie Blais during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Moviegoers file into the Shea Theater for the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.”  Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Moviegoers file into the Shea Theater for the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Kathleen Childs, left, and Ilana Wilson have their photo taken on the red carpet during the local premiere of the feature film “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” on Saturday night in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 1/27/2019 4:15:53 PM

MONTAGUE — It was surreal. Hundreds of people attending a red carpet event in Turners Falls — with tuxedos in 18-degree weather — to see a movie called “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.”

But to Turners Falls native and writer, director and producer Robert D. Krzykowski, it was something else that was dreamlike about the western Massachusetts debut of his film. 

“It’s really consistently surreal that every now and then there will be this flash of, ‘Oh, I’m alive right now and all these people are actually here,” Krzykowski said to the hundreds of people who had just whistled, hooted and applauded at the conclusion of his movie’s screening. 

The Shea Theater screened “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” twice Saturday night, with a Q and A session featuring Krzykowski, composer Joe Kraemer (“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”) and producer Lucky McKee (“May” and “Blood Money”). The event was hosted by radio personality and the Shea’s Board of Directors President Christopher “Monte” Belmonte. 

The independent film shot in western Massachusetts in 2017 tells the story of the heroic Calvin Barr, who, yes, kills Hitler in 1943, and then a plague-bearing Sasquatch in 1987. Sam Elliott stars as the older Barr, while Aidan Turner plays the younger Barr. 

Audience members, many sporting gowns or bow ties, were engaged throughout the movie, laughing and cheering loudly when recognizable locations in Turners Falls, like the Gill-Montague Bridge, were on screen. 

Krzykowski worked on the movie for 12 years prior to its release, starting off by drawing comics and writing a screenplay, and said playing the film in his hometown, where much of the movie was filmed, was an emotional experience. 

“I’ve watched it a thousand times, and this was the most emotional,” Krzykowski said.

“We all own a piece of this movie,” he added, beckoning anyone who took part in the making of the film to stand up. Dozens stood. 

During the Q and A session, Krzykowski, Kraemer and McKee all talked about the film’s messages and the emotional reaction people who’ve watched it have had. 

McKee said it was “fantastic” to see that reaction in the town where much of the movie was filmed. 

“They’re like, ‘That’s my street!’” McKee said. 

Despite the name, the film is a serious one, not a tongue-in-cheek one, although Kraemer said the name may mislead some people.

“Hitler was a monster and he was real, and the hero killed a monster that existed,” Krzykowski said, explaining how he came up with the idea of the film after an audience member asked, “Why Hitler and why Bigfoot?”

“I thought, well, Hitler was spreading a plague of ideas. So, in a mythic sense, I thought, ‘What if this hero kills a mythic monster and he’s spreading a literal plague,’ and then they would rhyme. That is where it came from,” Krzykowski said. 

Krzykowski also explained that Elliott — a veteran Hollywood actor who just received his first Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 2018’s “A Star is Born” — was impressed with the initial script and was pegged to take the lead role from early on in the filmmaking process. 

“Sam called me at my house the day before Thanksgiving in 2016, and he said (the film) reminded him something of his father and of a decency that was fading in the world,” Krzykowski recalled. 

“He said, ‘I’ve never made a movie for money, so I know I’m not going to get paid for this, but I’ll see you in Massachusetts,’” Krzykowski said. 

Montague Selectboard Vice Chairman Michael Nelson said the town will support more movie-making efforts from Krzykowski, and told Krzykowski, Kraemer and McKee what having the film shot in Turners Falls meant to its residents. 

“You’ve brought a lot of excitement and pride to us,” Nelson said. 

“Please share our town, our community, with your colleagues,” Nelson said. “We would love to continue to have Hollywood come to us. The Selectboard supports you, and will continue to now and in the future.”

Krzykowski said he has no concrete plans for his next film, but stressed that movie making is what he wants to do. Admittedly, it depends how many people go to see the movie in theaters, he said. 

Distributor RLJE Films allowed the film to be shown for the benefit of the Shea Theater, and members of the Shea Theater got the first chance to buy tickets, which came with an autographed movie poster.

Belmonte noted that the event was also the debut of the Shea Theater’s new state-of-the-art movie screen and projector, which cost “tens of thousands” of dollars, and was installed last week.

Krzykowski, McKee and Kraemer made no money for the screening and Q and A.  

Still, even though he sat on the stairs watching his film at the sold-out event, Krzykowski said it has all been worth it. 

“The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot” will be released in theaters nationwide on Feb. 8. 

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 




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