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Filmmaker vising Medina Library to promote locally shot Roman epic

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Texas filmmaker C.J. Goodwyn will speak at the Medina Library next Monday ahead of the premiere of his latest film, "Eyes of a Roman," a film shot in Comfort that tells the story of a solider in the Roman army who stands up for what he believes is right and saves a slave the day before the battle between the armies of Spartacus and Marcus Crassus. 

Goodwyn is credited as director, writer, producer, editor, location management, casting director, set decorator and props on the film. He also stars in the film as Atticus, Marcus Crassus' adopted son.  
The filmmaker will be speaking at the Medina Community Library Monday, August 8, about "Eyes of a Roman." He will also discuss his next project, "Mare of the Night", a Sherlock Holmes project that reunites him with Les Best, who has appeared in many of his films, including in "Eyes of a roman as Marcus Crassus. 

The trailer for Eyes of a Roman can be viewed at  youtu.be/5AgwtC-Vc7o

Eyes of a Roman will premiere at the Cailloux Theater in Kerrville on November 5 at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are on sale online now for the event, and many of the film's cast and crew will be on hand. 

Goodwyn was kind enough to speak to the Bulletin about his work as a filmmaker. An exclusive Q&A follows. 

 

Q: What inspired you to tell this story? 
 
A: Well, it was a collection of inspirations really but it started with my love of Roman history especially around the time of Julius Caesar, Pompey Magnus and Marcus Crassus. And what I've seen or read coming up the last 30 years focused a lot on Jullius and Pompey story and very little on Marcus Crassus in my opinion. So, I knew I wanted to touch on the character of Marcus Crassus from the beginning and his most well-known accomplishment in the defeating of Spartacus. But I didn't want to tell the story of Spartacus and Crassus because that's been done a lot as well so it was finding a subject matter that I cared about which in this film is the tuff choices in life and doing what you believe is right and what those consequences intel. In life we are all given choices and it can be easy like choosing what to eat that day, to being tuff choices like politics. This film touches on all of it and shows really five different characters and their journey there on and why they make these choices, whether it's because it's the right thing to do, the safe thing to do or the selfish thing to do. It's all in there and I feel some people will settle and take punishment for a long time whether it's in relationships or jobs or whatever the list can go on and on but sometimes people get trapped and they decide every day when they wake up to not fight back or to do what is right for many many reasons- so that's what the story is at the heart of this film. 
 
Q: How did you go about gathering cast/crew?
 
A: So, getting cast/crew can be a lot simpler if you have a great budget haha. If you don't have a big budget or your unable to pay your cast/crew, then you better have a story that is very intriguing and people that believe in your film/vision. A Roman Period piece being filmed in Texas is something that doesn't come along to often so that was a big spark for a lot of cast/crew talent in our state to want to be a part of the film even if no pay was attached to the project. I think the public can forget sometimes but the reason we make film is for the love of the art. In my opinion this always comes first so again if you have a great story to tell people will want to be a part of it.  Now what am I able to give back to the people that join my projects- right now its feature film experience, IMDB Credit, Film Festival Submissions, showing the film at Venues and last getting the film on media platforms. So, for me I'm really big on giving experience and recognition to the cast/crew on the biggest scale I can possibly give which leads to more and better opportunities for them down the road.  I've had a lot of cast/crew members on Eyes of a Roman where it was their first film to be a part of and now, they been a part 7 or 8 films after mine, in state, out of state, out of country for some.  So that's really a beautiful thing to see everyone take off and grow!  As far as where do I find my cast/crew for me right now I post on Facebook crew/casting pages within Texas. Sometimes I use backstage.com as well. 
 
Q: Tell me about the costumes/ How did you make them and how/what process did you take to make them period accurate? 
 
A: Well this was a big group effort from many people a part of my team that over saw the bringing to life of the outfits they wore during that time and us trying to make it as close to period accurate as we could. I could talk all day about this subject haha because it was a very important and challenging task to try and get the look as close as possible but in short, we researched and researched and researched some more. Reaching out to college professor that new that time period, to talking with reenactors that put-on shows from that time period as well.  So, once we found the look and agreed on this is what we were going for the purchasing of the chainmail, armor, helmets and swords were done for the Romans which was the easiest part of the process. Then came making the barbarian outfits, Spartacus, all the sandals the romans and barbarians wore, the roman tunics, there leg and arm armor for both roman/barbarian and I know there was more but that came down to Tammy Anderson bringing those outfits to life. She had the look that I wanted for the film and after we got her the material she went to work, which was a lot of work!  But again, team effort Susan Bohl my production designer was a big help in bringing the leather pieces that wardrobe needed partnering with Tandy Leathers up in the Dallas area. Where they were nice enough to help us out and we got a lot of leather pieces from them. Ian Reed made all my blue roman shields which were a beautiful piece to the film, him and I discussed a lot what the design should be and colors then he brought those to life and did an amazing job, the Roman shields was probably my favorite prop pieces in the film. Well, what about the Barbarian shields haha well I say 95 percent of those shields were made by Niel Reilly out of Austin which was a massive help cause all those shields are made out of wood. Then my good friend and actor in the film Derek Meier made a lot of wooden swords for us that we either painted silver or added some silver wrap material to them to give them more of the real look. So I did a few name drops there but believe me we had many more people in the department of Production Design help bring the wardrobe/props to life in this film- it took a team and for being a no budget film I feel we did an amazing job and everyone should be very proud of what they were able to bring to the film cause I know I'm proud of all of them and their hard work/time they put into this film. Again I could talk all day about this subject haha cause it was very challenging but that's the best short version I can give you but kuddos to the Production Design/Wardrobe team as everyone knows the look of a film is its own character and I felt they knocked it out of the park!
 
Q: What is it about Texas that makes it an exciting place to film? 
 
I feel Texas has a ton of great talent on all sides cast/crew that can compete with the best in the world.  I've seen so many great films, performances, TV shows made in Texas and yet a lot of us feel were not on the radar as much.  But I feel that is changing a lot more film is coming to Texas with the mention of UTSA film department coming and the negotiations of a massive film studios being built in San Marcos right now.  The buzz is continue to build for Texas and well see it where it goes but I feel the word is getting out a lot more than it used to 10-20 years ago.  Another great aspect to Texas is the landscape we basically have it all. Hills, woods, desert, swamp, ocean, rivers, lakes and much more I mean the outside look there are many options which is very nice for a filmmaker not to mention all the history and the small towns have a lot of buildings that were built over a hundred years ago which a lot of places are open for us to film there on a low price or many times for free.  One of the reasons we could make a film like Eyes of a Roman in Texas is because are Hill Country landscape is very similar to Italy which is another great example of why Texas is an exciting place to film. 
 
A: Anything else you would like to share? 
 
Yes, I would like to congratulate and thank the cast/crew of Eyes of a Roman for making a beautiful film that created a ton of new friendships and collaborations for all.  It was an amazing experience and one that I will cherish forever.  I'm so proud of everyone and the work they did on the film and we all look forward to showing the film at the Red-Carpet Premiere in Kerrville at the Cailloux Theater November 5th. We hope to see the hill country come out and support the arts and to see a teaser of my next film Mare of the Night a Sherlock Holmes adaptation being filmed in Comfort Texas that will be shown after the film Eyes of a Roman.