Here's a look at the trailer for The Road To Sundance: on a shoestring budget

Press Release

Red Duck Pictures presents the new mockumentary Web comedy series The Road to Sundance: on a shoestring budget.


Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio –
Red Duck Pictures, based out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has premiered its new Web series, The Road to Sundance: on a shoestring budget, chronicling the ups and downs of low-budget, independent film-making set against the ambitious goal of earning a spot in the Sundance Film Festival. In the spring of 2009, the series was introduced with the online launch of the first five episodes and a number of side videos at and at—the official Road To Sundance Web site. On June 23, 2009, new episodes and side videos were released weekly, beginning with a special “sneak peak” video. The final five episodes, including the big thee-part finale, will be released weekly beginning in December 2009, with the entire series online by the end of the year. A DVD release, including all side videos and never-before-seen special features, is planned for early 2010.

The comedy series centers on aspiring film director George “Lucas” Palmer and his feature-length movie titled Where the Sun Sets in Purgatory, based on a screenplay by writer C.S. Nash. With his sights set on the Sundance Film Festival, Palmer manages to assemble a production team willing to contribute their time and talents working under a modest film budget of $11,000.

The series will take Web audiences through each step of the project as the story unfolds through the individual points of view of cast and crew members, including assistant director Parker, key grip Shane, director of photography Scott, actors Tryst Valentine, Danny Phoenix and Kelly Moss among the dozens of others who join the project along the way.

“The Road to Sundance hits close to home for all of us,” said director and Red Duck Pictures founder Matt Pallotta. “As filmmakers, actors and crew members, we’ve all experienced the high points and low points of the craft, and the series is a comedic reflection of the lengths we’ll go to fulfill our vision.” Pallotta added, “We decided to release our premiere episodes to the Web and introduce our comedic take on the independent film industry to mass audiences online, and also give viewers the opportunity to share with friends and family.”

Pallotta is the series creator and serves as a writer on all the episodes. He is also lending his acting skills to the series as well. Pallotta cast himself in the role of Tryst Valentine, the self-absorbed, self proclaimed acting disciple of Tom Cruise, and who never passes up the chance to bestow reverent homage to his thespian hero.

Cleveland-based actor and former Cleveland radio personality, Bobby Thomas, portrays George "Lucas" Palmer, a blue collar dreamer who finally decides to cash in his retirement fund to produce and direct his own movie, with the ultimate goal of entering—and winning—the Sundance Film Festival. The problem is George thinks he knows more about filmmaking than he actually does.

Fellow Northeast Ohioan Andrew Goldsworth is perfectly cast in the role of “Parker,” the pragmatic Assistant Director George found on Craig’s List and who becomes George’s right hand man and voice of reason. Parker signs on to the project so that he can receive college credits through an internship, graduate early and head to the promised land of Hollywood to start his own film career.

Dusten Welch is “Shane,” a cynical former film student, now coffee shop barista, who desperately wants to quit his dead end job and views this project as his ticket back into film making. Shane soon becomes disillusioned with George and his skills as a film maker, and takes every opportunity to discretely disrupt the project along the way. Richard Rolenz embodies the role of “Scott, the one-eyed camera man” recruited by Shane. Scott is Shane’s former college professor still living in the 1960’s “Summer of Love” and signs on to the project because he feels it would be “far out, man!”

Amy Pelleg takes on the role of “Kelly Moss,” a bitter single mother and former model that wins the role of the female lead in George’s film. Kelly tries to use the film— and anyone else she can—as her meal ticket out of Ohio. Tom Leland plays writer “C.S. Nash,” a serious scribe who wrote the screenplay that George is obliterating with his ambitious direction.

Michael Riffle plays “Danny Phoenix,” the only legitimate actor George was able to recruit for the film. Danny is a working actor in local TV commercials that George hires to secretly replace Tryst as the film’s leading man. Greg Lavelle is “Bert Mackenzie, The Funny Guy,” and George’s comedy relief for the film. Rick Montgomery Jr. is “Bruce, the scrap metal king of Cleveland" and a meddling investor of the film.

Red Duck Pictures, founded in 2004, is producing and filming The Road to Sundance:on a shoestring budget exclusively in Northeast Ohio, with plans to release 20 episodes in season one. For more information, visit and

Cast and Crew

Matt Pallotta (Creator/Director)

Matt Pollatta

Born and raised in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Matt has maintained a passion for storytelling and the cinema from a very young age. His talent for story-telling emerged as he wrote short stories and a children's novel that came close to publishing when he was 8 years old. His writing won him awards through his school years while his interest in film was beginning to spark. Since 2004, when his film title, Red Duck Pictures, was created, Matt has produced a feature-length film titled Imperfections and a short film entitled Lies in the Reflection. This project, The Road to Sundance:on a shoestring budget has been a completely unique experience for him as a writer/director/producer and has given him the chance to 'play' in every genre of the field, from infomercials to horror films, documentary-style to stop-animation. His talents aren't limited to work behind the camera. In The Road To Sundance:on a shoestring budget, Matt takes on the role of Tryst Valentine, the prima donna lead actor of the characters' film. He began acting and modeling at age 16, in hopes to obtain a solid performance background that would provide him with such knowledge as a director.His acting and modeling stints include such performances as "Ralph" in the high school production of FAME, the International Model and Talent Association's Junior Male Talent of the Year award (1998), IMTA's First Place in Real Commercial and Soap Opera competitions, and a photo-shoot for an Applebee's trade show gallery. He has also played supporting roles in his previous films. Matt currently teaches video production at Kent State University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006 with a degree in Electronic Media Production.

Mark Alan Schulz (Music Director)

Mark SchulzMark is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, which helps in his understanding of the nuances of arranging and scoring for the big screen. Mark wrote, arranged, scored and recorded the documentary "Akron Women: Another Look At History" for PBS and recently won a National Telly Award for his work on the PBS special, "The Rise and Fall of the YWCA of Summit County." Mark received his Masters Degree in Music Technologies from the University of Akron and is currently finishing a Masters degree in Music History and Literature. He is the owner of Great Tunes Multimedia Inc. and teaches advanced audio for film/video at Stark State Technical College in N. Canton Ohio; he also conducts the choir for St. Jacob's Lutheran Church. Mark recently returned from a research expedition to Vienna, Austria where he employed the infrared photography of Maurizio Seracini, from "Da Vinci Code" fame to help prove his thesis on the true meaning of a portrait of Beethoven. You can see and hear more at

Bobby Thomas (George "Lucas" Palmer)

Bobby Thomas Bobby Thomas is a commercial actor, voice over artist and character model and has worked in Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York with hundreds of national, regional and local radio and television commercial credits on his resume. A self-taught musician, Bobby has played bass guitar, rhythm guitar, drums and sang lead vocals in rock bands in the 70's. When he wasn't on stage performing with a guitar, he was on stage performing in a costume in local community theater musicals and comedies. As a high school senior, his passion for music and entertainment lead him to try out as a Disc Jockey at a tiny little radio station in small town London, Ohio. Since then, Bobby Thomas has been on the radio in Cleveland, Bridgeport and Stamford, Connecticut and Long Island, New York in what turned out to be a thirty year career in broadcasting. After leaving the airwaves in 2004, Bobby picked up where he left off, performing a variety of character roles in live stage productions on the east coast and, now, back home on the North Coast in stage productions and independent films.

Andrew Goldsworth (Parker)

Andrew Goldsworth Andrew started acting in high school plays, and in college, he minored in theater. Although he graduated with a major in electronic media production, he performed in so many shows and was involved in many acting classes and department activities, the theater professors thought that theater was his academic major. Andrew also acted in a few student films while in college and worked at the campus TV station running studio camera, as well as field production and several other studio positions. Upon returning home to Ohio after what some would call an extended 9 month trip to New York City, he became involved in The Road to Sundance: on a shoestring budget which was the perfect opportunity to utilize both areas of study and create experience in his major field of study.

Michael Riffle (Danny Pheonix)

Michael Riffle Michael has been an avid participant in the Cleveland/Akron theatre scene since moving here in 2007. Most recently, Michael played the role of Torvald in A Doll's House at Weathervane Theatre. He has been seen at 4th Wall Productions - Two Man Kidnapping Rule (Jack), and the Bank Guards (Ben); Medina Showbizz - The Boys Next Door (Jack), and The Nerd (Willum); Bang and Clatter - Defender of the Faith (Man); The University of Akron - Twelfth Night (Feste); and Weathervane Theatre - A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oberon, Theseus). Michael plans to move to England in the fall to begin work on his MFA in Performance at Arts Educational Schools London in Chiswick. Currently he works at The Nut House in Cuyahoga Valley as a professional bartender.

Amy Pelleg (Kelly Moss)

Amy PellegReturning to acting in 2008 after a 20-year hiatus, Amy Pelleg has appeared on a number of community theater stages in the Cleveland area, including Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, Geauga Lyric Theatre Guild, Stage Left Theatre Company, and Western Reserve Playhouse. Amy is a very talented actress, and extremely versatile enough to play the dramatic lead and a wide variety of comical characters—all in the same show. Some of her favorite roles include Sarah Siddons in The Actor’s Nightmare, Marie in Incorruptible, Feste in Twelfth Night, and Mickey in the Odd Couple: Female Version.

Dusten Welch (Shane)

Dustin WelchDusten Welch graduated from Ashland University in the spring of 2007 with a B.A. in theater. There he met his roommate Andrew Goldsworth, the person responsible for dragging him into The Road to Sundance: on a shoestring budget . In all honesty he is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project, and meeting some amazing people through the process. This is his first experience of filming on such a large scale, and he continues to learn something new every time he steps on the set. Dusten has studied for the last five years with the Society of American Fight Directors in the art of stage combat. Through his endeavors he hopes to head off to stunt school in the near future and eventually become a full fledged stuntman. Currently he is an actor/teacher for Great Lakes Theater Festival, and was recently cast as Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra for the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. Unlike his character, Shane, Dusten hopes to bring you a fun filled experience every time you watch The Road to Sundance.

Richard 'Rocco' Rolenz (Scott)

Richard RolenzAkron Ohio native Richard ‘Rocco’ Rolenz has worn a number of hats and faces in life, but his early taste of performing began in grade school, playing accordion, progressing to piano and organ and then vocalist of ballads, modern pop and light rock. He recorded songs with The Tetras and the 18 piece Continentals Stage Band. Having had the experience of being a news announcer at WCRS Radio and later, experienced his first opportunity in film, portraying as a zombie in the cult horror classic The Dead Next Door. This led to work wearing various hats behind, and different faces in front of the camera in eleven other films, including the drama The Year That Trembled and the comedy Circle Track Summer. Other screen work included a commercial for America’s Funniest Home Videos and a sitcom intro for the Drew Carey Show. Previously working with writer/director Matt Pallotta in his film Lies in the Reflection, ‘Rocco’ is pleased to help non-typically colorize an otherwise behind-the-scenes director of photography, into a character of Scott’s ilk.

Rick Montgomery Jr. (Bruce The Investor)

Rick Montgomery Jr.Rick Montgomery JR – Rick is an award winning actor of stage , screen, and commercial work. With over 100 credits to his name, he knows how to 'work’ the darkest drama to the broadest comedy.

"Rick takes direction very well and is always dedicated to finding the truth in the moment, whether in comedy or drama. He is a genuine risk-taker in his work, and he has an outrageous sense of fun. But he also brings a very credible maturity, both emotional and physical, to his exploration of every character he plays. He's truly a joy to work with.
-Victor D’Altorio, acting coach to Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Richard Schiff (West Wing), Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist, Friday the 13th, The OC), Laura Innes (ER), and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rick’s next project is WARRIORS, the Nick Nolte film being shot in Pittsburgh, PA Spring of 2009. Rick can be contacted through his agent, Talent Group of Pittsburgh or writing

Tom Leland (C.S. Nash)

Tom LelandTom Leland is an advertising/marketing writer and journalist by trade. He has been writing TV, radio and print ads for 25 years, in Los Angeles, New York, and Cleveland. Before his stint in The Road to Sundance: on a shoestring budget , Tom's acting experience was being a tree in his 3rd grade production of Jack and the Beanstalk, and then 40 years later when he played "Drake" in the Beachwood Community production of "Annie". He enjoyed playing C.S. Nash, as the character was usually angry, just like Tom.

Gregory J. Lavelle (Bert “The Funny Guy”)

Gregory J. LavelleGreg is a labor arbitrator and an attorney who represents film makers in his  “day job”.    Lavelle starred in the award winning low budget horror film, Deep Darks Woods II, No Witnesses and other low-budget films and has had a variety of leading roles in community theater; Herbie in Gypsy, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Winston Smith in 1984.  Lavelle, as a character actor, has played numerous roles having accents and dialects and has written totally unmarketable plays and screenplays in practically all genres.



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