When director Jeremy Osbern called musician Steve Unruh to write the music for his musical movie “Air,” he got just the reaction he wanted.
When director Jeremy Osbern called musician Steve Unruh to write the music for his musical movie “Air,” he got just the reaction he wanted.“But I hate musicals!” Unruh said. Osbern said that’s exactly why he wanted his college friend from The University of Kansas on the project. The result is a musical that tells a story with seamlessly integrated music. This isn’t like “Chicago” or “The Producers.” It’s not build the story for five minutes, then break into dance and song for no apparent reason. It’s not “lets make sure to give this star a reason to sing and dance.” Not every actor sings in “Air,” and few of them do dance numbers.This is pay attention to the lyrics, because they are an important part of conveying characters emotions and telling the story. It is, by far, one of the most well done movie musicals in a very, very long time. Screened in Newton Saturday night, it went fairly unnoticed — those who lined up for bigger films at the mall missed a great opportunity. But have no fear, there is another opportunity coming. The film will be screened May 31 at Wichita’s Orpheum Theater. The film was shot entirely in Kansas with Kansas actors. Osbern was available for questions and discussion after the show. He learned a lesson in independent film making with this production —hold out for a “name actor” to get more than a regional interest. Still, this film has merit —and a lot of it. It tells three modern love stories, and it tells those stories very well. Well enough it has earned the Best Feature award at the Port of Kansas City Film Festival and has found an audience in places like Australia and Brazil. Places where Unruh’s self produced music has had a market for the past few years. The film is well shot, well edited and visually easy to watch. No big special effects here. To toss those in would distract from the exploration of modern love affairs. And while it’s a love story, its breaks the mold here as well. We’re treated to a college-age couple whose relationship is rocky, an interracial couple who meets in middle age and a couple made up of two very socially inept people who see something in each other. In “Air” love isn’t wrapped up in a cute little package with a bow. It can be, and does get, messy and frustrating. Couple that with a soundtrack the includes rock, blues, doo-wop, country and classical fare and it’s not only a treat for the eyes and mind, it’s a treat for the ears as well. Through A Glass productions, which is the company who produced the film, is seeking a DVD and soundtrack distribution company for the states. But until that becomes a reality, do yourself a favor and go to the showing May 31. Barring the need to work that night, I’ll do something I rarely do — see a movie for the second time in the theater. I give this one a hearty thumbs up. Every Kansan needs to see this movie — if only to reinforce the idea there are talented people right here where we live. For a preview visit: http://throughaglass.com/air/Chad Frey is a reporter at The Newton Kansan.