An Albany Film Festival featured event scheduled for Saturday, May 1.

Don Rittner’s feature film ‘Karen or Bust’

An Albany Film Festival featured event Don Rittner’s feature film “Karen or Bust”

In director Don Rittner’s autobiographical film “Karen or Bust”, Ringo and Freddie, two teenagers from upstate New York hitchhike to Florida in 1966, the summer before the “Summer of Love,” to see Ringo’s girlfriend. They don’t make it, but they battle with segregation, discrimination, injustice, almost get killed by rednecks, and learn about an underground community in Baltimore where Ringo falls for someone else.

Don filmed most of the scenes in the Capital Region and featured many actors and extras from the area.

Mark your calendar

World premiere of “Karen or Bust”

7 p.m. Saturday, May 1

Here’s the link to the YouTube page to view the film on Saturday:

Don is well known in the Capital District. He has published more than 50 books, he wrote a history column for the Troy Record called “Heritage on the Hudson,” a history & culture blog on the Albany Times Union website, served as Schenectady film commissioner, and has been cast as an extra is numerous films, and produced Mary Paley’s two documentaries about Albany’s South End.

You’ve had a multifaceted career. How would you describe yourself in... two sentences?

I’m a nobody who has done a thousand interesting things from writing books, making movies, digging up the past, saving nature and historic buildings, and building a replica of the first fur trading ship building in America.

I never lost my curiosity for wanting to know what makes the world spin and I spend every day trying to find the answer.

You’ve been cast as an extra in movies such as “Ironweed”, “Age of Innocence”, “H the Movie”, and “Place Beyond the Pines”, where you get beaten up by Ryan Gosling in a bank robbery scene. What’s that experience been like?

Fun. I fell into the industry in a strange way. I got a call in the 70s out of the blue from a woman who introduced herself and then asked me if I wanted to be in the movies? I obviously laughed and thought it was a female friend fooling around.

She then corrected herself and said that Héctor Babenco, the director of “Ironweed”, saw me in the newspaper and told her to find me. He wanted me to be one of the raiders beating up on Jack Nicholson. She then cast me in “Age of Innocence” later on and I got hooked.

Watch the “Karen or Bust” trailer and learn more about Don Rittner:

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