Brandon Keeton won a scholarship in an acting competition in his senior year of high school, but he didn’t accept it.
Instead, he joined the Marine Corps, a choice Keeton described as the “best decision in life”. [he’s] ever done.” But after serving for 21 years and opening a martial arts academy, Tiger Rock Martial Arts in Camp Hill, Keeton decided to return to his passion for acting.
In June, the Camp Hill resident released his movie, “Turbo Cola,” produced by Keeton and filming in New Cumberland.
The film, directed by Luke Covert de Lemoyne, can be described as “The Breakfast Club” meets “Oceans 11” – a heist film about teenagers who rob a gas station on New Year’s Eve 1999.
Keeton found the script through a playwriting contest. Originally titled “New Year’s Eve at the Stop-N-Go”, the play’s name was changed to “Turbo Cola” and the script was reworked to facilitate filming.
Residents of New Cumberland may recognize the gas station used in the film as the Quality Gas Station at 101 Bridge St. It is still a working gas station, which created a challenge during filming.
The film was shot after hours, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The team had to remove historically inaccurate signs, such as Red Bull advertisements and cigarette prices, before filming each night and putting everything back in place before the station reopened the following morning. Anything they couldn’t fix, viewers called out to them on social media, Keeton said.
“I had to fly an active duty army guy who took time off to be in our film,” Keeton said. “He was a pretty big guy, and his job was to lift heavy things.”
The film had five months of pre-production, with two weeks of shooting in December 2020.
“The actors were always on the ball,” Keeton said.
Keeton made his acting debut in Scott’s Lawn Care commercials. Eventually, the company moved on to bigger names, especially for its big Super Bowl ad.
“It took three A-listers to replace me,” Keeton said.
In March 2020, he was preparing to open a second Tiger Rock Martial Arts location. On the day classes were due to start, the government announced a mandatory lockdown due to the pandemic.
After just two months into his acting career, Keeton took his grandmother’s advice and “jumped” into the industry by contacting the director of his Tiger Rock commercials, Covert, and asking him if he would. he wanted to make a movie. From there, “Turbo Cola” was born.
Since its release, the film has received an 86% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80% rating from audience members. Keeton said the film won first place at several regional film festivals, was nominated for Best Picture at the Austin Film Festival Lift Off and was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Dallas Film Festival. “Turbo Cola” was accepted at the Festival of Cinema in Queens, the New York Independent Film Festival, and the Las Vegas Premiere Film Festival.
“Turbo Cola” is distributed by Giant Pictures. It is available to stream on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudo and XBOX.
Keeton is currently looking for investors for his next film project and said it will also be set in the area.
“It was really cool to feature Central Pennsylvania,” he said.
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