BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A Greater Binghamton native has shown his latest movie at a film festival founded by a filmmaker whose success he would like to emulate.

Director, writer and producer Christopher Johnson screened “Journey to Royal” at the inaugural Smodcastle Film Festival in New Jersey last week.

The feature length film was honored in the documentary category.

Smodcastle was started by director Kevin Smith whose own career was launched when his low-budget indie flick “Clerks” was a breakout success at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994.

Johnson says Smith is providing a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers.

“He’s very personable, very interactive. He’s just real. He embraces everybody’s efforts, thanks them for their creative contributions. It was just a delight and a privilege to be there.”

Journey to Royal is the story of Johnson’s great uncle Royal Stratton who died in World War 2 while a member of an elite rescue squadron in the South Pacific.

It blends interviews with real life survivors and comrades of Stratton with dramatic recreations of his final rescue.

The film took 10 years to produce, from the first interview in 2009 to its release in 2020.

Now that the pandemic is subsiding, Johnson says he’s looking to screen it locally in the near future.

It’s currently available on BlueRay and on streaming services.

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