- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Stories swim around in Ronald Koontz’s head all the time.

They have since he was a little boy when his dad finally bought the family’s first black and white television when he was 12 years old. His love of storytelling collided with film right then and there. This fascination with transferring a good story to film only grew when his schools in the west Davidson area would show his classes films about Daniel Boone, early American settlers and even biblical films.

Now 68, Koontz is about to release his 60th film - there may be more, as he has lost count, he admits - when he shows “Billy Two Rivers” at the Edward C. Smith Civic Center on May 25. The film takes Koontz’s usual story line of good verses evil and jams in lots of action and tense moments in between the beginning and end.

“You have to have a conflict or you don’t have a story,” he said.

The film tells the life of Billy Two Rivers, aka John Williams Rivers. He is the son of a white man and Comanche Indian, who honorably serves his country during the Vietnam War — a tip of the hat to Koontz, who did the same — and then becomes a criminal investigator trying to squash evil wherever it rears its head. He is called to clear the name of widower Charles Meadows, who is accused of killing his wife.

The movie was filmed in Liberty, Siler City, Norwood and Lexington. It has 11 main characters and dozens of minor characters and extras.

Koontz not only wrote the script, he directs, produces and stars in the movie.

“I’m like (Sylvester) Stallone and Fred Williamson,” Koontz said. “They wrote and starred in their own movies. Williamson was a football player, and he always said, ‘I am the star.’”

Making movies has never made a lot of money for Koontz, but that does not stop his enthusiasm for writing, directing and acting. He has worked many paying jobs over the years while pursuing his hobby of filmmaking. Officially retired, he still works part time at Garwood Farms, working with the horses there.

Koontz’s first film was called “The Big Show Down,” and he played it for one month at the former movie theater at Southgate Shopping Center in Thomasville in 1977. All of his movies are action-drama and good guy battles bad guy.

“I always make the bad guy look good, but Ron Koontz always wins,” he said.

While he would love to show all his films on a big screen it’s just not financially possible. Most of Koontz’s films are available for viewing on YouTube. Friend Matt Taylor uploads the films for him and does most of the editing and trailers, too.

While Clint Eastwood is Koontz’s favorite actor, he knows his limitations will not allow him to play a role like “Dirty Harry.”

“I just don’t look like Eastwood,” he said. “I don’t have his features. But I would like to do a role like Charles Bronson in ‘Death Wish.’ I like Bronson, too.”

“Billy Two Rivers” will show once at 8 p.m. May 25 at the civic center on South Main Street. Admission is $7. All proceeds will benefit disabled American veterans.

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Information from: The Dispatch, https://www.the-dispatch.com


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