Hello Kelly & Heidi,
In your Spring 2014 issue, you ask, “Can Moviemakers Save The World?” Great question, perhaps one inspired by the current growth of interest in documentaries. But what if your documentary is about people who don’t want you anywhere near certain stories. What is a filmmaker to do when the subjects of such a story refuse to participate? Do we just shrug and move on? Or are there other approaches to strict documentary which could find acceptance with the indie crowd?
We think there are, because when we took on a film about the murder-suicide of 9/11 truth author Philip Marshall, we approached the film as a hybrid – part documentary, part narrative fiction. The film embodies many elements that go beyond The Official Story on 9/11; Marshall wrote three books about his investigations into those who financed and trained the 9/11 terrorist who flew passenger jets into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Would there be an audience for a film about his “murder-suicide” (or his assassination)? There is certainly a strong audience for political dramas like “Scandal” with its fictional stories of unimaginable corruption, monsters wielding terrifying power and secret branches of Government like B613.
We thought that by opening our political hybrid film at Quad Cinema we might perk the interest of a mainstream reviewer or two, but all we accomplished was to invite ourselves to a mainstream media lynching party – not for having dared to experiment with a documentary/narrative hybrid, but for our “amateurish” filmmaking skills and untalented cast. Those criticisms didn’t resonate with film pros who have seen the film. Nope. We’d crossed the line. After all, it is officially taboo for the mainstream to write stories about 9/11 truth. Just ask David Corn, who once equated “conspiracy theorists” with “X-Files” loonies. But answer this: Are the 2,000 Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth who have conclusive scientific evidence that the Twin Towers and Building 7 all came down due to controlled demolition – are they X-Files loonies? Or do we just ignore them because to accept them into the conversation would threaten our comfortable world view?
Perhaps an even more important question: Is the film journalism, documentary or narrative? Folks don’t seem to know how to relate to it. Have we broken a taboo; mixing narrative with documentary? Is that even legal? Or perhaps the film is nothing more than no-budget experiment…
Now we’re thinking – perhaps there are film writers who are unafraid to consider a film produced “outside the box,” despite its low budget or because its director also wrote, produced, photographed and edited “the conspiracy theory film” himself. Sure, these are the dangers of no-budget filmmaking, but at the end of the day the story remains one which clearly threatens the mainstream. But isn’t that reason enough for the film to be given an opportunity to find its audience… an audience which deserves the freedom to explore for themselves how their news is censored, how they are too often misled.
Our film was produced on a budget as small as “Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal.” It was produced with passionate SAG actors and a very small but dedicated crew. Has Unthinkable been a worthwhile exercise? Naturally, we think it has. It’s a true story based on a well known journalist’s investigation into what law enforcement was quick to wrap up as a “murder-suicide” when a ton of disturbing contradictions point more accurately to a professional assassination. As our lead character asks: “Why would a small town sheriff turn a murder into a suicide?
Doesn’t that seem like an interesting story? One which might help Save The World? It would be great if you folks thought so. We’d love to talk to you about it.