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DIRECTOR ERIC STACEY IS BACK 12/11/2013

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Laurie Gabriel has been posting interviews with the wonderful cast of “Unthinkable” for the past couple of months while I’ve been totally consumed with production.  Now that things have calmed down a bit and we’re well into post, I thought I would come back to give you a few thoughts on our film from my perspective as its Writer/Producer/Director.

Unthinkable is based on actual events – primarily the “murder-suicide” of 9/11 author Philip Marshall (“Lakefront Airport” “The Big Bamboozle” and “False Flag 9/11“).  Marshall was found dead early last February in his Murphys California home along with his two teen-age kids and the family dog.  Because Marshall published controversial books about the terrorist attacks of 9/11, one would have thought the press might pick up the stories – but no – there were only a couple of stories in the local papers, dominated by an explanation of the events by Murphys Sergeant Chris Hewitt.

Things became even more bizarre as investigative journalist Wayne Madsen went to Murphys to look into what wasn’t being disclosed by local law enforcement.  What he found is the basis for our film, Unthinkable.

What we’re doing isn’t an attempt at solving the many questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  There are plenty of researchers and investigators who have been at work for the past ten years trying to put the pieces together on who was actually responsible for the attacks.  Philip Marshall was one of them, and he had some pretty damn interesting things to share from his perspective as a United Airlines pilot with over 15,000 hours at the controls of big Boeing passenger jets.

No.  Unthinkable documents the many and varied ways that Sergeant Hewitt and a number of shadowy figures driving dark SUVs with antennas bristling from their roofs tried to keep folks from looking into the “murder-suicide” any deeper than the information provided in the paper by Sgt. Hewitt.

The real story is the combination of information published by Philip Marshall and the desperate lengths the Calaveras County officials went to keep the public from looking into the actual facts.  That’s the mission of our film, Unthinkable – the film that asks the queston, “What was it law enforcement didn’t want you to know about the facts behind the ‘assassination’ of author Philip Marshall and his kids?”

Stand by for more about Unthinkable and our progress bringing this fascinating story to the public.

Eric Stacey

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Phiamma Elias-Rachel in “Unthinkable” 12/06/2013

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Phiamma Elias, plays “Rachel” in Eric Stacey’s upcoming feature, “Unthinkable”  She’s recently re-entered the film industry as an actress and Phiamma owns her own production company. Her first feature, “Home Skillet” is how she heard about the part.  Catherine Johnson a.k.a. Helen (Unthinkable) suggested she audition for the role and the rest is history.  Catherine plays a lead supporting role in her feature.

Phiamma describes her character as a stressed out and tired mom.  Rachel is working hard to “get by”.  Her husband is absent most of the time and she’s basically been raising her son, Mike, by herself.  The only thing, her character seems to want is for her son to be successful;  to get good grades and be a good kid.  Rachel does her best to get through each day in one piece, but she finds life to be lonely and isolating.  Phiamma says if she could ask her character one question it would be, “What does she want for herself?”

Phiamma states that PDX is a great film community that’s finding it’s way into the big leagues.  The timing of her decision to be involved in it feels really right!  So, get ready to witness remarkable talent!  How does Rachel fit into this government conspiracy?  What is her fate?  You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!!

Chris Crawford-Team Dad in “Unthinkable” 11/22/2013

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Chris Crawford plays a a soccer dad.  He’s a guy who hasn’t ruled out the possibility of government conspiracies.  During a soccer match he and Marshall Phillips (Randall Paul) discuss rumors of a possible killing that is connected to the CIA.  His character is a bit alarmed by the whole idea,  not only because of what it means to his safety but what it means to the country.   “Team Dad” only wants to gain peace of mind from the uncertainty that the world may be in danger.  Chris feels his character believes in doing the right thing for youth, family, friends and country.  He wants to keep the land of the free and home of the brave a reality.

Chris has been involved in the film industry for the past 3 too 4 years since moving to Portland, Oregon.  It’s a love he didn’t know he had and it keeps growing!!  He states he has been fortunate enough to have been in several local movies with some quality directors and actors.   Mr. Crawford has had roles in Grimm, Leverage and Portlandia!!!  Students at the Portland Art Institute have been lucky enough to have Chris in several short films.

Chris confirms that being in the Portland film industry is awesome!!  An all around wonderful experience.  Without a doubt it is one of his favorite things to do.

The “Unthinkable” cast and crew are a great bunch of people.  He states Eric and his crew are so mellow and easy to work with.  Cast and crew are supportive of each other.  He can’t wait to work with them again.  With that being said, there is an interesting moment he’d like to share.  While on route too a location he ended up getting lost and wound up on the opposite side of town!  Yikes.  Well, he found his way too the set and proceeded to embark on the film adventure.   He states he was glad to meet up with his buddy, Dennis FitzPatrick (Madison), meet Randall Paul (Marshall) and had the pleasure of working with new actors/actresses.  A great film and a great experience!

Shannon Churchwell- Chris in the movie, “Unthinkable” 11/21/2013

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Shannon is a newcomer to the film industry.  He studied theatre in high school  for a year and is a triple threat.  Dancing, singing and acting!  He does it all.

Shannon describes his character in “Unthinkable” as a normal guy who likes soccer.  He’s a bit snotty with his sister, Meghan, but nothing too serious.  What makes him stand out is his interest in his dad’s work, which some may say is boring, but not too Chris!

Shannon has gotten great acting advice from Randall Paul, who plays his dad (Marshall Phillips).  Always ready for the opportunity to improve his acting skills, Shannon is grateful for his mentors.

There’s a lot of laughing on set which has made his time on set fun and memorable.  Shannon states, he would love to work with everyone again and how great they are!!!  Talented and easy to work with, what more can you ask for?!!

Shade Streeter-“Unthinkable” 11/20/2013

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Shade Streeter is an up and coming actor who’s already making waves.  In addition to being in “Unthinkable”, a feature written and directed by Eric Stacey, Shade’s been in “The Dark Place”: 2014;  a feature:  “Goodbye, First Love”: 2013 ; short video and in the TV Series: “Patrick Carman’s 3:15 Stories”:  2011.  Now 16, Shade’s been acting in the theatre since he was 8!  His latest feature, “The Dark Place” has just been picked up for world wide distribution.   He’s well on his way to being a favorite in the film industry.  Not only because he’s making huge strides in his films, but he’s also not afraid to go the extra mile on set.  From making a dirt trail look wet and muddy via his mountain bike too learning how to use a gun, he is making the most of his experiences.

One of his favorite experiences was during some down time on set, he and another actor climbed some trees.   This goes to show you that you can have fun, be serious in your craft and be an asset too your colleagues.

Shade describes, Mike as a guy with few worries.  Great home life, supportive parents and friends.  He’s a guy who likes gaming and soccer.  His whole personality changes one fateful night. He withdraws from the people he’s relied upon the most.  What if anything or anyone is going to get him through it?  He’s no longer an innocent guy living his life.

Jerry Bell, Jr. – “Unthinkable” 11/16/2013

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Jerry Bell, Jr. is an accomplished Portland, Oregon actor.  He’s worked on features (The Kill Hole:  2012,  South of Heaven:  2014, Highander:  Dark Beginning:  2013;  shorts (Ambrosia: 2011, The Day They Ran Out of Bullets: 2012, Jive Genie: 2012; and tv’s (Grimm:  2012-2013, Leverage:  2012).  He’s a Georgia native and moved to Portland to follow his acting passion.  He served in the United States Army which perfectly helped him with the character, Dallas, in “Unthinkable.  Dallas is proud of his country.  As a CIA Federal Agent he  has a passionate belief in protecting America.  Anyone who violates the code of honor and betrays the United States better watch out!!  He often leads his partner into precarious situations.  At family dinners there was a flag always within his vision.  He grew up being the best type of soldier, learning how to use weapons for war and how to get himself through the darkness of seeing his comrades die in battle.   He managed to get through it and move on!

Mr. Bell, states how great the director, Eric Stacey, is.  He allowed him to grow and develop as a character.  He set the stage for him to figure out the best way to portray Dallas.  With a small crew, Eric kept the production rolling.  Efficient and getting the work done on time is rare, but Eric did it.  And amazing food was prepared by Eric’s wife!!  Never underestimate how keeping cast and crew well fed leads to a happy team!  So, check out Jerry Bell, Jr’s IMDB page for more information!

Catherine Johnson 11/01/2013

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There are a lot of stars in “Unthinkable”.  One of the most positive, talented and gracious is Catherine Johnson.  Hand picked by Eric Stacey, she knows what the stakes are.  The two worked together on “Purple Mind”  A film centered around a man suffering from PTSD.  With emotionally intense dialogue and a controversial subject matter, Catherine is in for a serious ride.

Catherine states, her character, “Helen” in “Unthinkable” has been married to the same man for ten years and she loves him dearly.  Their lives take on a whole new meaning when something sinister happens to the neighbors.  Helen has a close bond with them.  What is she to do?  Does she unravel the mystery?  Her compassionate and protective nature … does she help or mind her own business?

Unthinkable Intrigue 10/10/2013

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Hello, Everyone!!  A “normal” respected pilot, husband and father has something on his mind.  An important puzzle he wishes the world too unscramble.  Who would you trust if you were him? Strangers you want on your side or your gut?   . . You can run, do nothing or stand up.  Your choice.   Stay tuned.

UNTHINKABLE 10/04/2013

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What’s Unthinkable – the Government shutdown? Yes, but we have something else in mind. Unthinkable is the title of the new independent film coming from Movies On A Mission. We’ve been in pre-production for the past three weeks and have assembled a kick-ass cast of Portland actors, including Randall Paul (“Eyes Wide Shut”), Dennis Fitzpatrick, Michael Biesanz, Drew Barrios, Deone Jennings and a ton more.
The script is based on actual events – a “murder suicide” according to local police, but possibly a professional assassination according to a well respected investigative journalist.
Want to know more? I’m producing and directing the film, but will jump in when time permits. In the meantime, stand by for updates from filmmaker and Unthinkable participant Laurie Gabriel straight from the trenches.

Peace…

Eric

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PURPLE MIND – Interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine 10/29/2012

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Just sent this interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine off to Jessica Gilbert.  She says it will be published in late November, but thought I’d post it here for anyone looking to get a head start on the rest of the world beating a track to our door…  LOL

Jessica: Eric, it’s wonderful to have you in TSM, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do an interview for the magazine.

 

Eric:  Thanks for your interest in learning more about what we’re up to.

 

Jessica: What inspired you to get into filmmaking?

Eric:  My dad worked in the movies and he was always off somewhere on location or at the studio, so movies and filmmaking and my dad were always part of the same cloth.  When I was a kid, he put a Kodak roll film camera in my hand and I started taking pictures.  This was when I was around seven years old, so I was hooked from a really early age back when the only place people made movies was where we lived – Hollywood.  Also, I guess I fell for the romance of the movies.  What I saw from my perspective was a guy – my dad – who was always going off to interesting places, and hanging out with interesting people and who everybody else seemed to admire.  It was hard not to want to have that kind of life, except that there was a period where I wanted to be a race car driver.

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about your filmmaking background.

 

Eric:  One Saturday afternoon when I was five or six, my dad took me to see the original “King Kong,” with Fay Wray.  As the film was unfolding, Dad started telling me how a team of special effects people made King Kong move and that the “monkey” was really only six inches tall.  He ruined the picture for me by destroying the illusion of King Kong’s menace, but gave birth to the filmmaker in me.  As a kid, I got acting jobs in films at Warner Brothers like “East of Eden” with James DeanI’m often tempted not to tell people about my experience growing up in Hollywood, because they think I had some special privilege, but that’s anything but the case.  I’m still “getting started” making films today when most of my friends are retired and taking cruises or playing golf.  Today anyone with a Canon DSLR can make movies tell great stories, but back then you needed sound stages and cameras that weighed over a hundred pounds and twenty trucks of equipment to make a movie.  My dad really gave me my start in the business.  He got me jobs as an bit player, as a caterer’s assistant, and eventually as a production assistant on films in Europe before he died over forty years ago.

 

Jessica: Can you recall the first film you ever made?

 

Eric:  The first film I ever made was a documentary on drag racing.  That was before anyone knew what drag racing was.  Two of my friends and I went up to Bakersfield Top Fuel Drags for a weekend and came back with a few hours of 16mm film.  I sold a clip of a dragster crashing in flames, but the rest was a bust.  We lost all our money.  It was an important lesson.  My second film was much better.  It was called “The Ceremony.”  A friend wrote it and I shot and directed – a story about a ten year old kid who falls victim to the peer pressure of a neighborhood gang which forces him to kill a neighbor’s dog as part of the initiation into their club.  I’d been working on the original “Planet of the Apes” as one of the “humans” at the time.  That’s where the budget came from.  “The Ceremony” started getting me jobs.  First as a Line Producer at the American Film Institute and then at the UCLA Media Center where I made films for The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities among others.

 

Jessica: Tell us about your film Purple Mind. What made you want to create this type of film? How did you come up with the name?

 

Eric:  Well, ever since the sixties I’ve been interested in social issues.  By the time VietNam became such a controversy, I’d been in and out of the Navy, but I saw a lot of young guys go off to that war who never came back or came back shattered and broken.  During the late sixties and early seventies, I’d been concentrating on establishing myself somewhere in the film industry – not protesting or standing up for my beliefs in some way – so I‘ve always looked back at those days with a sense of regret that I hadn’t been more active in speaking out against that illegal and ill-fated war that took 50,000 American lives.  So, just after moving from LA to Portland, Oregon in 2005, I’d started making some small documentaries and as the war in Iraq was turning into another VietNam, I began rewriting a story about domestic violence which I’d written years earlier, changing the main character from a redneck wife-beater to a combat soldier returning from Iraq only to deal with a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which threatened to destroy both the soldier and his family.  At the time, the script was titled “Sandbox,” and as I started showing it to a few actors, I got really good responses.  Then, when Emily Bridges read it and said she wanted to do it, that was the moment that turned Sandbox from a writing project into an independent feature project.  A really low budget indie feature project that attracted actors from New York and LA as well as Portland.  I was really committed to doing the film, but in spite of there being no money for the actors or crew, the project managed to attract a small but really great group of enthusiastic filmmakers who believed in the project enough to spend a few months essentially working for free.  We shot the majority of the film on The Imperial Cattle Ranch in Maupin, Oregon, a 30,000 acre cattle and sheep ranch with 40 mile horizons and endless quiet, where if a guy were to go crazy on his family, there would be no one within twenty miles to hear the screams.  So, in a way, the first hour of the film is a bit like Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” but then it takes a turn – but I don’t want to spoil it for any of your readers, so that’s all I‘ll say.  As far as the title, “Purple Mind,” that came about one night in Maupin as we were all sitting around the bunk house – yes, really, the Ranch’s bunk house – and we – the cast and crew – were tossing around titles for the film.  I think it was Ian Rickett – a USC film student at the time – suggested that PTSD was kind of like a soldier earning a Purple Heart for being wounded in war, only in our character’s case it was a Purple Mind, for coming home with mental wounds instead of physical wounds of war.

 

Jessica: What other films are in the works?

 

Eric:  I have a pet project called “Affidavit,” which I’ve been developing off-and-on for over twelve years.  It’s a behind the scenes story about a Special Forces soldier who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during Iran-Contra.  I don’t want to say any more than that, but if we get it made it should create quite a stir.

 

Jessica: Who are some filmmakers you admire and look up to?

 

Eric:  Well, I’m old-school, so I would have to say that list would include names like Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, and Terrance Malick, because they‘re all pioneering filmmakers who have in some way stood up to the pressures of Hollywood to tell courageous stories which have endured.  I would also add John Cassavetes and Dennis Hopper to that list for being among the first real “independents” who led the way for the waves of independent filmmakers of the last forty years.  On the other hand, how could any list like this not include Orson Welles, the genius who made one of the great films of all time, “Citizen Kane,” a film too clearly critical of a man powerful enough to black-list him from making films for the rest of his life.

 

Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

 

Eric: Well, it seems to me that when human beings stick to their own kind they are a peaceful and harmonious and loving bunch.  But as soon as you broaden that to include folks who are somehow different, whether it be their color, their language, their religion, their sexual orientation or their wealth, suddenly far too many tend to see those folks as the “other.”  I know this sounds a bit like playing God, but if I had the power to do something in the world today, it would be to help people see that there really is no “other” – there are only people who all share universal hopes and dreams of belonging.  I’ve tried to do that in some way with every film I’ve made, and I’ll keep trying till my last breath.

 

Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

 

Eric:  It’s got to be Howard Beale’s speech from Paddy Chayefsky‘s brilliant screenplay for Sidney Lumet’s Oscar winning film, “Network”  –  Beale:  “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We know things are bad – worse than bad, They’re crazy! It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone!’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” … Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Or this one, also from “Network” – Beale: “Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business.”


Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

 

Eric:  My dad was from the school that taught, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.”  But as I’ve lived my life, I’ve found that people who pretend usually wind up unhappy or in trouble.  So, for me, it’s “What you see is what you get.”  Most of my films of the past fifteen years are available on Amazon, and they’re all up on our website at www.landfallprods.com.  There’s more about “Purple Mind” at www.purplemindmovie.com including my blog.  And, of course, there is a Purple Mind fan page on Facebook.  I hope to meet some of your readers and fans there.

 

Jessica: Thanks so much again for doing an interview for TSM and wish you the best of luck with all your film projects in the future.

 

Eric:  Thanks Jessica.  It’s been my pleasure.

 

End of interview