Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gun Shot Valley: The Intro, Version 2.0

This is my second cut of the intro to the film. Still extremely rough, and I hope to do dozens of more versions before it is all said and done. But, I needed to get some timing laid down. At this point, it's on to a rough of the rest of the movie while coming back to this maybe once a week. For the next few...months? Well, I make no promises on a release date, but work is being done...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Miracle Valley Documentary: The Playlist

Musical influences for this film, via Youtube:

-Gene Martin
-I've got it
In the morning

-Sylvester Haynes/David Davis
-music alive

-Eugene McDaniels
Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse album
Some songs:
Lovin' Man
Freedom Death Dance

John Coltrane
Alabama

Cymande
Brothers on the Slide

Joni Mitchell
Hissing of Summer Lawns

Ennio Morricone
Once Upon a Time in the West-harmonica theme

Friday, September 12, 2008

Miracle Valley News Footage

Channel 4 news report. 3.5 minutes.

Miracle Valley News Footage

Channel 13 news report. 2 minutes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Miracle Valley News Footage

National news reports about the Miracle Valley shootout, from the Vanderbilt TV Archive:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tucson Shooting Confirmed

Shooting September 15-21, minus the 19th, at the Cabaret Theater at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave, Tucson AZ 85701.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Miracle Valley Meeting: Tucson

Martha Cooper Branch Library
Monday, August 11
10am-5pm
1377 N. Catalina Avenue
(In the area of Speedway and Swan)

For those of you who cannot make daytime hours, I'm inclined to meet at Bentley's on Speedway just west of Campbell from about 6pm-10pm.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bomb

Sheriff Judd

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Audition Location: Kresge 2-430

New building and room location for Monday, July 14 and Tuesday, July 15th:

Northwestern Campus in Evanston
Kresge Hall
1880 Campus Drive
Room 2-430 (2nd floor, room 430)

Link:
http://aquavite.northwestern.edu/maps/buildinglookup.cgi?lookupid=116

Kresge is smack in the middle of the south part of campus, pretty close to Fisk. Still pretty close to parking. Beware as the building is connected to another building called Crowe Hall. Signs will be posted. See you there!

I Reserved a Broom Closet

Well, not exactly. I had put in a reservation for a space in the Fisk building using Northwestern's online reservation system, only to find that the space was a locked computer lab and not a basic classroom as I had anticipated. A quick look at the online system revealed that there were several more open spaces. No problem, just put up some signs and point everyone to the new room, right? Wrong. As it is, pretty much every open space that was listed is a locked room, secured with keypad entry. I was able to at least get a peek into one of them as some students from the high school summer program came out, only to find that the "open" classroom was also a secured computer lab. Terrific. As it is, every single basic classroom space in Fisk is already reserved 24/7 for the aforementioned high school summer program students. So, I'm pirating a room on the hope that no one actually needs to use it today.

As for tomorrow, it will be another building and another room to be determined, and not Fisk 111. I should have just had people come to my place. At least there I can offer some tortillas and old fruit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Evanston Audition Schedule

The Evanston audition schedule:

Sunday, July 13 3pm-7pm
Monday, July 14 4pm-8pm
Tuesday, July 15 4pm-8pm
Northwestern University campus
Exact Room TBA

Please email to RSVP. If you cannot make it but are interested, go ahead and contact me anyway. There are many roles both small and large to fill.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tucson Audition Update

The response has been terrific! A new time on Saturday, July 5th has been added. Also, please RSVP with a preferred date and time.

Saturday, July 5 11am-4pm
Tuesday, July 8 3pm-6:45pm
Wednesday July 9 3pm-6:45pm
Thursday July 10 2pm-5:45pm
Santa Rosa Library (near Drachman Elementary School, 10th Ave and 22nd St.)
1075 S. 10th Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701

Thank you actors and voice talent!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Audition Monologue: Total Commitment

There is one thing I am deadly earnest and that is Jesus Christ. He is my life, my business, my holiness, my hobby, my sweetheart, my husband, my wife, my bread and my meat! I wish to please him in the daytime and dream of his cause at night. His hold on me grows, not lessens as time goes on. Therefore I cannot carry on an unholy conversation, a friendship, a love affair, without relating it to my Jesus who drives and guide my life. I evaluate people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the cause of my spiritual life. I pledge allegiance of total commitment to Jesus Christ and to always be faithful as a soldier in the army of the living God.

Audition Monologue: Testimony

A man came running by me from the direction of Chariot of Fire, and he would have been traveling from the East to the Northwest, and he came across in front of me, and he had in one hand a lever action rifle, he came close to me, close enough to me to see that the hammer was back on the rifle. He went toward the vehicle that was parked on Second Avenue. And then cut back, or walked back toward the East, kind of a trot, and tried to go round the front of the vehicle toward where the main scrimmage was taking place on Second Avenue and the field just to the North of Second Avenue. Then he turned around and came back by me. At that time he came back by me and he was going South. And he circled around from the South toward the West and I yelled to him to drop the rifle, when he turned back toward me. I was backing up that time, I was trying to get away from him. I was backing from the South to the North, I was backing back toward Second Avenue. I wanted to get away from that man. But he turned and came toward me and he lifted the rifle up and at that time, my rifle came up from the hip where I kept it. I just raised it slightly. I could not sight the rifle, I did not have a scope on it. Or I did have a scope on it, I did not have open sights. And I fired at the man. I think three shots, but I’m not sure. I could have fired only three at him through the whole time, at any rate, he fell backwards and he fell down.

Audition Monologue: To Whom It May Concern

We, the people of Miracle Valley, are tired of everyone trying to tell us what is wrong in Miracle Valley, i.e. some say race, some say religion, some both. We know what is wrong in Miracle Valley because we live here and we thank all of you that are concerned, but - BUTT OUT. Jesse Jackson, lawyers from Illinois who have no jurisdiction in Arizona, ministers, whether white or black, we will take your prayers, but leave the rest alone.

We have had numerous press conferences to get the truth out, but so far it hasn’t worked. Mrs Thomas says they are afraid to come back to Miracle Valley. She does not say why, but we know. When and if she comes back, most of her people will end up in jail and there are other arrests to make of those involved in the shoot-out. Also, there are those of her people who broke bond by leaving the state of Arizona without permission. That, my friends, is a felony, no matter how you look at it. There are photos to prove their guilt (her people) and they have been caught red-handed doing what they do best...breaking the law and inciting riots.

And yet, they still plead not guilty. They are fooling a few people and those of you who are trying to defend Mrs. Thomas and her people are going to end up losing everything you worked so hard for. is it worth it? You will see in the end. Truth always wins.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Audition Monologue: The "Commando Pledge"

I am a Commando for Christ. I serve in the force of Holiness which guard the Saint’s and God’s valley and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will to any enemy or devil. If in command, I will never surrender my brethren while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become prisoner of this war, I will keep the faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am not bound to give any information. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my god and my allies or harmful to their cause.

I will never forget that I am a Commando for Christ, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made the valley. I will trust in my God and His place of refuge, Miracle Valley.

Tucson Auditions Info

Tuesday, July 8 3pm-6:45pm
Wednesday July 9 3pm-4:45pm
Thursday July 10 2pm-5:45pm

Santa Rosa Library
1075 S. 10th Ave

Please come prepared with the following info:
-Auditions are on a first-arrival basis with a sign up sheet posted to reserve a spot. Please set aside 20 minutes for the audition. If you only have a short window of time to audition, please email ahead of time to make arrangements. If none of these times work, I will keep you on file based on how the casting goes.
-You will be given a short segment to read. It will be sent via email as well as posted on this site. Memorization is not required, but is a plus. More emphasis is on the performance/interpretation of the segment. Additionally, you may be sent another small segment to read for a specific role.
-Your availability from September 1-September 15th (These are currently the target shooting dates)
-For voice-over artists: Are you willing to appear in front of camera?

Finally, thanks for your interest!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tucson Auditions @ Santa Rosa Library in July

Time/Date details to be posted shortly.

Santa Rosa Branch Library
1075 S. 10th Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pick Handles

Actors/actresses for documentary project (Tucson)

"I remember the pick handles very well. I went in the store and got them."

Variety of ages, ethnicities, body types for documentary voice-overs, re-enactments, and testimonies. Characters include police officers, lawyers, reporters, and many more.

The documentary centers on a violent 1982 confrontation between a church group and local law enforcement in the small southern Arizona community of Miracle Valley. Actors will read transcripts of court documents, interviews, and news reports surrounding the event. More information about this story and the documentary can be found at http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ or by replying to this notice.

Please reply with Headhot/Resumé to thomasjcastillo@u.northwestern.edu. Specific audition materials will be provided upon scheduling an audition. This is a rolling casting call, with casting and shooting starting immediately and continuing through September.

Compensation negotiable. SAG welcome via student film agreement.

Visit http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ for more information.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

African-American actors/actresses for documentary project (Evanston)

"I am a Commando for Christ. I serve in the force of Holiness which guard the Saint’s and God’s valley and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense."

Documentary project at Northwestern University seeks actors and actresses for voice overs and re-enactments.

The documentary centers on a violent 1982 confrontation between an all-Black church group from Chicago and an all-White sheriff's department in the small southern Arizona community of Miracle Valley. Actors will read transcripts of court documents, interviews, and news reports surrounding the event. More information about this story and the documentary can be found at http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ or by replying to this notice.

Specific audition materials will be provided upon scheduling an audition. This is a rolling casting call, with casting and shooting starting immediately and continuing through September. Casting and shooting will be held on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston. Please reply to schedule and audition or send headhsot/resumé.

Compensation negotiable. SAG welcome via student film agreement.

Visit http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ for more information.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Miracle Valley doc: Costume and Makeup Team

Seeking a costume and makeup team for work on a Northwestern University documentary project. Shooting in Tucson, Arizona and Chicago.

The documentary centers on a violent 1982 confrontation between an all-Black church group and an all-White sheriff's department in the small southern Arizona community of Miracle Valley. More information about this story and the documentary can be found at http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ or by replying to this notice.

The premise of the documentary is that actors will read transcripts of court documents, interviews, and news reports surrounding the event in character and in period costume, hair, and makeup. The time period is roughly the late 1970's and early 1980's in a rural Arizona town. A church group transplanted from the Chicago area moved into the town hoping to start a religious community, but soon ran into conflict with their neighbors. Archival photos and video of the people involved are available upon contact and will be posted regularly at the website.

This is a rolling shoot, with casting and shooting starting immediately and continuing into September. There are no sets, just actors speaking in direct address to the camera or to another character, so the costumes and hair will be extremely important in establishing the characters and time period.

Full reimbursement for costs. Pay is negotiable.

Miracle Valley Doc: Casting Call

Northwestern University documentary project seeks actors and actresses for voice overs and re-enactments in Chicago and Tucson, Arizona. All ethnicities, ages, body types.

The documentary centers on a violent 1982 confrontation between an all-Black church group and an all-White sheriff's department in the small southern Arizona community of Miracle Valley. Actors will read transcripts of court documents, interviews, and news reports surrounding the event. More information about this story and the documentary can be found at http://miraclevalleydoc.blogspot.com/ or by replying to this notice.

The primary roles are listed below, though there are numerous other supporting roles. Please contact for more info if you do not fit one of the following descriptions, as there are still many other roles to fill.

Sheriff: White male, 40-60, slightly overweight, similar to an older John Wayne.
Deputy: White male 25-35, athletic build.
Church Leader: Black female, 40-60, charismatic, strong-willed.
Church Leader's Son: Black male, 30-40, tall, smart, aggressive, athletic build. Facial hair or goatee a plus, but not required.
Neighbor: White male, 30-45, army veteran.
Lawyer: White or Black male 30-45, smart, intellectually aggressive, impatient, pushy.
State police superintendent: White male, 50-65, distinguished and polished.
State policeman: White or Black male, 30-45, experienced, professional, strictly by-the-book.
Reporter: White male, 30-40, roguish, quick-witted, Australian accent a plus but not required
Local politician: White female 30-40, thin, type A personality.

Please contact to schedule an audition. This is a rolling casting call, with casting starting immediately and shooting and continued casting starting in mid-July through the end of September.

SAG welcome via student film agreement.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Miracle Valley Documentary Project

On the morning of Saturday, October 23rd, 1982, two Cochise County sheriff's deputies approached the home of a member of the Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church to serve outstanding traffic warrants. As they knocked on the door, a car quickly pulled up behind them, several men inside. Church members. The men weren't happy. The deputies radioed for help. Their colleagues were already in position. Over 30 armed deputies, plus a reporter and a photographer, streamed into the neighborhood. Church members emerged from their homes, some carrying boards, sticks, guns. Screaming. Confusion. Running. Dust. Gunshots.

Two church members were dead. Another was paralyzed. Several deputies were seriously wounded. The place was Miracle Valley, a small community in the desert at the southern edge of Arizona.

This documentary is the story of that day, of the days before it, and of the days after it. This is the story of all of those days.

The Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church had moved into the neighborhood roughly four years prior, a contingent of about three-hundred people in whole. Its membership was drawn largely from Chicago and from Mississippi. They were known as hard workers. They were people with jobs and careers. They were pious people, and they were drawn to the Valley by the church that was already there. The preacher A.A. Allen was a charismatic, dynamic figure of the 1950's and 60's who built a domed church in the desert, published a magazine, beamed a radio show, and recorded albums with a multi-racial choir. But after his death, his mini-empire fell apart. The Christ Miracle Healing Center and Church, and its leader, Pastor Frances Thomas, rolled into town with with the dream of revitalizing that heritage. They bought property, they established a place of worship across the street from A.A. Allen's old place, they enrolled their children in school, and they looked for jobs. And life in the Valley became more complex for everyone.

The church was all Black. Their neighbors, mostly White. And it wasn't just that. The church members worshiped into the early morning. They believed in faith healing. They formed an elaborate neighborhood watch that initially was welcomed but soon came to intimidate fellow residents. Finally, they didn't back down from confrontations, with their neighbors or with the Sheriff's Office. And there were more and more of those.

Life in the neighborhood became tense. The church members, for their part, felt that they were experiencing a pattern of racist and unfair treatment from some neighbors and from local authorities. There were too many instances of vandalism, or people driving by and yelling slurs, or of questionable traffic stops. The non-church residents wanted action from their Sheriff, Jimmy Judd. They felt that the Sheriff and the deputies were too intimidated to make basic stops or approach church members. And they threatened to handle it on their own, if it came too that. The authorities were often fighting amongst themselves. The state highway patrolmen and their county counterparts often differed on basic police reports, protocol, and jurisdiction, sparking something of a rivalry.

Attempts were made at reconciliation. Mediators flown in. Promises made. Nothing stuck. And there were rumors. Lots of rumors. The church was stockpiling weapons, and burying them in the fields. They were training for a guerilla war. They were not a church, they were a cult, bent on taking over the valley. Or, the Klan was plotting to drive them out. People in sheets were driving fast through the town, trying to scare the church members from their homes. Or, the state police were colluding with the church to embarrass the Sheriff and take over his jurisdiction. Wildfire.

So little events became big events: Church members pulling their children from school. And big events became strange events: Several church children dying. A massive brawl at the local high school, ending in a desperate high-speed chase back the the neighborhood. A group of church women tossing hammers at a local reporter, caught on tape and played repeatedly on the local news. And then there were just big events: A van exploding on the state highway, killing a church member. And there's a whole story to that, too. And then four years of tension, mistrust and anger erupted. Gunshots.

There were charges and counter-charges, lawsuits, criminal cases, government investigations that dragged on for a few years after. Another church member died from his wounds, as did a deputy, but neither could ever be "proven" to have had anything to do with the infamous melee. And when it ended, nothing. No church member or Sheriff's deputy or otherwise was ever officially punished for the events of October 23rd, 1982. There were no final words, no denouement, no bow ties. The church members left with their dead. Never returned to live in the Valley. The cops either got promoted, or transferred to Nowheresville, left the force entirely, or just stayed on and retired. Prosecutors never made that case, defense attorneys never truly proved that wrong. Neither ever really hit that jackpot. The County went about its business. Residents died, moved away. A few stayed put. A.A. Allen's church went through a variety of owners, each struggling to revive its past glory as the famous Miracle Valley.

This is the story of all those days.