Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2004
USA: Artistic License Films
Cast: Joshua Coleman, Dani Marco, David Maynard, Sarah Smith, Elisha Wilson
Director: James Ronald Whitney
Country: USA
USA: 97 mins
USA Release Date: 19 March 2004 (Limited Release - Los Angeles)
USA Release Date: 12 March 2004 (Limited Release - New York)


- James Ronald Whitney

As a rule, I think it would be unwise to accuse television programmers of having creative vision. So after developing my concept for a one-hour, weekly, prime time TV series, I was confused as hell about how to pitch it to those powers that be. Over the past couple of years, it appeared that network programming had become reality everything-but in actuality, it had become reality ANYTHING! Well, anything but reality if you ask me. Because it's all bullshit.

Take those four monogamously-challenged couples on TEMPTATION ISLAND, separated and in Jacuzzis with hot, available, camera-ready singles. Even if you like the concept, and I do because I am a reality whore, ultimately, it simply translates into a bi-weekly dramatic kiss with some Speedo or string bikini-clad guilt-ridden, camera-aware let down. In short, reality would allow these sweaty and intoxicated cast members on this hedonistic island to explore their mutual nakedness and sexual fantasies-but the sponsors and networks won't.

Fortunately, as a filmmaker, my broadcast home has never been the networks. My last two movies have been HBO premieres, and the viewing audience pays their bills-not the sponsors. And I think that viewing audiences are ready for my concept-a concept that would explore how far six people would go for fame and fortune in America's most uninhibited game!

Being nude makes many of us feel somewhat vulnerable; but being emotionally nude makes most of us feel naked. And I hoped to exploit that vulnerability with people who truly wanted to challenge themselves-and did I mention that one of them would earn $10,000.00 in the process? For the record, I never ask people to do something that I wouldn't do myself, and I had already gone down the road of emotional nakedness in my first film, JUST, MELVIN. Besides, tragedy is a fact of life, and since this would be a game of life, tragedy would be part of the game.

I also hoped that if in the midst of this weekly game, sexy and attractive people talked about some of life's more hushed realities-murder, eating disorders, promiscuity, Tourette's Syndrome, insanity, suicide, date rape, etc.-maybe pop culture would eventually redefine the boundaries of taboo altogether. But I wondered how emotionally and physically uninhibited these people would ultimately be in pursuit of their dream.

I also wondered how my concept could all be explained in a passionate 3-minute run-on sentence to those television programmers. I know how to make a movie, not a TV series. Suddenly, it all became perfectly clear. I would make a movie about making this reality-game pilot. Then I wouldn't have to pitch those programmers at all. They could simply sit their asses down and finally watch what I hoped would be unadulterated reality at its... Well, I didn't know what they'd be watching, exactly, because I hadn't started filming. But now I know.

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