Low-budget movie to be made...
Recently, it has been made known that there is an amateur filmmaker from Santa Rosa, California, who wants to re-create Jason & Lindsay's murders for a movie he's making. In my personal opinion, it is extremely disrespectful... despite his claims that he's going to represent the story in a "fictionalized way" and in "the most tasteful manner." Being that he is from Santa Rosa... and everyone in that community is extremely familiar with this murder case... it will be lost on no one which story he is recreating on film. So any freedoms he decides to take with their story will easily be taken as an actual event or fact and could seriously damage Jason & Lindsay's character.
Here's the article:
SR filmmaker touches on 2004 Jenner slayings:
Murdered couple's story part of plot in Cardinal Newman grad's low-budget thriller
Thursday, July 31, 2008
By DEREK J. MOORE | Santa Rosa Press Democrat
As fog gathers on the horizon, a lone figure stands on a bluff overlooking a beach north of Jenner and snaps photos of the vanishing sun.
The young woman is a Sacramento actress playing the part of a devoutly Christian 20-something who visits the beach with her older fiance. Later that night, they are shot to death as they sleep on the sand.
If that scenario sounds familiar, it's because a young Christian couple was killed in shocking fashion on the beach in 2004.
The unsolved case still resonates and is just one of many interesting angles Santa Rosa filmmaker Aron Campisano plans to use in the couple's story on the big screen.
The low-budget effort reflects the relative ease with which people can bring cinematic art to life in the Internet age, as well as the risks inherent in fictionalizing gut-wrenching, true-life events that are still fresh in memory.
The 38-year-old graduate of Cardinal Newman High School and New York University's film school said the tragic story of Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall is one element in a movie he described as a "Hitchcock-like thriller" about young people who realize they've been killed and struggle to understand what happened.
"It's not like 'America's Most Wanted,'" he said. "I'm not trying to replicate what happened or document it. It's just going to be a reflection of those characters."
Campisano's previous venture, a yet-to-be-released low-budget movie called "The Master Plan" that some deemed to be critical of Christianity -- coupled with his own personal views about religion -- have raised concern about his intentions among the families of the dead couple and investigators on the case.
Campisano said he does not want to offend anyone.
"My intention from day one was to represent, in a fictionalized way, what occurred there in the most tasteful manner," he said. "There are no action scenes. There are no death scenes. It's not a documentary-style film of actual events. It makes references to things through images."
He described the project, titled "Adventure!!!," as being more philosophical in nature than religious, as opposed to "The Master Plan," which he said some friends and relatives thought had an anti-religious bent. He described himself as agnostic and suspicious of organized belief.
Campisano said he was intrigued that the families of Allen and Cutshall saw their deaths as being part of God's plan, when his view of their actions is more jaundiced.
"They were pushing boundaries in their lives," he said. "They're Christian youth counselors who are painted as idealistic icons in death, as a lot of people are. But if you look at what they did that day, they were illegally camping on the beach, which they knew they shouldn't do."
Family members of the couple are wary of Campisano's efforts.
"Obviously it is going to reflect on our kids one way or another, perhaps negatively, perhaps positively or perhaps both," said Chris Cutshall, Lindsay's father and pastor of a church in rural Ohio. "I would be a little concerned on how that would reflect on us and them, and especially on God."
His daughter, who was 22 when she was killed, spent the summer of 2004 with Allen, 26, at a Christian whitewater rafting camp in El Dorado County, where they worked as youth counselors and rafting guides.
They were killed on what was supposed to be their final weekend in California before heading home and getting married.
Authorities said someone shot the pair each once in the head with a rifle as they lay in separate sleeping bags on what Jenner locals refer to as Fishhead or Driftwood Beach.
Despite hundreds of tips, several potential suspects and a $50,000 reward issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the case continues to baffle local residents and investigators.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department continues to actively work the case as the fourth anniversary of the killings approaches in mid-August, Capt. Dave Edmonds said.
He said the department has not received any requests in that time for assistance with a book or movie related to the slayings.
Edmonds said such endeavors can have the positive effect of generating renewed interest in a case. But he echoed the concerns of the families in saying that such publicity can also cause more pain if done in poor taste.
Campisano said he is prevented by legal reasons from hewing too closely to actual events, as he does not own the rights to the story.
Whether the film is made at all or picked up for distribution is another story altogether. Campisano said it took him four years to wrap up "The Master Plan," which may have its premiere at an East Coast film festival this year.
Campisano said he's living with his parents while bankrolling his new venture using "private equity." He represents a new breed of artists who, armed with a video camera, access to the Internet and some technical skill, can call themselves filmmakers.
He said "Adventure!!!" pays homage to some of his favorite movies, including "The Sixth Sense" and "Memento." The exclamation points in the title reflect the way many young people communicate using copious amounts of punctuation, he said.
Campisano used an ad on the free Internet site Craigslist to find actors for the movie's trailer, which he shot last weekend. He hopes to film more scenes in October.
The ad described the character of "Jay" as being in his mid-20s, outdoorsy and having strong Christian beliefs. "Lisa," his younger fiancee, is a free spirit, still in college, who tends to keep to herself and was raised in the Midwest.
The parts are played by Evan Owen, an actor from Los Angeles, and Nicole Mosbacher, who is from Sacramento.
In addition to filming in and around Jenner last Sunday, Campisano and his actors went to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday to film scenes there.
In real life, Cutshall and Allen visited Pier 39 on their way to Jenner. Authorities recovered Cutshall's camera and photos she took of the beach where the couple spent the night.
"Adventure!!!" also will explore Campisano's interest in the natural world, and how inconsequential human life is in the grander scheme of things. He said it's a lesson he learned while watching his 58-year-old father's ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.
"I guess I found it a little profound that only people care about what happened to Jason and Lindsay," he said via e-mail. "Only people try to make sense of it. Only people rationalize this way or that way. In time, the ocean washes it all away, and nature remains."
My direct response to Aron Campisano:
Regarding your criticism pointing out that Jason & Lindsay slept on a beach where it was illegal to do so... 1) I don't even know if it was posted anywhere on that beach that it was illegal to camp out there (and even if it was, they may or may not have seen it) and 2) even if they did know, if that's the worst of their offenses, that does not imply that they are completely shady or inauthentic. Our fond reflections of them and their lives are accurate... not hyped. It may seem that, in death, many people are set upon a pedestal... but there is no exaggeration when it comes to what we've said about Jason & Lindsay. No, they weren't perfect... no one is... but they were extremely devoted to living for Jesus in ways that outshine the rest of us by a long shot, myself included. Please don't jump to conclusions based upon such a measly accusation and then presume that they weren't as we say they were. It certainly does not give you the right to make a movie about the crime that ended their lives and then paint it in your own light. My deep concern is that your portrayal of what happened will damage Jason & Lindsay's character somehow. You need to make it CLEAR that this is your OWN version of what happened and that it is fictional. My goodness... even in the last segment featuring Jason & Lindsay's case on America's Most Wanted, they took a "reenactment scene" from a completely different story that they thought somehow fit this one too, and made it look like Jason & Lindsay were sleeping together on that beach. I got e-mails from people, just based on that brief reenactment scene, that were accusatory of Jason & Lindsay because they were incorrectly portrayed. Jason & Lindsay were in separate individual sleeping bags and an autopsy even showed that Lindsay was still pure... because they were trying to determine whether or not their killer had raped her. So... you may have the legal right to make this film, but you have the RESPONSIBILITY not to. Simply changing the characters' names to "Jay" and "Lisa" isn't doing anyone any favors. To profit off of the horrific murders of two people who were dearly loved and are dearly missed... especially when the crime is unsolved... is abhorrent. That's just my opinion. It is indecent to make money off of someone else's heartbreak.
At the very LEAST... I believe it is your duty to let Jason & Lindsay's families watch your finished film before anyone else does. Because it doesn't matter that this film is supposed to be fictional and that the characters names have been mildly modified... it still reflects directly upon Jason & Lindsay's lives and deaths. You can't argue any differently.