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March 9, 2011

Article: Man Without a Saddle

You may or may not be aware of my work as a filmmaker. But to ste outside of my role as critic for a moment, I wanted to let you all know about my next project. It's a western with a horror twist, and a piece I am very excited about. 

MAN WITHOUT A SADDLE is based on Kipling's classic story, Mark of the Beast, transferred from colonial India to the American west of 1870. Three ex-Army regulars, Strickland, Fleete and Barton, are hired to convince a Shoshone shaman to move on to the reservation. The shaman, Tanupah, guards a stone petroglyph, sacred to his people. Fleete, in a drunken fit, urinates on the petroglyph and dishonors its spirit. In retaliation, he is cursed by Tanupah, turning him into a raging creature, half man, half wolf. After subduing the creature (an act which very nearly costs them their lives), Strickland and Barton torture Tanupah until he removes the curse. However, in so doing they all feel deep shame, and forced to examine their belief systems. This is especially true of Strickland, a deeply religious man, who finds his foundation (his "saddle") rocked to the core.

This story will be told with great care, concentrating on theme, performance and period detail. It will be shot on two ranches in Spokane, Washington by a small crew of professionals, all with years of experience. Director of photography is prolific producer/director Ray Biddle. The small cast has already been assembled, utilizing some of the finest actors in the area; all with many film and theater credits to their name.

We plan to take our time and do this with great care, creating a thoughtful and entertaining film which will hopefully garner much attention on the festival circuit. It should appeal not only to genre fans, but also aficionados of the old west and fans of classic literature.

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