Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"Sacred Ground: The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery"at the San Diego Black Film Festival

My documentary, "Sacred Ground:  The Battle for Mount Auburn Cemetery" will be playing in the San Diego Black Film Festival on Saturday, February 2, 2013.  We are delighted to be part of the festival.

"Sacred Ground:  The Battle For Mount Auburn Cemetery" is a feature-length documentary about community activists and family members battling a Methodist church for control of historic Mount Auburn Cemetery.  For years, Mount Auburn Cemetery was the only place in Baltimore, Maryland, where African-Americans could be buried.  It is the final resting place lightweight boxing champion Joe Gans, the first African-American world champion in any sport, and numerous leaders in the early civil rights movement.  It is a registered historic landmark that has fallen into such horrifying condition that bones litter the ground and weeds cover all but the highest monuments.  It is a tale of grave robbing, grave recycling and every other terrible thing that could possibly happen in a cemetery.

The film follows Lu Moorman, president of Preservation Alliance, an independent group of activists and family members, and her attempt to wrest control of the cemetery from its stewards, Sharp Street Memorial Church.  Dating back to 1787, Sharp Street Memorial Church is one of the first African-American Methodist congregations.  It was once the most influential African-American church in Baltimore, but its numbers have dwindled over the years and its financial resources have waned.  The current pastor, Rev. Dell Hinton, appointed her father, Rev. Douglas Sands, head of the cemetery.  They, too, have a plan to restore the cemetery with the help of Morgan State University, but who can be trusted to speak for the generations buried beneath its soil?

In 2009, conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery, the historic African-American cemetery in Chicago, aroused nationwide outrage.  This film should engender similar outrage upon its release.

Here's the trailer:

Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End

The trailer for my new movie"Revelation Road:  The Beginning of the End" is now online.  The film itself will be released in mid-March.

The film, directed and co-written by visual stylist Gabe Sabloff, actually has a pretty groovy cast featuring David A.R.White, Andrea Logan White, Brian Bosworth, Ray Wise, Steve "Sting" Borden, Jen Lilley and two-time Oscar nominee Eric Roberts.  It's sort of an insane cross between "Sons of Anarchy" and "Left Behind" with a little "A History of Violence" thrown in for good measure.  The sequel is now in its final stages of post-production.  That film will also feature one of my favorites Tracy Melchior.

Here's the trailer:

And here's yours truly with Eric Roberts:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Instant Queue: The Legend of Hell House

"The Legend of Hell House" is a guilty pleasure from 1973.  I remember seeing the rather lurid trailer at my local movie house, The Arcade Theater, and knew I had to see the film.  Considering the violence, and somewhat tasteful nudity, I am surprised the film was merely rated PG at the time of its release and I was able to see the film unescorted by an adult.

I liked the film, but I must admit I was a little disappointed initially.  First, I remember thinking that I had already seen all of the scary moments in the trailer.  More importantly, however, I felt the film was an amped-up ripoff of Robert Wise's 1963 masterpiece "The Haunting."  At the time I considered "The Haunting" the best ghost movie ever made.  Still do.  I have had considerable experience with paranormal activity.  Whenever someone asks me what it was like to live in a haunted house, I tell them to watch "The Haunting."  (Please, whatever you do, avoid the Jan De Bont's 1999 remake of the film.  It is a travesty.)

Subsequent viewing, however, have allowed me to enjoy "The Legend of Hell House" on its own level.  The plot is simple.  A dying millionaire sends a physicist, Clive Reville, and his wife, Gayle Hunnicutt, and two mediums, the tasty Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowall to the Belasco House, described as "the Mount Everest of haunted houses," to prove or disprove the survival of personality after death.  Two other psychic expeditions into the house ended in disaster.  Roddy McDowall's character is the sole sane survivor of the second expedition.  Needless to say, madness and bloodshed ensue before the riddle of the Belasco House is finally solved.

The real strength of the film is the script by Richard Matheson which was based on his own novel.  Matheson is one of the most interesting horror/sci-fi screenwriters of his time.  His credits included films like "The Incredible Shrinking Man" to "The Night Stalker" and numerous episodes of "The Twilight Zone."  This film itself is reminiscent thematically of Matheson's classic novel "I Am Legend," in that it explores the boundary between scientific knowledge and the supernatural.  Matheson always likes to have his cake and eat it, too.  He accepts and celebrates the supernatural, but he always provides it with an acceptable scientific explanation.

The film is moody and atmospheric, but it might be too slowly paced for MTV-generation.  The performances of the four leads are generally solid.  That said, I do sometimes waver in my opinion as to whether McDowall is brilliant or hopelessly over the top in the film.

It's definitely worth a look.  Here's the trailer:

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Kairos Prize Semi-Finalists Announced

I want to congratulate this year's semi-finalist for the Kairos Prize.  Being one of the winners in the 2012 competition has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.  That said, I must say that I am rooting for Clark McMillian and his script "Investment In Time."  Clark, a fellow Marylander, was a runner-up last year, and I enjoyed the time we spent together last year in Los Angeles.   Below is a picture of my wife Deborah, Clark and myself on a Movieguide sponsored cruise.

Here they are:

Byron Anderson of Chevy Chase, MD for QUEST FOR LIGHT, ADVENTURE OF THE MAGI
Steve Armour & Steve Gomer of Altadena, CA for ALL SAINTS
Ann Ault of Huntersville, NC for HEART'S DESIRE
Stephen Bentley of Canton, GA for GREATER LOVE
Mario Bernheim of Long Beach, AL for MICHAEL'S REWARD
Annie Bradshaw of High Wycombe, ENG for APPOINTMENT IN JERUSALEM
Dianne E. Butts of Pueblo, CO for DAEMON
Timothy Casto of Burbank, CA for TOBY
Romeo Ciolfi of Toronto, Ont., CAN for PLAY BALL
Rick Conti of Chelmsford, MA for A GRAIN OF WHEAT
Martha Cotton of Sherman Oaks, CA for FORGIVING SOLOMAN LONG
James M. De Vince of Wallingford, CT for THE BASKETBALL
Donald Driscoll of Pitcairn, PA for SHOWDOWN AT DAMASCUS
Johnny Dunn & Georgia K. Vinson of Los Angeles, CA for LOVE RESTORED
Justin Eade of Nelson, New Zealand for SIXGUN ALLEY
Charles E. Felton of Colorado Springs, CO for THE POSTULANT
Brendan Getman of Yorba Linda, CA for REVIVAL
Glenn GriffinDavid Hui & Matt Rust of Fitchburg, WI for SCAR OF CAIN
Randall Hahn of Miami, FL for GIDEON
Julie Hauwiller of Arcanum, OH for YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME
Steven W. Hoerger of Oak Forest, IL for GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
Phillip Thomas Hopersberger of Laingsburg, MI for SOMETHING GRAY
Mary Huckstep of Colorado Springs, CO for WILLIAM, WILL YOU DANCE?
Jessica Davis Huettner of La Quinta, CA for THE MILE
Jeffrey Langham of Murphy, TX for EONS PART 1: THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD
Dennis Lofgren of Westlake Village, CA for A LIFE WORTH LIVING
Debbie Lollie of Rancho Cucamonga, CA for BETHLEHEM: THE INNKEEPER'S STORY
Karen Lombardo of Reston, VA for REDEEMED
Christopher T. Lovett of Lago Vista, TX for TIES THAT BIND
Kenata Martins of West Hollywood, CA for TANGERINE SON
Clark B. McMillian, Jr. of Bowie, MD for INVESTMENT IN TIME
Ernie Minera of Oakdale, MN for KING OF THE MAT
Anthony L. Morrone & Paul E. Undari of Bronx, NY for BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR
Jonathan Murphy & Joshua Mills of Los Angeles, CA for A BROKEN BRIDGE
Lana Su Newlin of Oronogo, MO for LOVE IN A BOX
Justen Overlander of Minneapolis, MN for AWAY
Sarah Raudszus of Berkley, MI for FROM THE STORM
Bryan Ready of Honolulu, HI for HOLEY CHILDHOOD
Marcia Chandler Rhea & Margaret Ford Rogers of Charleston, SC for THE CAROLINA STORYTELLER
Chris Saranchock & Melinda Smith of Los Angeles, CA for HOME
David ScottDan Wetzel James Young of Los Angeles, CA for LIFE OF A KING
Anthony W. "Tony" Scott of Napa, CA for LOVE IN TIME
Adrienne Smith of New York NY for THE END OF FAITH
Lizanne Southgate & Alan Sproles of Visalia, CA for 57 CENTS
Paul F. Spite of Cookeville, TN for OPEN TOMBS
Brad Stephenson of Thunder Bay, Ont., CAN for AFTER THE FIRE
Sam Sullivan of Jefferson, LA for THE DRUM
Jim Sutton of Atlanta, GA for LIFE IN CELL BLOCK E
Maggie TerryViale of Napa, CA for THE CRY OF THE DAFFODILS
Margo Trueblood of Atlanta, GA for FAITH FOUND WANTING
Camille Tucker of Culver City, CA for BLESSED IN THE CITY
Beverly Varnado of Athens, GA for BRAVE GIRL
Lisa England Williams of Endwell, NY for THE BELL RINGERS
Kate Wright of Los Angeles, CA for THE AMERICAN SAINTS