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‘American Monster’ Looks to Document the Trial of an Accused Ritualistic Murderer

'American Monster' Looks to Document the Trial of an Accused Ritualistic Murderer

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress — at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

American Monster

Logline: A non-fiction documentary series, told through the eyes of those closest to a bizarre crime, “American Monster” (working title) strives to flip the script on the American culture of violence by re-examining it as a community problem.

Elevator Pitch:
John Lawson grew up in the suburb of Clemmons, NC. Rejected at school and by his hometown at large, he earned his community’s respect the only way he knew how: FEAR.

In direct response to the fears of his community, Lawson became the boogeyman of Clemmons, taking on the persona of “Pazuzu Algarad, Islamic Satanist.” Algarad would bond with a ‘brotherhood’ of outsiders – often people struggling with mental illness and addiction, all poor. He and his girlfriend were accused of murdering two strangers and burying them in his backyard. American Monster raises many questions, but perhaps the most compelling one is, what could we have done?

Production Team:
Patricia E. Gillespie – Director/Producer
Patricia E. Gillespie is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Sundance DFP Fellowship Alum. In addition to producing “Unrest,” she served as Line Producer on Sabaah Folyan’s “Whose Streets,” and is currently in production on her directorial debut, “American Monster,” a non-fiction series exploring the intersection of poverty and violence in the American South.

About the Film:
Seven years ago, my best friend’s brother Mike was murdered by two acquaintances in Southbury, CT. I watched in horror as the town swept the incident under the rug, dismissing the young men involved as “wayward.” Perhaps they were. They needed help, and if they’d gotten it, Mike might be alive today. I was too young and inexperienced to make a film at the time, but I’m ready now.

We’re all sick of the violence plaguing our country. In order to create real change, we have to approach the problem differently. American Monster is here to do just that.

Current Status: The six-part documentary series will debut in 2018. More news soon!

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