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«Press Kit Occupants A feature film directed by Russ Emanuel Starring Briana White, Michael Pugliese, Chalet Lizette brannan, and Robert Picardo USA: 2015: ...»

Press Kit


A feature film directed by Russ Emanuel

Starring Briana White, Michael Pugliese,

Chalet Lizette brannan, and Robert Picardo

USA: 2015: HD Digital: Color: 81 mins

http: //www.occupantsthemovie.com

For further information, contact:

Russ Emanuel Howard Nash

russ@russem.com cinemade@aol.com



A young couple discover a parallel version of themselves while surfing the Internet.

SYNOPSIS – 3 Line 'Occupants' is a film about Annie Curtis, an award-winning documentarian and her husband Neil. Annie and Neil embark on a '30 Days of Clean Living' documentary, setting up cameras all over their house to document, via the Internet, their new eating habits. By doing so, half of their cameras capture a parallel version of themselves - a version that ultimately unravels and threatens their very existence.

SYNOPSIS – Short (100 Word) 'Occupants' is a film about Annie Curtis, an award-winning documentarian and her husband Neil. Annie and Neil embark on a '30 Days of Clean Living' documentary, setting up cameras all over their house to document, via the Internet, their new eating habits. By doing so, half of their cameras capture a parallel version of themselves - a version that ultimately unravels and threatens their very existence.

Raising our money through IndieGoGo, this project was filmed primarily in Los Angeles from September 24 to October 3, 2014, with second unit photography in Orlando, Florida.

SYNOPSIS – Long (200 Word) 'Occupants' is a film about Annie Curtis, an award-winning documentarian and her husband Neil. Annie and Neil embark on a '30 Days of Clean Living' documentary, setting up cameras all over their house to document, via the Internet, their new eating habits. By doing so, half of their cameras capture a parallel version of themselves - a version that ultimately unravels and threatens their very existence.

One morning, Annie settles in to watch her initial footage. She becomes clearly unnerved by what she sees: It's her and Neil, sitting in what appears to be their living room - only it isn't them. They’re two different people existing in a parallel universe and, unlike the wedded bliss she shares with her own Neil, the couple in the video are clearly unhappy- most notably with each other.

Things become more stressful when Annie and Neil discover that their "parallels" are contemplating murder... and that a worm hole is slowly opening that'll soon connect their two worlds. They desperately seek help from a former professor of Annie's, in the hope they can "close" their universe to the two who now threaten them - as well as the life of their yet unborn child.


“Occupants” Press Kit – http: //www.occupantsthemovie.com Occupants STATEMENT FROM THE DIRECTOR – Russ Emanuel For me, “Occupants” was a wonderful experience.

It employed a new style of filmmaking that I never explored before – that of the “found footage” concept. It required an entirely new outlook. Gone was the classic narrative setup of an establishing shot, wide shot, medium shots, and closeups: Now it was replaced by a point-of-view type of perspective, from a “webcam” / “security camera” or a “handheld” format.

While certain elements were made easier (for example, less camera setups), it was made more difficult in other respects. For example, one scene would be only one shot – so all elements in that one shot had to be "perfect" (from the acting to the lighting).

Definitely more challenging, but a lot of fun!

And not only was I able to work with my producing partner, Howard Nash again, but this film teamed me up with various crew members I have come to know from previous collaborations, including my DP / editor Emile Haris and my key gaffer / 1st assistant camera Jorge Hernandez. And of course, it's always a pleasure to direct Robert Picardo, with whom this was my fifth collaboration.

Notwithstanding the above, we raised our money for this film in an “out-of-the-box” way – through crowd funding methods via the site, IndieGoGo. We began by filming a “Video Teaser”, introducing our project. And throughout the next 60 days of our fundraising, we were able to persuade family and friends (and complete strangers) to have faith in our project. We ultimately raised 106% of our goal!

Along for the ride were a new cast and crew that I had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Briana White and Michael Pugliese were both wonderful and brilliant choices to play our lead characters, Annie and Neil. Their characters’ complexities hit close to home for me (for aren’t we all human, with our own human frailties and “inconsistent” behavior?). It was intriguing to have these two actors play dual roles – both a “good” and a “bad” version. Since both versions were genetically identical, the characters begin to doubt not only each other, but themselves, which made for an amazing experience to see their dualities explored.

It was also great to work with writer Julia Camara, unit production manager Jennifer Durst, 1st assistant director Clifford Breakfield, production designer Tatiana Kuilanoff, key costumer Nina Minnelli, key makeup artist Alisha L. Baijounas, script supervisor Alexandria Sanders, still photographers Jack Roth and Janeen Berryman, and our behind-the-scenes videographer, Eric Kask.

With this incredible collaboration between cast and crew, “Occupants” has now attained final completion. That said, I hope you'll enjoy our film, and my fourth foray into feature filmmaking.

–  –  –

Originally from San Francisco, Russ Emanuel grew up in both Japan and the United States, garnering an international viewpoint of the world throughout his childhood. After graduating from the University of Southern California to study Cinema-Television, International Relations and Japanese, (and gaining more production experience at the UCLA Extension Program), he founded Russem Productions in 2002 in order to promote his short films including HER KNIGHT (2003), the award-winning GIRL WITH GUN (2005), and the documentary RESTORATION OF PARADISE (2014). He also produced several shorts including MAVET (2004), the zombie-flick THE DIARY (2004), the vampire film PERFECT RED (2006), and CULT 11 (2010) and THE MEETING (2013) television series (which he also directed two episodes each). Presently, OCCUPANTS (2015) marks Emanuel's fourth foray into feature filmmaking, after having directed P.J. (2007), CHASING THE GREEN (2009), and THE LEGENDS OF NETHIAH (2012).


An actor since the late 1970s, Howard Nash has appeared in numerous independent films, notably THE MEETING in 2004. However, he is best known as an independent filmmaker, having co-produced the cult film CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT for Columbia Tri-Star in 1991. He also produced SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (MTI, 2002), which is available in most video stores throughout the US and Canada. In 2005, he completed TRACKS (where he appears in a cameo), which also starred John Heard, along with Ice-T. He also produced the television special FELICIANO, THE LEGEND (for PBS) starring the legendary singer, José Feliciano, and has produced promotional videos for the Beijing Circus, Cirque du Soleil, and the original members of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO II). OCCUPANTS (2015) marks his fifth venture with director Russ Emanuel, the first four having been P.J. (2007), CHASING THE GREEN (2009), THE LEGENDS OF NETHIAH (2012), and RESTORATION OF PARADISE (2014).


From Bergen County, New Jersey, Robert A. Kwartler makes OCCUPANTS his fourth venture with producer Howard Nash. Robert previously worked with Howard Nash on SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (2002); and with Howard Nash and Russ Emanuel on P.J. (2007) and THE LEGENDS OF NETHIAH (2012). Robert graduated with honors from Emerson College in 1974 earning a double BA in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has published various articles and poetry, produced packaging and provided marketing for major studios including RCA and NBC, and a few joke batches to Rodney Dangerfield and Johnny Carson. His performance resume includes stand-up comedy, puppet showcases, trade shows, and street performance. Robert’s current executive production funding capability stems from thirty years of institutional commercial real estate activity and private commodity transactions (visit www.kwartler.com).

–  –  –


“Occupants” Press Kit – http: //www.occupantsthemovie.com Occupants


1. Writers Guild of America, West – December 14, 2015

2. Farpoint Convention – February 13, 2016

3. University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts – April 28, 2016

4. Ratha Con – May 6, 2016 Phoenix Comicon Film Festival – June 2 & 5, 2016 – “Best of the Fest, 2nd Place” 5.

6. Florida Supercon Super Geek Film Festival – July 2 & 3 & 4, 2016 – “Best Director”

7. Shore Leave Alternative Film Festival – July 17, 2016

8. San Diego Comic-con International Independent Film Festival – July 23, 2016

9. San Antonio Film Festival – July 28, 2016

10. Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention – August 21, 2016

11. Action on Film International Film Festival – September 4, 2016

12. Toronto Independent Film Festival – September 13, 2016

13. Great Lakes International Film Festival – September 22 - October 1, 2016

14. Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles – September 23, 2016

15. Velvet Rope Film Festival – September 30, 2016 – “BREAKOUT STAR – CHALET LIZETTE BRANNAN”

16. Shriekfest Horror Film Festival – October 7, 2016 – “BEST SCI-FI FEATURE FILM”

17. Ellensburg Film Festival – October 8, 2016

18. Louisville’s International Festival of Film – October 15, 2016

19. Dazed 4 Horror Film Festival – October 27, 2016 – “Best Experimental Horror Feature, Best Editing Feature Film, Best Actor Feature Film (Michael Pugliese), Best Actress Feature Film (Briana White), Best SFX Effects Feature Film, Best Sound Feature Film, Sexiest Scream Queen Actress Feature Film (Briana White)”

20. Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con (ComiKaze Expo) – October 29, 2016

21. Alien Con – October 29, 2016

22. Kansas International Film Festival – November 6, 2016 – “BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE FILM JURY AWARD” NOMINATION

23. Weyauwega International Film Festival – November 11, 2016

24. Fright Night Film Fest – November 26, 2016

25. Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema – January 9, 2017 – “Best Screenplay Feature Film (Julia Camara), Excellence in Filmmaking” WINNER, “Best Feature, Juan Ruiz Anchia Award Best Cinematography Feature Film, Best Ensemble Cast Feature Film, Best Actress Feature Film (Briana White), Best Supporting Actress Feature Film (Chalet Lizette Brannan), Mary Austin Award Excellence In Directing Feature or Featurette (Russ Emanuel), Best Actor Feature Film (Michael Pugliese), Best Director Feature Film (Russ Emanuel)” Nominations

26. Chandler International Film Festival – January 15, 2017 – “BEST Action/Thriller Feature December 2016”

27. SoCal Film Festival – February 9, 2017

28. Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival – February 18, 2017

29. WIDESCREEN FILM & MUSIC VIDEO FESTIVAL – February 18, 2017 – “BEST FEATURE, Best Editing”


30. Cosmic Film Festival – February 18, 2017 – “BEST of the Festival” NOMINATION

31. DC Independent Film Festival – February 18, 2017

32. Sedona International Film Festival – February 20 & 23, 2017

33. Nevermore Film Festival – February 24 & 25, 2017

34. Pasadena International Film Festival – March 9, 2017

35. Russian International Horror Film Festival and Awards – March 20-26, 2017

36. StarFest Denver 2017 – April 21-23, 2017

37. Hollywood Dreams Film Festival – August 16-26, 2017

–  –  –

“FILM REFERENCES” In the film “Occupants”, Director Russ Emanuel placed references from his previous films including ‘Her Knight”, “Girl With Gun”, “P.J.”, “Chasing the Green”, “The Legends of Nethiah”, and “Restoration of Paradise”. The most obvious reference was Alan Peterson's (Robert Picardo’s) mention of how Annie Curtis made a documentary about the wetlands – a direct reference to “Restoration of Paradise” which was an actual documentary about the Bolsa Chica Wetlands (narrated by Picardo himself).

Not only that, the “Peterson” name tradition continues (having been in all the aforementioned films), this time with Dr. Alan Peterson and the Peterson Research Institute.

“FRANCHISE” We are looking at "Occupants" not just as a feature film but as a potential for franchising due to the nature of parallel realities we explore in the film itself. With that in mind, we created a website for the Peterson Research Institute (P.R.I.) to tie it into the film itself. The P.R.I. company has various "testimonial videos" of people who saw parallel universes. These cases range up to Case 831 which the feature film itself is about (http://www.pri-research.info).

We also created a comic book tie-in about one of these "testimonial videos" we filmed for the film - Case 285, which is based on a "Lee Mitchell" (played by actor Timothy Lee Conley in the film) and his story. It is now fully funded via Indiegogo as of March 9, 2016, and will become a 24-page comic book ONE SHOT in a few months (http://igg.me/at/occupantscomicbook/x/7977592).

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