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Entries in Film (6)

Friday
Sep142012

Anti-Islam Film Producer Wrote Script in Prison: Authorities

JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The controversial Innocence of Muslims was written, produced and directed by a convicted drug manufacturer and scam artist, who has told authorities he actually wrote the script in federal prison and began production two months after his June 2011 release from custody.

Authorities say Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, of Cerritos, Calif., admitted his role in the film, after seeking help from law enforcement in dealing with death threats he has received since the release of the film. Excerpts from the film led to outrage and violence in the Arab world.

Authorities told ABC News that Nakoula told them he and his son, Abanob Basseley, 21, were responsible for producing the movie which, he reportedly said, cost between $50,000 and $60,000 and was shot in a little over 12 days.

Authorities say he claimed the money for the movie came from his wife's family in Egypt.

Using the false name Sam Basile, Nakoula had told reporters earlier this week that he was an "Israeli Jew," that the film had cost about $5,000,000, and that the money had come from wealthy Jewish friends.

Now he is "scared to death," authorities told ABC News, and fearful that harm could come to his wife and other family members. But most of the threats have been directed at him, authorities said.

According to California law enforcement officials the other members of the team that produced the movie are also fearful that harm could come to them. Authorities were seeking to talk to each of them.

Records obtained by ABC News show Nakoula was convicted of intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the 1990s, and also served time in federal prison on bank fraud charges, where he told authorities he wrote the script.

Sentenced to 21 months in prison and five years on probation, Nakoula was moved from the federal correctional complex in Lompoc, Calif. to a halfway house in 2010, according to the website The Smoking Gun. He was released from federal custody in June 2011 and production on the film began just two months later at a soundstage in Southern California.

Actors in the film say that they were told the film was called "Desert Warrior," and say that the script contained no references to Mohammed. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia told ABC News, "I never heard Mohammed, I never said Mohammed." Specific references to Mohammed and Islam were apparently added via overdubbing.

"I just want the world to know that I did not know," said Garcia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep132012

Police Sent to California Home of "Innocence of Muslims" Producer

Thinkstock/Getty Images(CERRITOS, Calif.) -- As outrage over the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims spreads across the Middle East, police were sent to the California home of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the film's producer, who according to authorities is frightened for his life.

Sheriff's Deputies were sent to the Cerritos, Calif., home of Nakoula, 55, on Thursday to protect him and his family, a senior law enforcement official told ABC News.  According to a sheriff, the police were at Nakoula's home overnight Thursday but have now left, as media reports identifying him as the man behind Innocence of Muslims, and listing his address, have circulated.

According to California law enforcement officials, Nakoula, who is also known to authorities as Bacily Nakoula, was frightened for his life and "scared of retaliation" against his family.

Sheriffs from the Cerritos police station were sent to his home to keep Nakoula safe and to provide a uniformed presence to assist the members from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, official reports said.

A senior official said that they also had sent local law enforcement officers to the production company Media for Christ on Hamilton Avenue in Duartes, Calif., to keep watch on the facility, which authorities said was affiliated with making the film that has been a trigger for anti-U.S. violence and protest in several countries.

On Thursday, protesters rushed the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, while further demonstrations broke out outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Two days earlier, protesters in Cairo scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag in an angry demonstration against the film that depicts the founder of Islam as a fraud and a womanizer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep132012

Who Is Sam Bacile? Anti-Islam Filmmaker's Bio Doesn't Add Up

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The filmmaker who produced an incendiary, anti-Muslim movie that stirred extremists on Tuesday to storm the U.S. embassy in Egypt -- and may be linked to the fatal attack on the U.S. ambassador in Libya -- may have gone into hiding, as doubts rose as to his true identity.

Following Tuesday's riots, a California man calling himself Sam Bacile took credit for making the film Innocence of the Muslims and identified himself as an Israeli Jew in two news interviews.

But a search of public records and inconsistencies in Bacile's own accounts, as well as information from a radical Christian who helped produced the movie all suggest that "Sam Bacile" is a pseudonym and is not Israeli but an Arab Christian.

"I've met him twice.  He is not a citizen of Israel.  He is in hiding," Steve Klein, a member of a far-right anti-Islamic Christian group who says he helped with the film's production, told ABC News.

Klein said Bacile was not Israeli or Jewish, and suggested he was an Arab Christian who was a U.S. citizen.

Three U.S. Christian groups, including two identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Council, and a third that advocates for Egyptian Christians, or Copts, have been linked to the production or eventual distribution of the movie.

The controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who in 2010 sparked riots in Afghanistan after burning copies of the Koran, told ABC News that he had been contacted to help distribute the film.

Klein, a member of the Church of Kaweah, listed as an anti-Muslim hate group, said Bacile and the film's other backers were "refugees from the Middle East."

"The folks that I'm working with have come from a culture where they've been tracked down, driven from their homes.  Close family members have been kidnapped, raped and murdered," said Klein of the filmmaker.

Christians in much of the Middle East are persecuted and their plight has been made a cause for many American fundamentalist Christians.

Clips of the low-budget movie, which portrays the prophet Mohammed as a fraud, pedophile and homosexual, appeared on the YouTube page of a person identified as "Sam Bacile," who also left a later YouTube comment in colloquial Egyptian Arabic.

Searches of federal and state public records including civil and criminal court documents and real estate filings revealed no mention of anyone with Bacile's name. 

There is no record of a Sam Bacile, or a similarly named person, having received a real estate license in California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Philly Teen Killed at Site of Colin Farrell Film Shoot

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- A Philadelphia teenager was shot dead steps away from where scenes of Dead Man Down, a mob thriller starring Colin Farrell, was to be filmed Tuesday morning.

Philadelphia police say 18-year-old Robert Sneed stepped outside a corner grocery store around 4 p.m. Monday and was shot multiple times in the torso.  He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The shooting was the result of an argument, police said.

Cops tell the Philadelphia Daily News that a witness saw the shooter run into a nearby house with two other men.  That witness alerted police to the address, and cops took all three men into custody and found a handgun hidden in a closet inside the row house, Chief Inspector Scott Small told the paper.

The investigation is ongoing and so far no charges have been filed.

Nearby crew members who were setting up when the gunfire erupted described the scene as “crazy” and “surreal.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec032010

FBI Warns That Sex Offenders Might Use Barbies to Lure Kids

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The FBI is warning against the potential misuse of a Barbie doll with video recording capabilities, cautioning that the popular toy could make it easier for sex offenders to surreptitiously film child pornography.

In a memo from the FBI that was mistakenly released to the press and obtained by ABC News, the FBI warned that the Barbie known as "Video Girl" could be a "pornography production method."  The doll is equipped with the ability to capture thirty minutes of footage through a concealed camera in the necklace worn by Barbie.

FBI Special Agent Steve Dupre from the Sacramento Field Office, where the memo -- dubbed a "Cyber Crime Alert" -- originated, declined to comment.

Mattel, the manufacturer of the doll, said in a written statement that the FBI has not said that there have been any incidents of this doll "being used as anything other than intended."

But law enforcement sources close to the investigation into the doll tell ABC News that Barbie dolls have been known to be used by sexual predators looking for ways to attract their young victims.  The combination of the concealed camera and the popular toy concerned officials, according to the source, who said law enforcement agencies nationwide were immediately made aware of the product.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov222010

John F. Kennedy Assassination Still Intrigues, 47 Years Later

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Forty-seven years have passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but the man who served less than a full term in office still casts a long shadow over the American politics and culture even as his relatives have slowly retreated from it.

A new movie, as well as a documentary featuring Secret Service agents on duty in Dallas when JFK was shot, ensure that the Kennedy assassination will not fade from our minds any time soon.

In January, when JFK's nephew Patrick leaves Congress, it will be the first time since 1944 that no member of the Kennedy clan is on Capitol Hill.

The retiring Rep. Kennedy was not even born when his uncle was killed, but the events of that day in Dallas still capture the interest of Americans.

The documentary about the Secret Service is set to air Monday night on Discovery.

Two agents appear in it. They have kept silent about the events of Nov. 22, 1963, up to now. But a new book by agent Gerald Blaine, The Kennedy Detail, has brought a new perspective to the story.

A new feature film is in the works to examine the Kennedy assassination. This one, adding to the canon of films that explore conspiracy theories, most notably by Oliver Stone and Clint Eastwood, will feature Leonardo DiCaprio and is based on a book by Lamar Waldron that used information from the National Archives to suggest that a mob boss ordered Kennedy's assassination.

That book was also the basis for a Discovery Channel documentary that aired one year ago, the 46th anniversary of the assassination. Last year's documentary was called Did the Mob Kill JFK?

The agents in this year's movie reject such theories as a "cottage industry" of conspiracy.

But the doubts persist. Why are Americans still so interested in a killing that occurred nearly half a century ago and has been studied more than any other?

"There are so many angles on President Kennedy's death, including the public killing of the murderer," said David Rehr, a former President of the National Association of Broadcasters who now teaches at George Washington University.

"A picture-perfect Presidency with so much hope is ended by a bullet -- the story line gets more complicated as time passes and others suggest various motives," said Rehr.

The Secret Service has grown exponentially since then, from 400 agents to ten times that with a budget of about $1.4 billion annually.

And while Kennedy, on that fateful day, was able to insist that he ride in an open convertible to wave and be seen by the people, presidential security is now as tight as the Secret Service can make it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio