Director/writer/actor Shane Ryan is the kind of guy you ladies can bring home to mom. He's funny, smart and good looking. Of course, the fact that he makes movies is like the icing on a really cool cake. Lately, though, Ryan's life has taken a turn for the weird.
“First,” Ryan explains, “I make Warning!!! Pedophile Released with the impression it’s already got a set distribution deal (which it did with Cinema Epoch of course), but I was also under the impression that it would have no problem getting into Netflix (as all three of my APSK [Amateur Porn Star Killer films were rejected due to sexual content) as long as I kept the content to an R rating. We were also trying to get it into Blockbuster (which also rejected the APSK’s for the same reason) and were under the impression that the film would be perfectly fine for Blockbuster as long as I watched the content.”
Having Ryan or any director to monitor content is like asking the Colombians to monitor the cocaine traffic coming into the USA. It's not a director's job to monitor content. It's a director's job to tell a story and forget about things like the possibility of pissing off someone's grandmother. Regardless, Ryan is a guy who likes to please, so he gave it the ol' college try.
“In the end I have a film that has some nudity,” Ryan says, “but is used sparingly. The opening rape scene does not contain one second of nudity. We merely see the raped girl’s butt after the rapists have left (a butt can even be shown on regular TV). Later she’s in a sex scene (if you want to call it that) we’re she’s trying to survive by prostitution. The nudity is very brief and nobody is even in the nude scenes with her, she’s merely mimicking the sexual movement.”
Knowing what I know of Blockbuster, I can see this being a problem. If this were a Spielberg film, it would be hailed as great “art.” It's not a major studio release, however. It's an independent film. There are different rules for those who don't play the studio game. Ryan continues ...
“[The] two last times we see this poor homeless girl washing herself off -- a natural thing everybody must do shown in a very realistic fashion in a completely non-sexual, non-glamorous way as it’s a goddamn homeless girl just trying to keep clean. And, of course, we have a scene with Joanna Angel (completely non-sexual) were she has a breakdown and happens to be naked (just like the scene in the movie Thirteen where Holly Hunter has a breakdown while naked – no biggie).”
Ryan's right. No biggie. Nudity, the last time I checked, does not cause eye cancer. It does no harm. Hey, most babies are even born naked.
“This was supposed to be a quick one-week project that I ended up grueling on for 10 months and lost all kinds of sleep, sanity, money (and almost a relationship) over,” Ryan says. As if that weren't bad enough, the Netflix and Blockbuster problems began in earnest.
“Netflix and Blockbuster take a look at the film (supposedly) and reject it for sexual content just like that even though I thought we had no chance of a problem. We beg them (especially Netflix) to look again. They do, and reject it again for content. One reason I made this film (instead of finishing APSK3D) was so I could finally get something into Blockbuster and Netflix. Now, here’s the most fucked up, ridiculous, hypocritical piece of shit part. Netflix carries a film called The Hanger. This film has a scene where they show a woman’s vagina and asshole up close in your face (already way more explicit than my film). Then, a hanger is shoved through her vagina and what I think was a baby (I only saw this one scene and couldn’t hardly watch) is ripped out of her vagina in a shit storm of blood. Ok. WHAT THE FUCKING HELL, BITCHES?! (This was an exploitation movie not some Schindler’s List meaningful message film.) How can you ever explain why that is okay and a story about a poor homeless girl is not? Hmm. Now, if it’s the young age of the character, well, the actress was 22 playing a 15 year old. But all kinds of films are like that. But how 'bout this. Fat Girl, had a 12 year old character (played by an actress only 13 years old at the time) who is raped in the movie and we see her bare breasts! A child. That’s child porn! And Netflix used to carry this film and Blockbuster still does! Actually, between Netflix and Blockbuster, they carry Brown Bunny (a long real life blow job), Irreversible (a 10 minute anal rape scene, real blow jobs, bizarre graphic violence, etc), Baise-fucking-Moi (should I go into that, real hardcore sex over and over and over, a girl forcing herself to vomit while giving head, a gun shoved up a guy’s asshole to have his shit blown out his face, etc.,), Shortbus (all kinds of real fucking) and A Real Young Girl. (A 14 year old character who shows her vagina up close spread open while a guy puts worms and shit on her vagina. Are you fucking kidding? That’s okay, but a 15 year old character taking a shower isn’t?). So, I’ve never been so goddamn frustrated or confused or angry or downright sick of this world and flabbergasted on what the fuck makes something morally or artistically correct.”
I rented Philosophy of a Knife from Netflix, and that film is for more outrageous than anything Ryan has created. It's also a boring piece of cinematic bile, but that's neither here nor there. Ryan has obviously caused a problem, but not really with content.
“Now, I hear that it’s my title that was the problem, that my film might not have even been viewed. But Netflix has a goddamn movie called Young People Fucking. YOUNG PEOPLE FUCKING!” You have got to be kidding me with the worst joke I’ve ever heard. They also have movies called Porn-O-Rama, Confession of a Porn Addict, Pornography, Sex Drive, Sex Pot, Sex Machine, Sex Sells, Live Nude Girls, Nude for Satan, The Story of Prostitutes, and the list just never ends of what could easily be deemed sexually offensive titles.”
Honestly, I cannot imagine what his tirade is going to do to search engines, but I imagine after this gets posted I'm going to have a lot more traffic to this blog. In all seriousness, though, this is an issue. A movie title should not get a movie ousted from Netflix.
“I hear,” Ryan says, “it’s because of the word ‘pedophile,' but they have Deliver us from Evil, which is all about pedophile Priests. They have The Woodsman, which is all about sympathizing with a pedophile. Little Children, which shows a pedophile trying to be good but the neighborhood doesn’t want him back. Smile Pretty, which is about a girl raised by a pedophile; Hard Candy, which is all about a 14 year old girl and a pedophile who wants her, [and so on]. So, why can’t we have a movie about a girl who’s boyfriend is accused of being a pedophile? Seriously, what goddamn reason is there for rejecting my films but not the hundreds of others I’ve been listing? Seriously, what the goddamn fucking shit? This is my fourth time in two years to go through this shit (four out of four), and I want a goddamn motherfucking reason before I start blowing motherfucking heads of in search for a goddamn answer.”
Ryan sarcastically answers his own question. “No, wait, I supposedly got it. It’s because the word ‘pedophile’ can’t be in the title. Okay, so that makes perfect sense. You can put 'porn,' 'smut,' 'naked,' 'sex,' 'nude,' 'fuck,' 'shit,' and 'rape' in the title and that’s okay. You can make a movie about sex offenders, naughty priests, pornographers, rapists; you can make a movie that sympathizes with pedophiles, hell you can even be a goddamn pedophile (i.e. Roman Polanski, Victor Salva) and it’s just fine (you’ll even win an Oscar), but if you put the word 'pedophile' on paper, on the poster, oh now, wait a goddamn minute. Now that’s, holy fucking shit, now that’s a problem.”
His problems with the film did not end there.
“...after ...Pedophile came out DVD Empire (which also runs a goddamn porn site, AdultDVDEmpire) not only rejected ... Pedophile, but they stopped carrying the APSK’s because of that, even though they had been carrying them for two fucking years! So, that’s that.”
That's that for that film, but Ryan is also working on Abducted Girl – An American Sex Slave. I think it's a safe bet to say that raised some eyebrows.
“A few years ago I heard about human trafficking,” Ryan explains, “and was genuinely creeped out and totally surprised. I didn’t realize stuff like that was happening in America all around us. I knew about rape, of course, and plenty of other things but not about this. Then, a year ago, I see an independent film called Holly, which was about sex trafficking overseas, but it was such a better and very touching film that it made me go, 'Wow, I have to do a film about this now.' I knew I wanted it to be in the US, and I knew I wanted it to be called An American Sex Slave. So, in March of 2009 I announced it (might I add to no success as only one little site posted it and the site doesn’t even exist any more). I get busy on ... Pedophile Released a few weeks later. I finish the film in October and find out the distributor wants me to make a film called Abducted Girl. I go, 'Hmm, okay. That sounds cheesy, I know there’s already a really cheesy sexploitation movie out right now called Abduction, and I just pray they don’t want me to make a film like that.”
Ryan then makes a fatal mistake.
“I call [the distributor] up and say, 'Iif I can make this a very serious movie about a serious issue, like say that Jaycee Dugard case I’ve been hearing about the past few weeks, then, yeah, okay, I’ll definitely do it.' They said that’s exactly “the kind of thing” they were talking about so I said, 'Then I’m going to call it ‘\Abducted Girl - An American Sex Slave. We’re hearing about all of these girls being abducted and sold into sex slavery in America so why don’t I just tell the title how it is?”
“I’m trying to build up some indie press for it in hopes to get a few known actors I have connections to interested. When building the press I say it’s very loosely based on something like the Jaycee Dugard case, so people know to take it seriously, but that’s it – it’s just an inspiration, I already announced months before her discovery, before I ever heard of her, that I was doing a sex trafficking movie. We were changing all of the names, making up plenty of things (as I actually didn’t know a whole lot about it), basically I was just looking for some sort of serious true-to-life idea to build my ideas around so it would have a real feel and a real impact. Sort of like my Romance Road Killers film I tried to make a while back. We based it all around Charles Starkweather and Carol Ann Fugate but we changed the names, the ethnicity of the girl, the time period, everything that happens involving the killing, etc. It was more my life by far than Charles Starkweather, but the idea of this young couple who end up killing people and having multiple sides to their story is the only thing we really kept. It’s like two people might live in the same apartment building but what’s inside the two apartments might be as different as Heaven and Hell.”
The sharks, by this point have started to circle.
“Anyways, somehow this bitch reporter from Sacramento hears about it and wants to do a story for CBS. She sounds really nice and supportive until she hits record on the mic and starts taping the interview then turns into this defensive feminist bitch sounding whatever. I told her I wanted the film to focus on the Stockholm Syndrome, the relationship between the victim and the predator that would obviously be very strong if it’s an 18 year captivity. But that it was not the story of Jaycee. she made it sound like I was doing it directly about her. She then says, “Why do you have quotes on your web site like ‘a disturbing movie’ and ‘pure exploitation’?' (This would be for the APSK’s). I told her you’re quoting two out of about 300 quotes on my site, many say stuff like great cinematography, powerful, haunting, etc., and that many of the disturbing quotes were for movies that were meant to disturb and make you question stuff like violence in cinema, etc.,. She, of course, completely ignores that and on the news just focuses on me having these sleazy horrific quotes. I then tell her that I wanted to portray the captor as the human being he is and not a monster because that makes it all the more frightening. If we see that he is just a person we can identify more with it and see how real this all is. So, she of course turns that around and asks if I’m sympathizing with the guy and feel sorry for him blah, blah, blah -- twists that all up. Then she says on the news, 'Oh no, this guy makes stuff like Amateur Porn Star Killer and Warning!!! Pedophile..., but doesn’t mention just one of my 40 or so films that have titles like Isolation,,Numb, Yesterday, Love Last Captured, The Cleansing etc.,.”
Ryan has now received in his honorary doctorate in Media Exploitation. He's about to get another in How The Media Almost Ruins Careers.
“That airs, twisted up as hell to begin with. Then a major radio show interviews me and I told the producer up front that the story was mixed up, this isn’t about Jaycee, I’m bad with interviews, I’m really shy, I won’t do good at this etc., and he says he’ll tell the host (the biggest asshole in the world who apparently my dad listens to every morning, but I don’t know these things). So, the guy rips me apart and after I explain what I’m trying to do he ends it with something like, 'All right talk to you later you sick pedophile, child raping, homo, punk, pathetic scumbag loser.' (It was way worse than that -- I can’t remember what it was).”
Here is a lesson in irony. These media reporters and pundits are “outraged” by Ryan's supposed exploitation of the Dugard case, but they are exploiting him for their own ratings. Fucking hypocrites.
“After this CNN, Fox, and Joy Behar from The View talk show wanted to interview me. (I should have just taken this and acted like a jackass and got the exposure but I unfortunately thought the world was a better place and people, like this show, actually had some good in them – I had never seen it so obviously not). Anyways, I tell the producer for The View my story, the real story, and she takes a long time to listen to it and hear me out and feels really bad about what happened. But, she admits, after hearing the truth, that the other producers and the show will honestly probably not go for it because with a story like that they can’t bash you like they wanted to. Yeah. So. Yeah. I’m the bad guy in this scenario but they’re the ones who won’t report the truth because the truth will prove I’m not the bad guy. I guess that makes sense. CNN and Fox hadn’t asked me to run the story they said they were running it that night and wanted me on it. I sent them my official statement and after I sent it they never got back to me and the story never ran that night. Or ever.”
That seems okay, right? I mean, if CNN and Fox don't touch it, nobody else will, right? No. Wrong. Very, very wrong.
“There was that one CBS story already out. Now, this is where it got interesting. The Associated Press got a hold of it within hours. They immediately made me out to be “low budget horror filmmaker.” They couldn’t use the word “independent” or “indie,” they had to say “low-budget”. Right off the bat that sounds worse and degrading towards the filmmaker. They also make me out to be a horror filmmaker when I tell them '... Pedophile' isn't horror at all -- watch the trailer. Take two minutes to make your story accurate. Most of my films are not horror and the ones that appear that way (like the APSK’s) aren’t even really horror (aside from true horror). They’re experimental films, dramas, crime movies, examinations of the human mind and behaviour, etc.,. Of, course, for the hundredth time now, nobody acknowledges that and continues bashing me. And they also say it’s about Jaycee, which, again, again, fucking again I say, it’s not.”
Ryan continues with his story. “Now this is were it gets funny. Now it’s not just nationwide, it’s worldwide. The story, inaccurate to begin with, goes from horror filmmaker makes Jaycee movie, to Jaycee movie gets grindhouse treatment, to sleazy Jaycee film being made, to Adult filmmaker makes Jaycee film, to porn producer makes Jaycee film, to porn actor makes Jaycee film and finally to porno guy making Jaycee Dugard porn film. All in a day’s work. Wow. I wonder what the fuck is really happening in Iraq after that fucked up disastrous game of telephone. Bin Laden is probably gay fucking all the army troops and starting rainbow parades and pledging world peace. Who the fuck knows after what I’ve seen the media fuck up, and intentionally fuck up for the most part.”
Probably not the best way to say it, but you can understand Ryan's frustration. Hell, I'd be frustrated. I've interviewed Ryan before for Film Threat. He's a great guy. Super nice, but he doesn't censor himself ... ever really. He says what is on his mind, and I would think it would be easy for a sleazy reporter to get some juicy quotes out of him.
“As soon as I finish the trailer I send out press releases to the Associated Press. No response. I try three more times. No response. Finally, I take two fucking days contacting every single site that put up this story. The only change I see is the San Francisco Chronicle updates their same story, still managing to tweak my press release, and they put it on an already published page from months ago where nobody will ever see it. Yeah. Thanks guys.”
Ryan calms down a bit now, but he does express a belief that the whole Blockbuster/Netflix incident may be tied into this media circus.
“I also think the damage to '...Pedophile Released (about getting rejected from Netflix and Blockbuster and getting a new rejection from DVD Empire, etc.,) was because of this Jaycee thing and the fucking media. Because ... Pedophile came out three weeks after this and it was right after this happened we started getting all the bad news about places not going to carry ... Pedophile who we thought were.”
After all of this, Ryan says he's pretty much had it with the art/media world, and that's a shame. Ryan is an artist first and foremost. Some of the films he makes aren't safe, and they shouldn't be. He has a talent, and he needs to nurture it. Unfortunately, things like these incidents tend to wear a person down. Let that be a lesson to you filmmakers out there. The media is not always your friend, and that adage about any publicity being good publicity is not exactly accurate. Ryan is proof of that. Boy, is he ever.
(As an aside, Ryan provided me with links to much of the story. “Here’s the amusing links of how the story changed:
Original story, you can watch the news that aired online on the right side
and finally I should rot in hell
Two weeks later Lindsay Lohan (who around the same time released her sleazy sex and drugs party pictures) can announce she wants to make a Jaycee movie because she thinks she looks like Jaycee
And these two girls completely mock Jaycee, but it goes unnoticed.
Funny enough the least fucked up story about me appeared in the tabloids, on the front cover of The Globe. http://www.globemagazine.com
And here’s the statement I sent the news when trying to get them to stop spreading the Jaycee Porn rumor, and also what I sent to The View producer (no response after this), CNN and Fox (who didn’t respond after this even though they told me they were doing the story):
I am not making Jaycee Dugard's film/story. I was in pre-production of a human trafficking movie when she was discovered. It spawned new ideas, so, yes, I changed around my original story because I became more interested in exploring the idea of a girl and her captor and nearly two decades of being in captivity and I also liked the idea of it having a happy ending because my films never do. I am not a porn producer, porn actor, porn director, etc. like stated by many news programs. I've used exploitation titles to draw my audience in in order to sell enough copies so I can make more films. Most of my films (about 3/4) do not have exploitation titles but those are never mentioned in the news which proves my point even further that the other titles sell, so what I discovered was that I could have hidden messages in films like Amateur Porn Star Killer, Warning!!! Pedophile Released etc.
I haven't made a dime off of my films for myself and wasn't planning on making money off of Abducted Girl like stated in almost every news release. I'm just a shy, humble, loner who has been struggling to make films since I was 5 years old. Sex scares me in many ways for how evil such a beautiful thing is (it creates life! It should only be good), so I tackle these issues in my films like Abducted Girl. I never thought anybody would hear about this film and am greatly sorry for what Jaycee went through. I only have one sibling, a brother, who was put in a foster home at age one and stayed there until he was 18, so, I do have understanding of what it's like to miss out on childhood, life. I was also put in foster homes, abused greatly in school by other kids with injuries still to this day, ditched months of school out of fear to end up with a 0.8 grade average, had hearing-impaired babysitters and a visually-impaired mother, watched my family nearly get killed and their blood splattered on me and unconscious bodies thrown everywhere due to terrible car accident, etc. I know pain, and I make films about it. The last thing I would want is for Jaycee to think a porn film is being made about her. When describing my film to the few people I thought would hear about it I told them it would be like Jaycee's events so they would know to take it seriously but I didn't think it would be taking literally all across the world. I also felt some connection to her being the same age and having gone through things like being taken away (and at my age it sure felt like being kidnapped). To top it off, my working partner, also my girlfriend, was going to write the film so it would have a woman’s perspective. She was beaten as a child, impregnated at 17 by someone much older, homeless while pregnant and almost killed by beatings while pregnant. Together we made the film, Warning!!! Pedophile Released, which you can see from the trailer
is a very serious film. We were hoping to do the same kind of serious film with Abducted Girl coming from two abused lives.”)