About the Film
NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THAT WAR FOLLOWS YOU BACK HOME.
Hunter Stevens never had it easy. Spending his early years in a troubled home, he was lucky to be adopted by the McConnell family in grade school. He and his adoptive brother, Chris, became closer than brothers and together led their high school football team to the California State Championship, losing when Hunter froze on the final play.
When Hunter enlists in the United States Marine Corps after graduation, Chris chooses to follow him, turning down a scholarship to play D1 football at San Diego State. In boot camp and then Afghanistan, Hunter struggles with trauma from his past. When they return home six months later, Hunter feels disappointment about the minimal action they saw overseas. His wife Ashley, his high school sweetheart, wants to start a family, but Hunter is hesitant, given his desire to serve 20 years in the Corps, and the recent loss of a fellow marine who was a new father.
Hunter and Chris realize their second deployment will be different when it begins with a firefight. When tragedy strikes shortly thereafter, Hunter returns home and begins to unravel.
The producers, Steven Paul Taylor and Rylan Rafferty, contacted me to direct “22” after doing research to find a female director. What they found was that I had recently completed a movie, entitled “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” which deals with military sexual assault, PTSD and veterans. Once we talked, we were all on the same page as the best way to bring such sensitive subjects – suicide and PTSD – to audiences in an engaging and informative way. My vision as the director is tell an inspirational story of how the men and women who serve in the military often have a difficult time assimilating back into society when they come home. Often times when they go overseas, they find they cannot leave the war behind. Loved ones try their best to understand what a veteran is going through, but they can’t. “22” will help loved ones, family, friends, employers, society, and government, learn the truth about what goes on during war time in the minds of soldiers and medics. Many times the pain they are dealing with goes beyond physical injuries. It’s the psychological pain that can be far greater and more damaging. The movie will feature well-known actors, and up and coming actors, many of them are military veterans. Just like films such as “Lone Survivor,” “Black Hawk Down,” “American Sniper,” and “Thank You For Your Service,” “22,” is also inspired by a true story. It will showcase time at war and home life for two brothers, Hunter Stevens and Chris McConnell, their parents, friends, other military soldiers, and loved ones.
We are doing this film because, as veterans, we feel the responsibility to tell a story about a world that most civilians don’t understand. That world is inhabited by veterans who have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of them watch their personal lives fall apart, families destroyed. Homeless on the streets, many are forgotten by the very government they swore to defend. Eventually, most of these veterans end up seeking the quick way out, suicide. Our responsibilities as film producers are to maintain a balance between remaining honest to the military community while at the same time, creating an entertaining and enlightening film about our brothers and sisters in uniform. Hollywood has created some memorable war films, but sometimes what is lost in the process of film making is integrity to military tradition, protocol, purpose, and honesty in terms of true events. Producers often sacrifice integrity for entertainment, and thus, while the movie is a hit with audiences, it is rejected by the military community. Our job is to tell this story right while keeping our audience engaged.
PRODUCER & WRITER
Rylan Rafferty is a filmmaker and storyteller, with a passion for socially conscious stories that empower and entertain. Rylan is an active member of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild IATSE Local 700. Union work credits include IFC, TBS, TruTV, Comedy Central, and a Netflix Original Film as well as a number of non-union shows for Adult Swim, Super Deluxe, Go90, and the History Channel.
Rylan graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a BFA in Film & Television. Rylan has produced a handful of independent short films as well as a 5-episode web series and has been nominated for an LA Area Emmy as a producer for local programming.
“Bradley Allen” Melson is a writer and actor from California. He grew up in the suburban town of Simi Valley. During his childhood, he began to fall into the wrong crowd and started down the path of a troubled youth. With help from his loved ones, he turned everything around and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2009 at the young age of 19. Upon graduation from boot camp, he attended School of Infantry and achieved the Military Occupational Specialty (M.O.S) 0352 Infantry Anti-Tank Missileman. He then received orders to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, California. He completed two combat tours to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and received multiple medals and decorations including the Combat Action Ribbon and Naval Unit Commendation.
During and after his time in the service, he lost a handful of good friends due to both combat and suicide. These personal experiences are what inspired him to write the screenplay, 22.
Once he left the military behind, he began work with Universal Studios Hollywood. This ignited his passion for performing and character acting. This has led him today, to a path in the entertainment industry, acting in shows for networks such as Investigation Discovery and NBC.
Jillian took off from filmmaking for a number of years in order to focus on writing her memoir, “HERE I STAND,” which was published in 2012. The story tells of Jillian’s upbringing with her African-American mother and her white stepfather, who was a member of the Philadelphia Italian Mafia. Jillian’s life story is in development as a feature film.
Jillian wrote and directed the documentary “A Filmmaker’s Personal Journey.” She went on to write, direct and produce the drama “Spirit.” Jillian recently completed “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” a feature film that focuses on veterans, PTSD and military sexual assault. She has won several awards for the movie and the film will be available on Amazon Video on Demand starting in July 2020. Jillian, along with award winning DP, Lamont Fountain, also co-wrote and directed “Fight of Your Life,” a PSA music video to bring more awareness to military sexual assault and PTSD.
In the summer of 2019, Jillian wrote, directed and produced the short film “Touch With Your Eyes.” The film is currently making the film festival rounds. She was recently hired by Orenda Entertainment in LA to direct a film entitled “22,” written by Steven Paul Taylor and Bradley Melson. Production begins early 2021. As the writer and director, Jillian is also in pre-production on the movie “A Cup Full of Crazy,” a psychological thriller. Production will begin in April 2021.
Over the years, Jillian has continued her education by taking Master courses in screenwriting, acting and directing. As a screenwriter, Jillian has sold two scripts in her career so far – “The Champion Inside” and “Scar Across My Heart.” Since 2007, Jillian has been a screenwriting judge for the Set In Philadelphia Screenwriting Contest, which is sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. She also teaches screenwriting classes in Philadelphia and works as a script consultant.
DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE &
Lee Roth began producing entertainment content in 1995 when he opened one of the very first web design studios. With an initial focus on computer game and television studios, Lee also offered photography services to his entertainment clients. Early in 1997 he won the WebDweeb web design contest for HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, launching his career in Hollywood. As an online producer, Lee participated in several combined broadcast/internet firsts including VIBe (The CW Network – 1997), the first late night talk show to go live online, and Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival Part IV from Aruba (HBO – 1998). In 2001, Lee’s cameras took him on-set to shoot production stills for independent film and television, as well as to the press line at Hollywood’s most prestigious events including the Academy Awards® and Primetime Emmy Awards. As of 2015, Lee has worked directly with European film financiers advising them on feature film and television project submissions. Since that time, Lee has read hundreds of scripts and currently works with Moving Pictures Media Group as a Development Executive.
Ray Ellingsen began his film career in 1987 as a writer. He has since gone on to pursue numerous aspects of filmmaking, from directing and producing, to supervising post production of feature films, documentaries, and commercials. In 1999, Ellingsen helped form the motion picture entertainment company, Ugly Old Bird Productions, which produced multiple film and video projects during its five years of doing business.
Ellingsen moved to Arizona in 2005 to manage the largest motion picture film studio in the state of Arizona, Hollywood-Phoenix Film Studios. Within a year, Ellingsen brought in three feature films, numerous commercials, as well as a television series for the studio to produce. Ellingsen left the studio and moved back to Los Angeles to further his filmmaking career.
To date, Ellingsen has written and directed two documentaries and a feature film, along with a multitude of commercial, instructional and industrial projects. He has also produced nine feature films and over 30 video and commercial projects, with two feature films currently in development.
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
ROTH STOCK PICTURES
In the film and television business, think of Roth Stock Pictures as the bridge between creative and business. We are story driven first and foremost. That is always our main priority. However, once a good story has been identified, our instincts quickly turn mercenary in order to get your project financed and into theaters, on broadcast and cable, streaming, in hotel and airline systems, and anywhere else we can get your content in front of an audience!
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IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Moving Pictures Media Group
Moving Pictures Media Group, also known as MPMG, is a production company founded for motion picture, television, and internet content. MPMG provides a full suite of services to assist independent filmmakers, production companies and investors in the development, production, post-production, distribution, and marketing of their projects. Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer, Michael Minkler is a three-time Academy Award winner for his outstanding work on Black Hawk Down, Chicago, and Dreamgirls. A seasoned professional who has collaborated on over 200 projects with Hollywood’s elite directors, his most recent works include the Academy Award winning film, The Hateful Eight, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Chief Legal and Operations Officer, Ron Takehara, has a wide range of legal experience in the entertainment industry, from high profile cases involving motion picture and television industry litigation, to representing entertainment production companies, television networks, actors, stunt men and women, and screenwriters.