September 13th, 2015
An Alum of both Hollywood’s ScreenwritingU, and Scott Myers’ Master classes, John is a writer and producer of edgy, character-driven stories, who works both independently and in the context of his role as Director of European Operations of the US Production Company ‘Have Not Films, Inc’.
His drama feature Mujo was one of six international projects recently chosen for the 2016 International Capalbio Future Storyteller Lab, with mentorship from Colin Trevorrow, director/writer of Jurassic World and of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, before being subsequently selected to represent the Lab at the MIA International Audiovisual Market of the 2016 Rome Film Fest.
John’s screenplays have also placed in prestigious competitions such as the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards and the Austin Film Festival, and his thriller ‘Chilling Truths’ won the Louis Mitchell Award for Excellence in Writing at the 2015 Action on Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Another of John’s interests, the exploration of innovative story formats and cross-media technologies, resulted in the development of the German/US transmedia mystery series ‘Lostfriesland’. Destined for the mobile generation, it explores interactive storytelling through the use of multiple media platforms, immersing the audience in the story. The unique concept aroused such interest in Germany that the German TV channel NDR filmed the ‘making of’ the proof of concept teaser.
As an independent Producer, John has participated in the development and production of a number of shorts, including the award-winning drama, ‘Fragile Storm’, starring Lance Henriksen, before venturing into the production of features. Among his current projects, he is producing Robert Cavanah’s feature ‘Invisible’ starring recent Scottish BAFTA winner, Kate Dickie, and co-producing the documentary ‘There’s a Hole in My Bucket’, with the participation of Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen.
December 20th, 2014
Angelia Baldwin – Producer
Michael M. Michalak – Co-Producer/Script Writer
We herewith present a project of incredible scope and potential. “Winnetou – The Beginning” is a feature film with a unique insight into the soul of mankind. At its heart are two men of different cultures, and yet, these two men struggle for identical goals in ways that are defined by their race and their society. Both must face the vagaries of life and their own limitations, as we all must do on our journey from the cradle to the grave.
As filmmakers, it is our task to translate this tale into a visual experience that inspires the audience as much as it has us.
Why are we so enthused about this project? Our excitement is driven by a powerful story penned more than a century ago, now finally presented via an irresistible visual medium just as the original author would have wished it.
Great films always echo familiar human themes but strive to present them in new, more appealing ways. Such films are built with familiar constructs and yet they tap into our deepest convictions with intense intimacy.
Because great films demand our attention and emotional investment, we, as viewers, expect that these films entertain us and give us a deeper message, a mystery, a solution and a new truth about ourselves. We all seek these human truths from all the films we view because they are the new medium that fuel our dreams and aid us in sharing our common dream.
But films do much more than this. They allow us to critically perceive our everyday lives. In times of political and social instability, when the world appears to be disjointed, visual art takes on a powerful role. It becomes an agent of democracy and it bridges the chasms that language so often creates for us. Its fierce insistence on a self-critical vision is essential to the future of all our nations.
As producers, we take our role as storytellers very seriously. “Winnetou – The Beginning” is a timeless tale, which we present in a manner not previously displayed to an audience. We believe we have, for the first time, done justice to the great German author, Karl May, who long ago stated that he identified himself with mankind who is suffering as he had suffered. He was of the firm opinion that: “Humanity has lost its soul; consequently its spirit commits fallacies that can not be corrected until the lost soul is found again.”
We search for this lost soul in this film. We portray this quest via universal archetypes and display their joys, their fears, their laughter and their pain, each antagonist in their own manner as dictated by their race, learning and culture.
From the beginning, the books, the script and this film have been a labor of love, a project dedicated to the original author and his iconic characters. No other film project has felt so essential, so necessary, for our time. Until now, the new generation has been denied a film that depicts these timeless characters that Karl May created in his search of mankind’s lost soul.
Young people need examples to follow. They need heroes and villains to prepare them for the realities of life. We provide such examples, and such heroes along with expansive vistas, fantastic scenery, touching tenderness, forcefulness, heart-rending music and great acting.
We hope you will join us and become a part of this monumental project.
Angelia Baldwin Michael M. Michalak
Producer Co-producer / Script Writer
July 17th, 2014
What was the weapon that Old Shatterhand used? That has been a question, which has long been on our mind. Karl May did not identify the year in which the story took place. The best guess we can make therefore depends on the story elements and the historical hints in “Winnetou II”.
Firstly, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862, which authorizes the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. The “Winnetou I” tale must therefore take place later than this year. The mention of the Ku Klux Klan in “Winnetou II” suggests that the story takes place after 1866. We also know that Maximillian I was in power and Benito Juarez was in exile. That indicates that the year for the second part of the Winnetou tale must be between 1864 and 1867.
Since Old Shatterhand returns to St. Louis and decides to go to Germany in “Winnetou II”, we must conclude that the year of the “Winnetou I” tale must be sometime after 1866 as this gives Old Shatterhand time to travel and the Ku Klux Klan to mobilize.
We also know that more than 200,000 units of the .44 Cal 1860 Black Powder Colt were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. We can therefore surmise that in all likelihood Old Shatterhand may have carried such a weapon.
We therefore test fired a replica of this hand gun, which we intend to use in our film “Winnetou – The Beginning” and you can see the result in the short video clip, provided for your enjoyment.
July 17th, 2014
And they say that the youth of today no longer read Karl May … well, here is a young girl who loves the Winnetou stories and works hard on translating our material into German. Julia Held, a thirteen year old German girl, who is learning English in school is actively working with her mother, Karin Held, to promote the “Winnetou – The Beginning” film project.
“We need more young people like her to reignite the interest in Karl May’s epic tales.” says Michael Michalak, the author of the film script. “And we thank her from the bottom of our heart for the work she does.”
July 2nd, 2014
No matter which of the above names are used, they all describe a Native American chieftain who has become a symbol of nobility. In fact, the German Supreme Court was of the following opinion;
Bei Winnetou handelt es sich nunmehr um einen Begriff, der sich einer ungemeinen Bekanntheit in Deutschland erfreut. Viele Leser aus allen Generationen verbinden mit dem Namen einen bestimmten Typus eines edlen Menschen, eines Indianerhäuptlings ohne Fehl und Tadel.
With regards to the name Winnetou, it is a concept that enjoys enormous fame in Germany. Many readers from all generations connect this name with a certain noble human being, an Indian chief beyond reproach.
But is Winnetou truly an Native American chieftain or a German archetype?
For that matter, is the land that Karl May describes really the North American continent or does it have another meaning? One must remember that Karl May wrote in his “Confession”;
A certain clique emerged from the Münchmeyer trial, which gave itself the task to deny any deeper meaning contained in my books so that they might accuse me of lies and swindle. Because of some lofty connections it was possible to deceive even those with moral sensibilities. And then there is the milieu that is covered by the content of my books. Whilst I lead my readers through the realm of the mankind’s soul, I give to its regions known geographical names. This makes comprehension much easier, however it provides the malicious cause to malign me. When I, for example, locate the realm of art to India for the sake of illustration, and the realm of religious intolerance to Belutschistan, without delay these unimaginative people deem that I truly visited India and Belutschistan. If not, than I am a literary liar and swindler. Accordingly Dante would have been the biggest swindler of all, since he claimed to not only have visited purgatory and hell, but also heaven!
So who is Winnetou and what realm is identified by America?
Please support the new Feature Film “Winnetou – The Beginning” that will do justice to Karl May’s work.
January 10th, 2014
Ann Doria expressed an interest in filling the role of script supervisor.
Ann is known for her ability to keep the production on track and her outstanding communication skills. She has worked on films such as Butcher Boys, The Dead Sea, Final Recourse, Yellow Rock and Junction.
October 22nd, 2013
A year ago today, Russell Means departed this world as the morning star appeared above the horizon. His passing was a great loss to us all. He shall forever be remembered as the man who believed in justice for not only his own people, but for all of mankind, no matter what color skin, religion or persuasion.
He shall not be forgotten and his spirit shall reside in the heart of every freedom loving being.
Visit the Russell Means Legacy Web Site
October 19th, 2013
More scenes from the Winnetou Scouting Expedition.
“This is a clip of the scouting trip for our new movie Winnetou – The Beginning to be filmed in South Dakota in 2014. A very special thank you goes out to all the artists at Eon Sounds Productions that have done such a magnificent job on the music for the film, my dear friends Karla LaRive and Susan Watt at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary and of course all the crew that has been working so hard to get this project off the ground. I can’t wait to share this special journey with the rest of the world.” – Angelia Baldwin – Executive Producer
Follow the adventure on our facebook page.