Local film ‘Who Is Amos Otis?’ available on demand in January

The political thriller/courtroom drama, “Who is Amos Otis?,” written and directed by Cincinnatian Greg Newberry, will be available on pay-per-view platforms the week of Jan. 6. It is being distributed Gravitas Ventures. The film debuted at Memorial Hall in Cincinnati in 2020.

In 2019, Newberry produced and directed the stage play version of “Who is Amos Otis?” After only three performances, it was voted “Best Local Theater Production of the Year” by readers of Movers & Makers, and considered for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 2020. He adapted the play to a screenplay in 2020 and filmed it, creatively, during the pandemic.

The plot

After assassinating the U.S. President, Amos Otis pleads self-defense and must convince the jury that America was not only under attack by its unhinged ruler – but that his actions saved the country and the world. The assassin’s provocative testimony and ingenious defense turns the proceedings upside down and puts our country on trial. He confronts our political climate head-on while daring the jury to side with a murderer on a suicide mission to save them. No one can tell if he’s a mad man, con man or savior of the world. Not even his attorney. This searing, mind-bending political thriller is in the spirit of “The Twilight Zone” and based on a Pulitzer Prize-nominated play. As one reviewer noted, “If you are wondering how fiction could read like our current reality, this is the story for you.”

The inspiration

Newberry stated, “My inspiration came from the daily barrage of headlines and tweets that fueled the dangerously expanding divide among Americans. We are a nation hurtling toward civil war – divided by race, class, culture and religion not seen since the days of Gettysburg. I wanted to create a story that illustrated the devastation we could cause to our future if we failed to act. The stakes for our country were too high to do nothing.”

Writer/Director Greg Newberry

Newberry’s professional career began in advertising before he transitioned to the creative side of the business as a copywriter, creative director and eventually, a producer and commercial director.  

He ventured into filmmaking writing screenplays, and optioned four scripts to Hollywood producers. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Greg wrote, produced and directed two award-winning short films: “Beemer Baby” and “Homefree,” the latter of which garnered the Best Actor award at the Dublin Film Festival in Ireland. The Samuel Goldwyn Company optioned the feature-length version of “Beemer Baby’s” screenplay. His screenplay, “A Simple Man,” was the last script Jack Lemmon was attached to star in before his death. 

In addition to screenwriting and filmmaking, Newberry is a playwright and award-winning commercial director who has written, produced and directed more than 80 commercials. He produced and directed his stage play, “Riding Shotgun,” at Northern Kentucky University in 2010.  

Composer Sean Schafer Hennessy

Hollywood-based composer and trumpeter Sean Schafer Hennessy has scored over 30 films with orchestrations that are rich, powerful and dramatic. A protégé of Wynton Marsalis, Sean started his trumpet studies at the age of 10. He won his first major competition two years later and at 13, performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.  

Cast:

  • Josh Katawick: Amos Otis
  • Rico Reid: Jason Johnson
  • Michael G. Bath: Art Bradley
  • A.J. Ford: Agent Tucker
  • Christine Brunner: Charlotte Walker
  • Derek Snow: Judge
  • Christine Jones: Harriot Lions
  • Mike Dennis: Stan Rosenberg
  • Donald Volpenhein: Frank Jenkins
  • Peggy Allen: Amelia Woodburn
  • Denise Dal Vera: Amanda Beal
  • Carol Brammer: Jennifer Ingrahm

www.imdb.com/title/tt14946780

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