L-R Alfred Molina, Holly Hunter, Tony Shaloub Cristin Miloti and Tony Shaloub Omar Merwally and Cristin Miloti.
Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the passion for the arts is just an ego trip and a passing fancy.  Au contraire. Case in point. A group of local professional and dedicated actors, writers, producers and a director, along with a savvy group of technical film professionals gave birth just a few months ago to the thriller film “Do It or Die”, written by Shane Avila, directed by Jorn Winther, and starring Denise DuBarry.  They also had the intestinal fortitude to submit their collaborated effort to the prestigious Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) and the good fortune to have it accepted by the festival.

The making of any motion picture is definitely a collaborative effort.  In order to set the project in motion it takes a producer that not only believes in the project but has the talent and schmoozing gifts to coordinate all the disparate required elements of moviemaking and then try to do it, no less, on a shoe-string budget.

“Do It Or Die: producer Denise DuBarry, a Hollywood star, and local Valley resident had the passion, skill, and acting talent to gather up the many loose production threads involved in a film project that long time Hollywood television director and friend Jorn Winther had long been harboring.  Winther made a promise to real-life lead FBI agent and friend Herb Clough over thirty years ago that he would make a feature film based on the true 1979 kidnapping of Palm Springs socialite and philanthropist Elaine Chaddick by a gun toting young couple demanding $ One million dollars in ransom for her freedom.

The film is a cat and mouse thriller where the players include the FBI, the local police officials, the abductors and the Chaddick family and friends.  The breathtaking local scenery in the desert surrounding Palm Springs, is vividly captured by cinematographer Bruce Feagle.

Winther asked DuBarry for help.  Would she play as the lead character as well as produce the film? She agreed and the project was a go.

DuBarry, CEO of her own production company Blue Moxie Entertainment, swung into action bringing along a cast and crew of almost 50 individuals mostly from the Coachella Valley, but also from her acting associates in Los Angeles and Hollywood.  The local Palm Springs chapter of Women in Film and Television also proved to be a natural fit to tap for talent and assistance. DuBarry, is a co-founder and past president of the organization.

With 50 cast members it’s not possible to list everyone, however, principal characters deserve to be listed and include: Denise DuBarry , who stars in a nice turn as kidnap victim Elaine Chaddick,  John Callahan as husband Harry Chaddick, Andrew McGuiness, as Bobby Ray the delusional villain and abductor, Viktoria Stamm as Ginger, his kookie girlfriend, and David Naughton as FBI agent Herb Clough offer solid support.  Other local actors include: Pattie Day Caruso, Patrick Evans, Ron Young, Audrica McPeters, Roseanne Hopkins-Brauntz, Pat Krause, Fleet Easton and John B, Woods.

It’s been verified that the shoestring budget line item was true, and that this local cast and their friends, did indeed, perform for free as ‘volunteers’.  The “company” used their own costumes, props, from their garages and any loose change found in their old clothing and donated it all to the making of the film.

So it is true, passion can indeed, overcome almost everything in the make-believe world of movies and, in this case, do it on a shoe-string.