73 Years Later the Black Dahlia Honored with New Indie Film

Filmmaker releases first trailer prior to run on film festival circuit.

Los Angeles, CA, April 21, 2020 --(PR.com)-- youtu.be/dAX_DZc350Q - Prior to the release of her new film “Night Rain,” filmmaker Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is launching the first film trailer to the public. The film details the mystery of the events leading up to Elizabeth Short’s disappearance and death. Earlier this year, Spicuzza launched a commercial that was shot at the Biltmore Hotel, where the “Black Dahlia,” a young East Coast woman named Elizabeth Short, was dropped off by murder suspect Robert "Red" Manley on January 9, 1947. According to witness reports contained in the D.A. files, Miss Short left the Biltmore Hotel that night through the Olive Street exit and headed south. It would be the last time she was seen alive. Her body was discovered on the morning of January 15, 1947. On January 25, 1947, Red Manley identified Miss Short's belongings, which were "recovered," according to an L.A. Times article, by the scent he recognized as the one she wore while they were driving up from San Diego.

According to Spicuzza, “I knew that shooting a thriller with period elements on a low budget would require a sort of hybrid treatment, intersecting the story of a group of contemporary filmmakers in Los Angeles struggling to achieve a great movie set in the 1940s with something personal and authentic from that era. I became inspired to make the subject of their movie the victim of a true crime who has not been portrayed justly or accurately.”

After shooting "The Scarapist," Spicuzza began writing a screenplay about independent filmmaking. She wanted the motion picture within the story to be set in the 1940s and read "Childhood Shadows: The Hidden Story of the Black Dahlia Murder" by Mary Pacios, a friend of Elizabeth Short. In the book, Pacios recounts an interview with Elizabeth Short's sister, Muriel. "Mama," Muriel said, "does believe that someday the truth will come out and Bette will be exonerated." As a victim of violent crime, these words haunted Spicuzza. “A victim or survivor in need of redemption, blamed for trusting the wrong person. The shame must stop. It became a mission for me, to contribute to that cause. I visited the grave of Elizabeth Short in Mountain View and was devastated to discover that the family is still mourning her death.”

“It seemed that the best way to soothe the family’s grief was to treat the subject with truthfulness and respect. I watched L.A. Times writer and editor Larry Harnisch on James Ellroy's BBC documentary ‘Feast of Death,’ and found Mr. Harnisch's research to be solid and humane. I contacted him, and he helped a great deal in realizing ‘Night Rain.’ Named after my granddaughter, Amaya, ‘Night Rain’ is a motion picture about a group of independent filmmakers in Los Angeles hired under nefarious circumstances to make a low-budget period film about Elizabeth Short. After filming, I met James Elroy at a screening of ‘L.A. Confidential’ at the Egyptian Theatre. His first words to me were, ‘You look like Elizabeth Short.’ May she rest in peace.”

Film Synopsis:

“Night Rain” is the story of Ava, portrayed by Spicuzza (“The Scarapist”), an actress who heads an independent production company in Los Angeles, and her team, the Goth director Ezra (Adam Lesar, “Night of the Slasher”), production manager Nefreri (Clarissa Thibeaux, “Runaways”), Ava’s young and eager assistant Thomasina (Thessa M’loe, “Noir”) and cinematographer Vittorio (Mattia Chicco, “Nona”). A struggling single parent with a loving daughter named Amaya (Amaya Isabella Spicuzza), Ava is joined by her ambitious executive producer and attorney Lew (Lew Steinman), and the handsome actor and leading man Alan, played by Scott Javore (“Night of the Slasher”), as they take on a motion picture project penned by a mysterious investor, portrayed by J.L. Forbis (“Badland Wives”). Their project is based on one of the most brutal and notorious unsolved crimes in history. As the group delves deeper into the events leading up to the Black Dahlia murder, they become entrenched in threats, seclusion and terror. “Night Rain” is directed by Spicuzza and Synthian Sharp (“How I Became an Elephant”), shot by director of photography Jay Lopez (“The Mercenaries”), with additional photography by Henry Power (“Reckless Juliets”), edited by Sharp and produced by Spicuzza and Leslie LaPage, founder of LA Femme International Film Festival. “Night Rain” was shot in Los Angeles and San Diego at historic locations like the Biltmore Hotel, Pacific Dining Car, Pacific Beach Crystal Pier and more. Sponsors include Besame Cosmetics and What Katie Did.

About Jeanne Marie Spicuzza:

An actress, filmmaker, poet and herbalist, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is the founder of entertainment conglomerate Seasons & a Muse. A member of the Alliance of Women Directors, Cinefemme, and Film Fatales, Jeanne Marie holds a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While working on her M.A. in philosophy, she studied acting in London and Los Angeles, and art history in Italy, Germany, Greece and Holland. Nominee, finalist and winner of various awards, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, the National Organization for Women “Woman of the Year,” and the Pushcart Prize, Jeanne Marie is published in A Gathering of Tribes, Blue Fifth Review and others. Her short films have screened at Portobello Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival and Women in the Director’s Chair. Her VDKUF award-winning feature thriller "The Scarapist"™ screened at festivals, including a world premiere at LA Femme Film Festival, and at the Berlinale European Film Market. An audio segment of her screenplay “Breath of God: The True Story of Hildegard von Bingen” is on permanent exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum as part of Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party.” Jeanne Marie, to date, remains the first and only screenwriter in history to achieve museum showcase of a screenplay segment in perpetuity. She is in development of two additional motion picture projects, “Making Angels” and “Breath of God,” and is working on various poems, two new screenplays and a teleplay. Jeanne Marie lives in Los Angeles.
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Deborah Gilels