A Ridiculous Notion




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As a First time writer director

I chose an ambitious late 19th century period piece based on real events, and inspired by true-life figures from history.

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We set out with a goal

To make a 19th century film more accessible to more people by managing the deep emotion and inevitable unease this era can bring.

A Goal

This is not a slavery film

We tell a powerful American story.

This movie will draw heavily on

The spy, romantic, and historic war thriller genres.

The setting

A society on its way to being destroyed in fire and civil war.

The film is entitled, A Ridculous Notion.

Notion is both a belief, and our fictitious female character's name.

For many of us

It remains nearly impossible to believe that enslaved couples could experience a deep and enduring love.

But slave interviews

letters, and autobiographies are alive with love stories.

The setting

Clearly we're shooting on a shoestring budget, so we made a decision not to show the graphic killings found on a typical Civil War battle template. More substantive is a uplifting glimpse of the future.

The setting


Radical abolitionist

raiders on the Kansas-Missouri border. Rangers, Jayhawkers, and Bushwackers in the Civil War. What we'd call Special Forces today.

Using Kansas as a base to wage a small war on the slaveholders in Missouri. Missouri becomes the original battleground for the abolition of slavery. One of the most challenging and devastating of all slave experience, was romance. The enslaving culture at that time had no idea, to what length our couple would go to be together. So when they wed in secret, they were forced to live as romantic outlaws.


When our fictitious, Hampton Drayton

the "fighting preacher", is forbidden from holding prayer-meetings, an invisible institution is born out of that desire to worship. Without even realizing it, a secret society is formed. They quickly learn how to work in dead secrecy, with knocks, signs and passwords. All this is going on during escalating guerrilla warfare, on the Kansas-Missouri border. In July 1861, the real-life Colonel James Montgomery, a bible-believing, white family man, received a commission as a colonel in Senator James H. Lane's Kansas brigade, notorious for its Jaywalker-style raids into Missouri at the start of the war.

During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln initially refused to raise a large black army on political grounds. In 1862, Senator James H. Lane, ignoring a warning from the U.S. government not to, recruited black refugees from Missouri. Under the battle-smoke of this brand of irregular warfare, Hampton and Notion escape slavery via the Underground Railroad, through Quindaro, Kansas, and moved on to Leavenworth. The film follows Hampton Drayton's untraditional path to becoming a Union officer commanding the "Corps of Scouts for special reconnaissances", a black unit practicing his Jayhawker brand of irregular warfare, resembling earlier jayhawking raids in Kansas and Missouri, now in South Carolina. Follow Notion's alternate path to expressing her equally as devastating talents.

The Union Intelligence Service' founder, left detailed accounts of his recruitment of black spies. This is an historical fact. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army, famously said in 1863, "The chief source of information to the enemy, is through our negroes." When our film is complete it will also depict the true-life experiences of America's first black units in Kansas, the battle of Westport and raids into South Carolina during the Civil War.

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