About the project
-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED- it's unfortunately no longer possible to make any donations for this film
DARK BLOOD - the unfinished movie
with RIVER PHOENIX, JUDY DAVIS & JONATHAN PRYCE
It was on October 31st 1993 when the main actor River Phoenix (23) died during the shooting of DARK BLOOD. His unfortunate death brought the production to a complete stand still. Studio Fine Line Hollywood believed back in 1993, after seeing great rushes and the unusual quality of the acting, Dark Blood would be the independent surprise of the year. Now, in 2012, George Sluizer is finally able to start editing the never finished movie.
If you are a fan of River Phoenix or George Sluizer and would like to get this film finished as much as we do, you too can participate in this crowdfunding campaign and receive unique DARK BLOOD gifts.
Dealing with nuclear testing and its long-lasting deadly effects, the story portrays Boy, a young widower living in the desert at a nuclear testing site. Living as a hermit, he waits for the end of the world carving Katchina dolls that he believes have magical powers. While traveling on a "second" honeymoon across the Arizona desert, the car of the Hollywood jet-set couple (Pryce & Davis) breaks down. They are rescued by Boy, who holds them prisoners because he desires the woman and wants to create a better world with her.
Finishing Dark Blood
Since March 2012, George Sluizer and editor Michiel Reichwein started editing Dark Blood. It is intended that the film will have its world premiere at the Dutch Film Festival later this year, provided the post-production budget gets fully funded. Besides editing, there is also a budget needed for sound editing, music composing & recording, color correction and mixage. The Netherlands Film Fund will supply a part of the post-production budget needed. There rest of the budget will be raised by George Sluizer himself.
Therefore George Sluizer needs your help to fund the last part of this special feature and complete it for public display in September.
Left: River Phoenix in Dark Blood
River Jude Phoenix (23-08-1970 - 31-10-1993) was an American film actor, musician, and activist. Phoenix' s work included 24 films- and tv performances, among the science fiction adventure film 'Explorers', the coming-of-age film 'Stand By Me', the action-sequel 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' and the independent adult drama 'My Own Private Idaho'. For his achievement in 'My Own Private Idaho' he received great recommendations and also won an 'Volpi Cup' at the Film festival of Venice. In 1986, Phoenix was mentioned to be the most promising actor at that time.
SINGER & SONGWRITER
Although his movie career was generating most of the income for his family, close friends and relatives have been stated that his true passion was music. Phoenix was a singer, song writer and an accomplished guitarist. Prior to securing an agent for his acting career, Phoenix and his siblings had attempted to forge a career in music by playing cover songs on the streets of LA.
At Oktober 31th 1993, on Halloween night, River Phoenix died by heart failure on the curbs outside of West Hollywood's legendary nightclub 'The Viper Room'. Phoenix had just returned to LA early that week from Utah to complete the three weeks of interior shots left on his last project Dark Blood, of which 79% had already been filmed. The autopsy report of his death showed lethal levels of cocaine and morphine.
English actor Jonathan Pryce (1947) is most famous for his performance in 'Brazil', in 'Evita' next to Madonna, in the 18th James Bond film 'Tomorrow Never Dies' and as 'Lytton Strachey' in 'Carrington. For the last film he won the 1995 'Best Actor' award at the Cannes Film Festival.
In recent years, Pryce could be seen as shy Jamaican governor in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy'.
Judy Davis (1955) is an Australian actrice. She was nominated in 1985 for the Academy Award for her performance in 'A Passage to India' and in 1993 for her supporting role in 'Husbands and Wives'. She won more than 35 other prizes since, including Golden Globes in 1992 and 2002.
Davis made here debut in 1977 as 'Lynn' in the Australian crime comedy 'High Rolling'. She played more than 30 roles since. A few of her bigger pictures were: 'Barton Fink', 'A Passage to India' and also the TV mini series 'Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows'. In the past, Woody Allen made several appeals on her talent. He directed her in 'Alice' (1990), 'Husbands and Wives' (1992), 'Deconstructing Harry' (1997) and 'Celebrity' (1998).
SUPPORT DARK BLOOD AND GET ONE OF THESE REWARDS IN RETURN
€ 15 : Receive a personal thank you DARK BLOOD postcard from George, watch one of George Sluizer's films on Ximon.nl & get mentioned on the website and newsletter.
€ 50 : You will receive a limited edition DVD with positive lit 35 mm film frame of River Phoenix in the cover, watch one of George Sluizer's films on Ximon.nl & get mentioned on the website and newsletter.
Bottom photo shows a positive 35mm. Image is an example of the actual Dark Blood film (Source: Notes on photographs).
€ 150 : You will be mentioned on the end credits ('Thank You'), get three original limited edition set photo's and the limited edition DVD, a mention on website & newsletter and a film on Ximon.nl
€ 500 : You will receive 2 tickets for the premiere screening at the Dutch Film Festival in September (NFF) (30 supporters max.), you will me mentioned on the end credits ('Special Thanks') & IMDB, get three original limited edition set photo's and the limited edition DVD, a mention on website & newsletter and a film on Ximon.nl
€ 2000 : You will be invited to an exclusive pre-screening & have a drink with the director (6 supporters max.), you will me mentioned on the end credits ('Special Thanks') & IMDB, get three original limited edition set photo's and the limited edition DVD, a mention on website & newsletter and a film on Ximon.nl
€ 3000 : You will be mentioned as 'Supporting Producer' of Dark Blood on the end credits & IMDB (4 supporters max.), you will be invited to an exclusive pre-screening with dinner (4 supporters max.), get 1 minute of positive 35mm material in the original Dark Blood film canister (4 supporters max.) plus ALL previous rewards.
Please note that contributions made in dollars are depending on actual exchange rates.
Please mention your e-mail adress and full address for shipment.
Cast & Crew
Director, producer and screenwriter George Sluizer is Dutch, but was born in Paris, where he attended the IDHEC film academy. He made his first film in 1961, HOLD BACK THE SEA, a documentary that won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. During the 1960s until the early 1980s he produced and directed many documentaries and TV specials. He also worked as a producer on numerous films, including Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO and CANCER RISING with Rutger Hauer. As a writer/director he made his first feature film in 1971, JOAO AND THE KNIFE, which was followed by TWICE A WOMAN with Anthony Perkins and Bibi Andersson, and RED DESERT PENITENTIARY.
With SPOORLOOS (THE VANISHING) in 1988 he received worldwide recognition. The film won him many awards and was the Dutch entry for the 1989 Academy Awards. In 1992 he directed a remake of THE VANISHING for 20th Century Fox, starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock. In 1991 Sluizer directed an adaptation of Bruce Chatwin’s novel UTZ, starring Armin Mueller-Stahl (Best Actor in Berlin 1992), and in 1993 DARK BLOOD, kept unfinished because of the death of its leading actor River Phoenix.
CRIMETIME followed in 1995, a thriller about the dangerous effects of reality TV, starring Stephen Baldwin and Pete Postlethwaite. In 1996, Sluizer produced and co-directed the nostalgic comedy DYING TO GO HOME and in 1997 he directed THE COMMISSIONER with John Hurt and Rosana Pastor. And in 2002 THE STONERAFT based on the novel by Nobel Prize laureate José Saramago.
During his career, Sluizer has directed films in six different languages and regards himself as a truly European director. A master of the thriller genre, Sluizer is known for his unique signature, his “going to the edge” and “search for one’s limits”.
“My strength as a filmmaker lies in my beliefs and convictions, and not in the ‘communis opinio’ of too many people. Filmmaking for me is a combination of my personal vision with what I think the audience wants to see. Finally, I only provide the cornerstones, the audience has to put the story together, reinvent it according to their moods and feelings. But I do not deny I have a basic instinct to disturb.”
• Knight (Chevalier) in the Order of Oranje-Nassau
• Honorary Member of the Dutch Directors Guild DDG
• Honorary Member of the Dutch Producers Guild FPN
• Honorary Member of the Dutch Filmmakers Association NBF
• Student at the Paris Filmschool IDHEC
• Professor at the Netherlands Film Academy 1972-79
• Member of the Council of Arts (Ministry of Culture) 1974-80
• The European Film Academy EFA
• The Directors Guild of America DGA
Edward Lachman - Director of Photography
Edward Lachman (A.S.C.) is an American Director Of Photography who usually works on independent American movies. He had worked with Todd Haynes on 'Far From Heaven' (2002) for which he achieved an Academy Award nomination. Also he has worked with Steven Soderbergh on 'Erin Brokovitch' (2002) and made several films together with director Robert Altman. Besides feature films, Lachman also worked on American documentaries including Lightning Over Water (1980) and 'La Soufrière' (1977) from Werner Herzog.
The final film made by River Phoenix, "Dark Blood," will receive its North American debut at the 30th annual Miami International Film Festival 20 years after it was made. The festival runs March 1-10.
Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis co-star in the film directed by George Sluizer, which follows a couple trying to save their marriage when their car breaks down in the desert. Taking shelter with a secluded young man who has lost his wife to leukemia, they quickly become his prisoners, leading to a tragic series of consequences.
When Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993 at age 23, he had completed 80% of filming on "Dark Blood." Sluizer saved the footage and finally finished production on it, then world premiered it at the Dutch Film Festival last fall.
"'Dark Blood' is a film of legend, one of Hollywood's great mysteries," said MIFF executive director Jaie Laplante. "The tragic loss of River Phoenix's outstanding talent is still profoundly felt 20 years later. We are proud that George Sluizer has honored Miami as the place to finally share his remarkable collaboration with Phoenix and the other great artists involved with 'Dark Blood.'"
Phoenix, the brother of Oscar-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master"), was nominated himself for a supporting role in "Running on Empty" in 1989 and won an Independent Spirit Award for his lead role in "My Own Private Idaho" in 1991. His work in "Stand By Me," "The Mosquito Coast" and "Sneakers" also showed him to be an emotionally mature actor with great promise. That he played the young Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade" with Harrison Ford's particular comic swagger points to more of what was lost when he passed.
Director George Sluizer has revealed that he expects the legal issues surrounding Dark Blood to be resolved within the next "four weeks."
There is therefore a real chance that the film, marking young star River Phoenix's final performance as an actor, may at last receive mainstream distribution.
The film was abandoned in 1993 following Phoenix's death 11 days before shooting was completed. At that time, the film's insurers paid out a sum believed to be around $7 million and the production was closed down.
In 1999, amid disputes between the bank that cashflowed the movie and the insurance company over who owned the negative, Sluizer took the footage back to the Netherlands to prevent it being destroyed. He has now edited it into an "unfinished" film, which premiered at the Holland Film Meeting in Utrecht on Thursday night. Sluizer himself provides narration to cover the parts in the film that were never shot.
Sluizer is now hoping to strike a deal with the rightful owners (once their identity has been established beyond doubt). The film's executive producer Nik Powell has also expressed confidence that a deal can be struck with the owners to ensure that the film can be distributed.
"The boy done good," Powell commented after seeing Sluizer's cut of the film in Utrecht. "I just want to say, as one of the film's original producers with Steve Woolley and JoAnne Sellar, you have done a most remarkable job. I came here very sceptical about what could be done with this wonderful footage."
Sluizer said that he had been given the non-commercial rights by Nik Powell.
"Things are going well. In a few weeks, maybe four weeks, I should be able to say, 'OK, there is a settlement which makes it possible to do anything which any producer would do,'" Sluizer said.
The Dutch director said he had been gratified by the largely enthusiastic response to his version of the film, which was given a standing ovation at its first screening.
"To be very honest, if I would be thinking this is a piece of shit, I would say that's the way life goes, you're successful or you're not. But I would say that the creative work that is in this film, from both actors and crew..is worthwhile to be kept and hopefully shown to people who are interested in such a movie," the director commented.
The film, co-starring Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis, was produced by JoAnne Sellar, who is now the producer of Paul Thomas Anderson's films (including awards contender The Master.)
Phoenix's family has had no part in Sluizer's completion of the film. However, at the premiere on Thursday, the director read out part of a letter from Phoenix's mother, Heart Phoenix.
"After a long process of mourning, Heart Phoenix, River Phoenix's mother, decided that River's legacy would go into a foundation (The River Phoenix Center For Peacebuilding.) She also decided that the Phoenix family would not participate in any way in anything to do with River's film oeuvre," Sluizer noted. "River's mother wrote me a letter recently and I quote: 'still, we are all inspired by the memory of River.' She wishes me a better health and writes that (she hopes) 'my work may find acknowledgement tonight."
Neither Jonathan Pryce (currently appearing as King Lear on stage in London) nor Judy Davis were in Utrecht for the screening. However, cinematographer Ed Lachman and exec producer Nik Powell were among the guests.