Local Movie Producer Joe Dwyer (Shubian’s Rift)
By Trissa Negaty
As a writer, I’ve often wondered how many top-selling story lines will go undiscovered as crinkled wads of paper overflowing wastebaskets or electronically trash-binned forever. Thankfully, the story of Shubian’s Rift won’t see this end. Thanks to a solid storyline and a dedicated team of creators, Shubian’s Rift is permanently recorded in cinematography and cutting edge animation.
By making the vision of Shubian’s Rift come to life on the big screen, screenwriter, director and producer Joe Dwyer, together with creative team Ellsworth Hall, Rob Brun and wife Maureen, have also mapped a path of inspiration that will move anyone with a dream to believe that anything is possible.
How does a simple idea become a colossal reality? Mix vision, creativity and perseverance among three bright teens. The story of Shubian’s Rift began as an idea sparked in the mind of a teenaged Joe Dwyer and shared with his just-as-imaginative best friends, Ellsworth Hall and Rob Brun. The storyline was conceptualized long before Star Wars yet hidden from the world in the pages of composition books of young men with traditional obligations of life still to be met.
While attending high school in Maryland, Joe first met Ellsworth and later, Rob. It was Ellsworth that first began playing around with 8mm film. He quickly graduated to Super 8 and then added sound. During this time, creative cohorts, Joe and Rob were helping develop Star Trek and Batman episodes lending their writing and acting skills. A small production company was already forming. Ellsworth went on to add musical composition to his studies. Rob became an accomplished professional illustrator. But equally creative Joe, also had aspirations of flying. He continued to develop his story of Shubian’s Rift but his creative pursuit was temporarily back-burnered while he grew his primary career of flying; initially with the Air Force, then with Delta.
Years later, with the support of his wife Maureen, Joe refocused on Shubian’s Rift. He dedicated extra time to the project by increased collaboration with Ellsworth and Rob. The team began exploring ways to make Shubian’s Rift, conceptualized so many years earlier, come to life.
Fans of their community theatre, Joe and Maureen began connecting with local actors and mapping out script and filming details. Shubian’s Rift began filming in July 2002. Ellsworth composed music and sound, while Rob worked on graphics. Along they way, the three enlisted the animation genius of Casey Curtis who worked tirelessly to simulate the nuances of dog-fighting in space. The creative team took great pains to authentically reflect energy conservation and the strategic out-thinking of one’s opponent. With human actors to organize and film and incredible animation needs, the logistics and technical aspects of making Shubian’s Rift was no easy undertaking. Actual filming wrapped midway through 2006.
Shubian’s Rift is a reflection of the art of command. It’s set on the Journeyman, a space vessel carrying a paramilitary support team. Mysteries unfold when a crewmember disappears nearly simultaneously as a visit from an alien being. Specific technology to recover their missing person is required and happens to be in the hands of some shifty characters that may or may not be trustworthy. The end of the film begs for a sequel that Joe is motivated to deliver.
The official premier of Shubian’s Rift was October 7, 2006 at the Newnan Community Theatre Center, where 350 people turned out to preview the movie and support a local community member turned movie producer. Nearly two hours later, attendees showed their appreciation by showering Joe with applause.
An earnest person with a spirit of integrity, Joe’s self-motivation and determination earned him the accolades of premier night. I asked him what advice he could offer anyone chasing after a goal. He replied, "Find what drives you. You’ll find the discipline, motivation and the ability to achieve any goal." Joe Dwyer: pilot, screenwriter, movie producer, director, dedicated friend and family man. Whether we see Shubian’s Rift on the SciFi Channel or not, I’d say this guy’s already been to the moon and back. And whatever he, Ellsworth and Rob create is worth this community’s support.
DVD purchasing is available through the website. Copies are $19.95.