Booger Red, a film by Emmy Award winning writer/director Berndt Mader will have its North American premiere at the 22nd annual Austin Film Festival on Friday, October 30th at 9.30 PM at the Spirit Theatre in The Bullock State History Museum one week after it’s World Premiere at The American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. The story, based on the 2009 Texas Monthly article, Across-The-Line by Michael Hall, follows a veteran reporter searching for the truth behind the largest child-sex ring in Texas history. On his journey through the seedy underbelly of East Texas, he’s forced to confront his own history with abuse while he discovers that the allegations at the root of his investigation might have never happened.
Booger Red takes a unique hybrid approach to the telling of this story, inspired by such films as Abbas Kiarostami’s Close Up and Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool—both of which experiment with the melding of documentary and fiction. Booger Red introduces a fictional journalist played by Onur Tukel (Septien, Summer of Blood) who meets and questions actual participants from the case depicted in the Texas Monthly article: the defendants, lawyers and even the foster mother herself, while he confronts painful memories from his own past.
In 2006, 7 people were sentenced to life for purportedly running the largest child-sex ring in Texas history–inside a swingers club in Mineola, TX. Onur, a gutsy investigative journalist who travels to East Texas to explore the case, with the help and hindrance of his sister-in-law Marija, played by Serbian-born actress Marija Karan, encounters the labyrinth of stories, characters and revelations that lead to the wrongful conviction that ripped apart the lives of the accused. Booger Red, titled after the unfortunate nickname of one of one of the defendants, tells the story of the real people involved in this “crime” and illuminates the miscarriage of justice that took place.
Shot in East Texas, Booger Red is directed and written by Berndt Mader, whose first feature 5 Time Champion, premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival, and produced and co-written by Johnny McAllister who wrote Olympia for Austin director, Robert Byington, and in 2006 wrote Be Quiet for Palestinian director, Sameh Zoabi which played at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals. The film stars Onur Tukel (Septien on IFC/Sundance Selects and Red Flag, Tribeca Films), Marija Karan, (Casualty on BBC, Covert Affairs, USA Network and New Line Cinema’s The Rite,) and Alex Karpovsky (HBO’s Girls.) Made in collaboration with Austin-based production company, The Bear, Booger Red is Executive produced by Ben Steinbauer (Winnebago Man), David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, George Washington) and Lisa Muskat (Joe, Compliance).
In bringing Booger Red to life, the filmmakers intend to give the real victims in this case a chance to tell their story of being railroaded by a “good ‘ole boy” Texas legal system. Together, they hope to expose this miscarriage of justice that is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in the state of Texas.
Screenings during the Austin Film Festival:
Friday October 30th @ 9.30 PM at the Spirit Theatre in The Bullock State History Museum. Red Carpet at 9 PM. Q&A with filmmakers and cast directly following the film.
Monday November 2nd @ 7.15 PM at the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center for Performing Arts.
The film will have its world premiere at the 6th edition of the New Horizons American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.