Thursday, June 22, 2006

Film crew swarmed

Those who plan to film a hostage scene might want to make it obvious to everyone around them that it's a simulation and not the real deal. That may be the lesson that an independent film crew learned over the weekend after Larimer County, Colo., deputies swarmed them during a shoot for a low-budget feature movie.
Members of the Twelve Monkeys Dancing Films were at a campground near Lake Carter Saturday, shooting a scene where the lead actor takes a girl hostage and beats up on a good Samaritan who tries to intervene. "It happened very suddenly after that. We heard, 'Freeze,'"said Director Eileen Agosta.

They were in the middle of the scene when a team of Larimer County sheriff's deputies ran over, shouting orders to get on the ground, pointing rifles at the crew, actor Chris Borden said. "They kept telling me the whole time, 'We're gonna shoot you. We're gonna shoot you. We're gonna send rounds your way,'" Borden said.

Borden said that they were cuffed and held on the ground until the situation was sorted out. Officers had to interview the "victims" and also tested the fake blood that was on the stunt car. Borden said after about 30 minutes, the crew was released. He said he believes the only reason the deputies didn't shoot him was because they saw a cameraman. Maj. Justin Smith of the Larimer County Sheriff's Department said deputies received a call from someone at the lake and sheriff's deputies raced to the park, blocking roads and sneaking up to the scene. He said it wouldn't have taken much for deputies to fire on Borden.

Instead they approached with guns drawn, handcuffing four actors and bringing up two others seen by the lake. "I think it shows great restraint, great training and great discernment," of the deputies said Cpl. Scott Shellhaas, a sheriff's spokesman. "They didn't rush into the situation and make a potentially bad situation worse." Borden said the incident would have been funny except for the fact that he was issued a citation for disorderly conduct. Agosta was also cited for being an accessory to disorderly conduct. Both are due in court in August. "It was complete ignorance on my part," said Agosta. "I honestly thought you could tell what we were doing ... I wouldn't have chosen a state park at 3:30 (p.m.) on Saturday if I was going to hurt somebody."

Authorities said the scene they saw was realistic enough -- a woman handcuffed to a car, a man pistol-whipping another man, people injured and bloodied and someone with a small video camera filming the event. "It is certainly not beyond belief these days that individuals do videotape crimes as they commit them," said Smith. "Having a video camera there did not necessarily mean there was not a threat."

The film crew said they had a park permit and had been filming for several hours when deputies arrived. Their footage was confiscated by the Larimer County Sheriff's Department. Deputies said the crew did not have a commercial permit to be shooting in the park, had not paid the fee for a commercial permit, and never alerted authorities about the filming nor the fact that they would be using replica of a 9 mm handgun during the shoot.

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