Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brothers investigate paranormal occurrences in documentaries

JULY 24, 2008

Coming Soon to a TV near You…

Brothers investigate paranormal occurrences in documentaries

If it’s spooky, psychic, or comes from another planet, Belleville’s Gray brothers are interested.
Adam and Andrew Gray run Graymatters Video Productions. They’ve just received the green light to create four documentaries for Vision TV.
All delve into the unexplained: psychic spying, a famous alien abduction and the legend surrounding Mayan crystal skulls.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Adam Gray. “The coolest thing is making your living coming up with ideas to do weird things.”
“Plus we get to go to Vegas,” Drew added.
Last March, their first original broadcast program, a documentary called The Nightmare, aired on Vision TV. It’s to air again on Space: The Imagination Station, which also funded its production.
The one-hour program investigated a phenomenon called sleep paralysis, a controversial condition experienced by Adam and one which has many mythological and spiritual interpretations worldwide.
Joan Jenkinson, Vision TV’s director of independent production, soon expressed interest in a half-hour version of The Nightmare. It and the three new films must be completed by Dec. 1.
Jenkinson said the new pitches were a “perfect fit” for her 13- episode series, which has a working title of “Do You Believe?”
“It was a no-brainer,” said Jenkinson, praising the brothers’ approach.
“They’re a delight. They’re very professional in their attitude, but more than that, they have very creative minds,” she said. “They know how to tell a story. It’s a great relationship.”
The globe-trotting shows will have an element of adventure and, while it sounds like fun, the brothers are preparing for some very intense work.
“It’s incredibly stressful putting these pitches together,” said Drew, noting they’ll be interviewing at least 25 people in several countries in August and September. Most of the work will be done by the brothers alone.
“In order to make a go of it we pretty much have to do everything,” Drew said.
But they will have some help, all of it with a local connection.
Adam’s brother-in-law, Rob Spence of Belleville, created the film Let’s All Hate Toronto and worked on The Nightmare. He rejoins the brothers as director of photography. Cousin Sean Fritz produced The Nightmare’s sound-track and is also returning.
Film producer Paul Stephens is based in the Greater Toronto Area but owns property north of Belleville. Another Nightmare crew member, he said he’s glad to be involved in another Graymatters project.
“They remind me of myself when I was younger,” Stephens said with a chuckle. “They’ve got real talent.
“I do mostly feature films, so to do a documentary is really refreshing,” he said. “I’m hoping these new three will lead to new frontiers for us.”
Each of the programs deals with vastly different — and unusual — material.
Despite its timing, the Grays’ show 13 skulls wasn’t inspired by the current hit film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
“We can’t get Harrison Ford. We’ll use the Gray brothers,” joked Jenkinson.
Adam said he’s long been interested in the story of the life-size quartz skulls which during the 19th Century were found in Central American ruins.
Legends say Mayan priests — who it’s believed did not even have the tools to craft such perfect objects — used the skulls to heal, talk to spirits and kill. At least one culture continues to worship them.
“It’s a crazy story, one that’s very hard to believe,” said Drew. “But it’s a mystery that can’t really be solved. There are other theories they were created by a higher intelligence.”
“And the most popular theory is that they’re all faked — which is still an interesting story,” added Adam.
The film will follow archaeologist Joel Palka as he treks to ruined Mayan cities, trying to uncover if the skulls are indeed Mayan or an elaborate hoax.
Psychic Spies, meanwhile, features science writer Jeff Warren and his exploration of clairvoyance, the ability to see things at a distance. Remote viewing was even studied by the United States government in a secret project known as Stargate, an attempt to match Cold War Soviet efforts to use psychics as spies.
Warren will watch psychics at work and try to learn the skill himself through a course in Las Vegas. Skeptic James “Amazing” Randi will try to debunk the practice by using trickery to duplicate remote viewing.
In Alien Memory Syndrome, the brothers take on the 1961 case of Betty and Barney Hill. Drew said it is has all the elements of a classic alien abduction.
“They’re in a car; a white light’s following them; it stops them on the road — all the imagery we’ve seen a thousand times.”
The Hills’ niece, Kathleen Marden, will serve as investigator. She’s spent 15 years researching it. Drew said it’s “one of the more authentic accounts” because there is physical evidence that something strange happened to the couple.
The series will air in January, though airdates for specific episodes are not yet known.

Paranormal Brothers And The Crystal Skulls

The Intelligencer 06/15/2009 by Luke Hendry

They say some of the skulls aren’t the Mayan artifacts they’re claimed to be, but others aren’t so easily explained.

Belleville,Ontario,Canada – Combine Indiana Jones with The X-Files and you have Belleville’s Gray brothers. Adam, 36, and Andrew Gray, 33, are Belleville natives and filmmakers who have begun to specialize in television programs exploring the unexplained.

Their newest, Supernatural Investigators: Crystal Skulls, is set to air on VisionTV.

It’s one of four documentaries created by the Belleville brothers who last year had their television debut with The Nightmare, also on VisionTV. The hour-long program on the mysterious condition of sleep paralysis was picked up by VisionTV.

The four shows are among 17 to be aired on the channel’s new Supernatural Investigators program. Award-winning science-fiction author Robert J. Sawyer serves as host.

Building on The Nightmare’s success, the brothers pitched three new documentaries to the channel, all of which were approved. Crystal Skulls is the first to air.

“It was a pretty cool adventure,” said Adam Gray who, late last year, traveled with his brother-in-law, cameraman Rob Spence, to film in Mexico and Belize.

Life-size crystal skulls began appearing in Mayan archeological sites in Central America during the 1800s. Mayan legends say they were used by priests to heal, kill and communicate with the spirit world.

But some of the skulls are crafted so perfectly that experts say it would’ve take the Mayans centuries to make them.

The documentary features interviews with experts and tracks archeologist Joel Palka in his search to uncover the truth about the skulls.

One skull, discovered by Anna Mitchell-Hedges during an expedition with her father Mitchell Hedges, remains among the most mysterious of the 10 skulls found to date.

“I actually started off quite skeptical. I liked the story of Mitchell Hedges but thought it was probably a fake,” Adam said, but noted he was forced to reconsider based on information revealed during filming.

Crystal Skulls and the Grays’ other three programs for the series were created under a tight deadline of just a few months.

For the skull shoot, Drew remained in Belleville to continue editing shows while Adam and Spence headed south for a hectic 10-day shoot. “It was an insanely tense and fast-moving trip,” Adam said.

The trip from Mexico to Belize was a 16-hour drive “deeper and deeper into the jungle in a country that doesn’t seem to have any police force,” Adam said.

“I was a little frightened in Belize,” he said.

He recalled arriving at a hotel of sorts deep in the jungle and being chased by a Rottweiler dog. His guide wasn’t of any comfort.

“He said, ‘You know, they could kill us out here and no one would ever know,’” said Adam in a Latin-American accent, chuckling.

That night, he said, “There was about an eight-inch tarantula crawling along the floor beside my bed. Sleeping became very difficult after that.”

He joked that for future films, “We’re not going past Trenton from now on.”

Drew said editing the films was tough because of the deadline and the limit to how much footage could be used.

“You can’t go more than a minute and a half, two minutes with anything,” Drew said. “It doesn’t matter how much you spent to get the footage or how important you thought it was going to be.”

Advance research was key, but the final script can’t be written until the field interviews are complete, he said.

“You try to become an expert before you start shooting, but if you get too cocky you end up writing a bad essay trying to prove your own points,” said Drew.

The Grays’ program on remote viewing airs March 17 and is nearly complete. Editing is underway for White Mountain Abduction, an investigation into the classic alien encounter of Betty and Barney Hill. It airs April 7.

A retooled version of The Nightmare has been delivered to VisionTV and will be broadcast April 14.

Each has music by Belleville’s Sean Fritz, the Grays’ cousin.

The brothers said they’re now discussing unexplained topics for future films, and have created ParaDocs, a production company and joint venture with producer Paul Stephens.