Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster TV Premier

Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster premiers Monday, June 3, at 10 PM on Investigation Discovery

The story unfolded in Northern Light Productions' own backyard.

A young hoodlum from Southie, Whitey Bulger rose to the top of the Irish Mob through guts, cunning and luck. But it was only once he got in bed with the FBI that his criminal career really took off. Based on the new book, Whitey, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill (authors of Black Mass), Making of a Monster takes viewers into uncharted territory - into the psyche of Whitey and his insatiable need for power and control. Airing the night before his landmark trial begins, we trace the dark turning points of the notorious mobster's live; his childhood spent prowling the streets, his participation in an LSD study while in prison, his lovers, and the tragic death of his young son. We follow his ascent to the top of Boston's criminal underworld and the FBI's Most Wanted List, and his years of quiet  retirement in Santa Monica. With cold calculation, Whitey Bulger was always one step ahead of everyone. Is he still? 

Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster debunks the myth of the "Robin Hood" of South Boston, painting a deeply rendered portrait of evil. 

April Update: NLP Does Espionage (Again)

"They say you're judged by the strength of your enemies."
- James Bond, "Quantum of Solace." 

Northern Light recently produced all the media for the exhibit "Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of James Bond Villains," for the 50th anniversary of James Bond at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition, designed by Gallagher and Associates, uncovers the evil schemes of the Bond films. Twenty-five films were produced including a five-screen video in the museum lobby, 12 "Bond Assessment" videos that feature scenes from Bond films analyzed by former CIA and FBI agents, "Bond Moments," where agents tell real-life stories that come close to those of the films, and a series called "Villain Profiles."

The Villain Profiles take you back to the Cold War to meet Bond's longest-running rival, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. In "Earth Redesigned" we encounter villains who want to wipe out the human race; in "Murderous Monopolists" we find villains who attempt to control the world by monopolizing information-age technology.

The exhibit area also includes a film by Northern Light on cyber espionage, titled "Weapons of Mass Disruption." In earlier decades we feared nuclear war and communist infiltration as threats to our national security. Today, computer networks in our homes, businesses and government are targets for infiltration, espionage and attack.

Our Filmmaking Community: In Crystal Skin

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about new independent documentaries that are circulating around the festivals. Meanwhile, Michaela O'Brien, Associate Producer at Northern Light and Production Manager/Archival Researcher for Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster, has been working on an independent documentary of her own. Last week, many of us joined her and friend of NLP Melissa Langer at a fundraiser they held for their film In Crystal Skin. The film is an intimate documentary about four people living with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). Patients with EB lack the protein that binds the skin to the body, as a result they suffer great pain and blisters at the slightest touch. O’Brien and Langer not only spent time with the families and people afflicted with EB, they also interviewed medical experts and advocates to help better understand and bring awareness to this rare disease.

At a packed art gallery in Jamaica Plain Michaela and Melissa premiered the film’s trailer and displayed striking production stills, as well as screened clips from the film. To help raise funds they held a raffle featuring great prizes donated by local JP businesses. The duo’s efforts have been extremely successful in building a community around the film, but they are continuing to fund-raise for post production. The pair will be returning to Bogotá, Colombia this week, to live along side two of their characters, documenting their day to day lives and how their experiences are shaped by their rare disease. Be sure to check their facebook and twitter pages for updates on the film’s progress. It was great to see so many Northern Light staff, friends, and family come out to support a great film made by one of our own.

NLP at the Massachusetts Media Expo

The MPC Media Expo, held last Saturday at WGBH, was a huge success and exceeded expectations with a turnout of 40 exhibitors and over 500 attendees that came to share their knowledge of the industry and connect with new and old friends. The evening ended with the premier screening of Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster. So many people wanted to attend the screening that both the Yawkey and Frasier theaters were overflowing. The screening was followed by a panel moderated by Susan Gray of NLP and featured our very own Ben Avishai and Dan Mooney. We also heard from Dick Lehr, David Boeri, Steve Davis, and Lindsey Cyr who were all interviewed in the film.

Northern Light produced this documentary building on our work for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. We created over 30 short video programs for the museum, one of which was a 4 minute film on Whitey Bulger, the former Boston crime boss. “That was just the tip of the iceberg,” said director/producer/writer Ben Avishai. “This longer documentary is still the tip of the iceberg, but at least it’s a bigger tip..” Ben went on to explain that it would have been easy to make a 2 hour documentary with the amount of information that was available and the different angles to explore, but it was necessary to make some hard choices to get it down to a manageable 43.5 minutes. “We really dug deep into the content during the research phase, but it was the only way to do the story justice.”

The film focuses on the mindset of Whitey and the inner psychological workings of this infamous, sociopathic killer. The trial is scheduled to begin on June 6th right here in Boston, that is unless it gets delayed again. Until then we’re eagerly awaiting the TV premiere on Investigation Discovery.

Northern Light Makes a Monster

James “Whitey” Bulger is to stand trial on June 6th, just blocks away from one of his alleged murders in South Boston. In June 2011, Bulger was found and captured in Santa Monica after being on the lam for 16 years. During the search, the FBI aired TV spots in Germany and investigated sightings in Ireland.  All the while, Whitey was hiding out in our California backyard.

In 1967, Whitey Bulger became a player in the South Boston Irish Mob. By the late 1970s, you could say he was The Player, and by the mid 1980’s, he was the most powerful mobster in Boston. He organized Southie, took over the Winter Hill Gang, and is alleged to have killed 19 people. What makes him unique in the annals of organized crime, however, is that because of a deal forged with FBI agent John Connolly, Whitey essentially had the FBI working for him. This, combined with the fact that his brother, Billy, was President of the Massachusetts State Senate, made Whitey one of the most protected mob bosses in history.

On Saturday, March 23rd WGBH Boston will be hosting the MCP Massachusetts Media Expo where Northern Light Productions will be screening Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster, with a Q&A to follow. The event will also feature a panel moderated by Lisa Strout, MA Film Office Director, a casting seminar lead by top casting agent Angela Peri, founder of Boston Casting, and Donna Sommers, head of SAG Boston, as well as a directing seminar with James Mottern. The expo will take place from 12:30-7:00 pm with at least 500 people expected to come and participate, learn about new developments in the industry, and take in the world premiere of Whitey Bulger: The Making of a Monster.