Eye of the Beholder

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Eye of the Beholder Now Available as M4V

Tim Russ (Tuvok) directed Eye of the Beholder in February 2006. The film featured two other Star Trek performers, Chase Masterson (Leeta) and Menina Fortunato (Maras), as well as The Sentinel star Bruce A. Young, with whom Russ worked on Art Police.

Masterson has worked with Russ before as well, appearing in Deja Vu along with Garrett Wang (Kim), which was co-written and directed by Russ.

Russ will receive a writing credit for Eye of the Beholder. Robert Michael Conrad and James Nestor are producing.

Natalie (Chase Masterson) is intrigued by a picture at a garage sale and just has to buy it. As the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that there is something strange about the picture. She apparently bought more than she bargained for and becomes entwined in the mystery behind the picture.

"There is something mysterious about an old picture purchased at a garage sale."

Independent Film Is Alive and Well - Robert Michael Conrad and James Nestor Productions.
by Gary Hill - Music Street Journal

For those of you who bemoan the banality of modern big movies, the production team of Robert Michael Conrad and James Nestor will be a breath of fresh air. These guys are producing a number of short films that are definitely quality products. Fans of the Twilight Zone TV series will certainly find plenty that feels familiar in the two productions that I just sampled "Deja' Vu" and "Eye of the Beholder."

The first of those two opens at an auction. Garrett Wang (you might remember him as Harry Kim in Star Trek Voyager) is bidding in this auction. The items for sale (in a nod to the film "Brainstorm" are recordings of the memories of dead people. Wang's character buys the memory of a criminal who died under curious circumstances. Against the protestations of his girlfriend and best friend he downloads the memories - the process involves plugging what looks like a thumb drive into a device that feeds the memories into your brain. What he gets is a series of short snippets - glimpses of places and things. While you can only view these memories once, he finds something odd is happening. He's getting flashbacks of the memories with more details. He discovers that the man had a briefcase full of gems hidden away somewhere and becomes obsessed with finding it. While I had the feeling from the onset that things would not work out well for him, I have to say that the actual ending was a big surprise, ala Alfred Hitchcock. I won't ruin it for you by spelling it out, as this is best experienced first hand.

The second film features Chase Masterson (Leeta from Star Trek Deep Space Nine - who plays Kim's girlfriend in the other film) as a woman who buys a print at a garage sale. You get the impression immediately that the picture is going to be a problem from the reaction of the lady selling it to her. Still, it doesn't really prepare you for what comes later. Masterson quickly becomes aware of something odd about the picture - sort of a haunting, but of a different variety. Once more, though, the ending isn't quite something you will see coming. Yes, you might guess that it will end somewhere in the vicinity of where it does wind up, but I doubt you'll see the full consequences in advance.

Both of these films are written (or at least co-written) by Tim Russ (who also directs them). They are both short films (less than twenty minutes in length). That said, don't think of them as "undeveloped." The scripts and direction allows the films to pull together a complete story through concise and sparing usage of scenes. These are definitely full stories. The DVD of "Deja' Vu" also includes some great outtakes and behind the scenes footage and a second mini feature called "The Art Police - Toxic Art." This is done quite tongue in cheek, set up like an episode of a strange television series about a police agency whose purpose is to remove objectionable art from the world. In this "episode" a particularly toxic performance artist gets his just rewards.

I would highly recommend both of these discs to anyone who really enjoyed the old Twilight Zone. In addition, fans of independent film should eat these up as well. They are fine examples of how solid storytelling can be made into movie form without selling out or sacrificing any of its integrity. Bravo to all involved and here's to more projects from them.

Please visit the Chase's Bio Page for all of the episodes of