Madoff moviemaker mines Aspen for funds and stories
ASPEN ” A producer hoping to make a movie and separate documentary about financial scammer Bernie Madoff figured Aspen was the perfect place to collect stories and financing for the project.
Edmund Druilhet, writer and executive producer of the planned feature film, “Madoff, Made Off with America,” was in Aspen from Sunday through Tuesday to meet with anyone “interested in helping out.”
He said Tuesday afternoon that he had met about 20 people, including some victims of the man convicted of bilking investors out of an estimated $65 billion in a Ponzi scheme. Madoff used money from new investors to pay off longer-term investors. The scheme collapsed under the weight of the recession, and Madoff pleaded guilty in March to 11 criminal counts and admitted defrauding thousands of investors.
Druilhet said his initial research showed “a lot” of Madoff’s victims have ties to Aspen.
“This is a hotbed for victims,” he said. He later noted, “The elite vacation here.”
With the help of a local resident who didn’t want to be identified, Druilhet approached Aspen residents and ran newspaper advertisements soliciting people to call him if they had information that could help the effort. Most of the people he talked to provided “insider information” about high-level investing and how Madoff operated. That will help strengthen the script of the film, according to Druilhet.
He said the Aspen trip didn’t yield many victims’ accounts for the documentary, “Satan of Wall Street.”
The Madoff victims with whom he met wanted their identities concealed for various reasons, including ongoing legal entanglements over their losses, Druilhet said. Other sources not connected to Madoff provided valuable background information.
Druilhet claimed he has raised the funds needed to complete the film, although he continues to seek investments to allow him to increase the budget. He didn’t disclose how much it will cost to make his film, but it has been identified as a low-budget movie in Hollywood gossip rags. Filming will take place in Aspen, New York, London and Switzerland. Druilhet was scouting shooting locations, including the top of Aspen Mountain, on Tuesday in his first trip to the town.
The film will apparently be quick as well as cheap. He plans to release it Aug. 17 and is currently working on casting. A link on his website, http://www.madeoffwithamerica.com, allows viewers to rate the top-contending actors for Madoff and his wife after viewing short clips.
A Madoff victim with ties to Aspen met with Druilhet recently and emerged with skepticism about the projects. The source said Druilhet wasn’t fully funded and couldn’t identify, at that time, the central messages of the film and documentary.
“At the moment, in my opinion, he has an idea,” the source said. “There is so much bullshit around the Hollywood world.”
Druilhet is CEO of DragonLion Media LLC, according to his website, which states he has 25 years of experience in Hollywood pictures and television. His most recent release as an executive producer include a TV show called “Fugitives from Justice,” which is distributed in seven states. It is a law enforcement reality TV series about “cleaning up American’s homeland.”
Another TV project called “American Cougar Hunter” is currently being shot, but the link on the website for information about the show didn’t work.
Druilhet co-produced a movie now in theaters called “Polanski Unauthorized.” The film about controversial movie director Roman Polanksi “is causing Hollywood to lose sleep,” Druilhet’s website says.
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