Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
May 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Voice for a Victim

ae2 graveLocal filmmaker looks to produce feature about final victim of prolific serial killer

Filmmaker Cameron Cloutier’s still-unfinished journey with his film, Bird with a Broken Wing, began four years ago when he heard a story that was stranger than fiction. While chatting with a couple of friends, one of them asked Cloutier if he had ever heard of the East Area Rapist. He hadn’t, so his friends started telling him the story, which they had both heard about in the news a few years prior. Cloutier couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “What are you talking about?” he remembers thinking. “Everything they said was out of control.”

As with Cloutier’s initial encounter with the story, a condensed history lesson is necessary here. From 1976 to 1979, a suspect known as the East Area Rapist committed a series of crimes in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto and Walnut Creek. Then from 1979 to 1981, his crime spree migrated to the cities of Goleta, Ventura, Laguna Niguel and Irvine. (It wasn’t until the late 1990s—when he would be dubbed the Original Night Stalker—that his DNA connected him to this latter series of crimes.)

Then in 1986, after a five-year crime gap, an 18-year-old woman named Janelle Lisa Cruz was murdered in Irvine, a mile-and-a-half from the last murder. She remains the last known victim of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker. Responsible for more than 50 rapes and 10 murders, he is the most prolific serial killer and sex offender in California history, and still remains uncaught, despite the fact that law enforcement authorities have his DNA, fingerprints and blood type.

ae2 movieposterIt’s a story that Cloutier has been looking to turn into a film for four years, and now, having done extensive research and with script in hand, he is seeking a way to finance the production. “The film will use Janelle’s story as a basis,” Cloutier says. “Her life was so interesting, and it explains why he probably came out of hiding for her, and then while it tells her story, it also flashes back to several of the other crimes so that we can understand the methodology of his crimes.”

Having received the support of Cruz’s family, the police, and the FBI, the most significant remaining hurdle for Cloutier’s film is the arduous process of fundraising. With that in mind, Cloutier is holding a fundraiser for the film in Sacramento—with Mayor Kevin Johnson tentatively scheduled to attend—on May 4, which happens to be the date of Cruz’s death in 1986.

For those who are unable to attend the fundraiser, there is still time to contribute to the Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which ends May 11. In addition, Cloutier says that “like”-ing the film’s Facebook page will aid in raising awareness. He is also accepting private funding for the production via the Facebook page or through the email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

According to Cloutier, every cent matters. “I’ve been on this project now for four years, but when I first started, there was nothing about these crimes out there except for a little website and a Wikipedia page, and that was it,” he says. “Since I started working on this, it’s kind of gotten bigger, but it hasn’t crossed over into the mainstream yet, so my original intent—which still is my intent—was to bring awareness to the crimes.”

Though the film will discuss the crimes of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker, Cloutier plans for it to center around Janelle Lisa Cruz and her life, struggles, accomplishments, and finally about what happened the night the two met.

“If you know Janelle’s story, then you know that even though she died, her story is a positive one, and that’s what the film explores,” says Cloutier. “I did not know—until I started talking with her family—how complex her life was. She wasn’t just this girl who was killed; the things that happened in her life made it possible for this guy to come into it. It seemed less and less like she was just a random victim, and more like he had to silence her.” 

For more information about ‘Bird with a Broken Wing’ and how to help make it a reality, visit indiegogo.com/projects/bird-with-a-broken-wing-needs-you—8, the film’s Facebook page, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Ocean Odyssey

Sailing the high seas from Santa Cruz to French Polynesia, Sally-Christine Rodgers documents the trials, tribulations and joys of exploring the world by boat

 

Gemini Festival of Goodwill, World Invocation Day

This entire week is a preparation by the New Group of World Servers (NGWS) for the June full moon (Tuesday) and to welcome the Forces of Reconstruction, great outer planetary forces streaming into the Earth at the Gemini Solar Festival. The Gemini Festival at the June full moon is called the Festival of Goodwill and World Invocation Day (recitation of the Great Invocation, the mantram of direction for humanity, hourly around the world). During the (12 degrees) Gemini festival, the Wesak blessing of the will-to-good is released and radiated (Gemini distributes) to humanity. When the will-to-good is received, humanity is then able to radiate goodwill to each other and to the kingdoms. The Gemini Festival is the third of the Three Spring Festivals (triangle of Force), setting the spiritual template and resources for Earth for the rest of the year (‘til next spring). This festival recognizes the true spirit of humanity—aspiring toward and seeking the will of God, dedicated to right human relation. At the full moon, the Divine nature of humanity is recognized. Christ stands with humanity, leader of his people, “the Eldest in a great family of brothers” (Romans VIII, 29.) Each year at the Gemini festival, Christ preaches the last sermon of Buddha, His brother, a sermon calling forth human and spiritual unity, represented by an outflow of love (work of the Christ) and wisdom (work of the Buddha). The forces of reconstruction stream in during the Festival, ushering in an era of pronounced creative activity, rebuilding the tangible world on new creative lines. This necessitates the total destruction of the old forms no longer useful for the new world era. Everyone is invited. Join us everyone for this Festival of Goodwill by reciting the Great Invocation.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 29

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

The Main Avant

Jozseph Schultz caters New Music Works’ 35th annual Avant Garden Party, plus brews for a cause

 

What will Santa Cruz be like in the future?

 society that is more awakened and realizes its own value and the beauty of the stunning Earth. Marguerite Clifford, Felton, Nutrition Health Care

 

Chesebro Wines

Piedras Blancas-Roussanne 2011

 

Real Thai Kitchen

Ratana Bowden on why Thai cuisine isn’t as spicy as everyone thinks