We hesitate to call him a “filmmaker” especially based on his previous efforts 800 and The Atomic Space Bug, but this is the chosen profession of New York-based Jonathan M. Parisen. Almost two years ago, in a rage apparently sparked by Film Threat’s negative reviews of his films, Parisen sent a series of shocking letters to the our offices. He later responded with an apology which we ran called A FILMMAKER REPENTS. Now Parisen is back in prime form with a film based on the September 11th attacks on New York’s World Trade Center Buildings that left almost 6,000 people dead. The B-director has Conrad Brooks scheduled to appear in “Stairwell.” Brooks was one of the stars of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” Clearly, this production is meant to take advantage of the worldwide publicity associated with this tragic event. Rather than comment, we’ll let you make your own judgements about the timeliness of this film. The press release regarding the project from Parisen is below for you to read.
PRESS RELEASE 10/07/01 ^ Staten Island, New York based filmmaker Jonathan M. Parisen, the writer, producer, director of “800”( which was the only movie ever to be made about the controversial, 1996 TWA Flight 800 disaster) is now in pre-production on a film dealing with the recent World Trade Center disaster. The title of his newest film is “Stairwell: Trapped In The World Trade Center”. The screenplay for the film is completed and the film is set to move into production in late October, early November 2001.
“Stairwell” Directed by Parisen centers around a probationary fireman who is trapped in a ” Stairwell” along with a small group of people after the two towers collapse. The group will deal with trying to find a way out from underneath the tons of rubble as well as deal with personal issues and differences with one another.
“Stairwell” will have a very realistic feel to it says Director Jonathan M. Parisen. It will be shot with a handheld video camera and will be shot from the point of view of one of the characters trapped inside of the “Stairwell”. In fact some of the footage that will be used in the film is authentic. Including footage of Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen that was shot by Parisen at the Fire Academy on Randall’s Island three days before The World Trade Center Disaster.
I understand that some people may be offended by my doing such a film explains Parisen. But I promise that the material in this film will be handled very delicately and very tastefully. ” Stairwell” is my tribute to those who lost their lives at The World Trade Center on September 11th 2001. It is also a tribute to all of the New York City Firefighters, and firefighters around the world for that matter. That is why I decided to center the film around a firefighter.
“Stairwell” which is also being produced by Parisen and C.M. Murphy will have a cast of unknown actors who are mostly theatre actors except for one. Parisen has casted legendary B-Movie actor Conrad Brooks (Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space”) to play the father of one of the people trapped inside of the collapsed towers. ” I’ve worked with Conrad before on a horror film that I did two years back called ” The Atomic Space Bug “. Conrad is a wonderful person to work with and I very much wanted to utilize his talents in this film as well. Although he is known mostly for b-horror films he is very much capable of doing drama as well. ” Controversial artist Scott LoBaido will also appear in the film as well. When completed ” Stairwell” will have a limited release in New York City in December of 2001 and will then go straight to video where it will be distributed world wide by Parivision Entertainment.
For more information, feel free to email Jonathan M. Parisen

FILM THREAT READER DAMNS PARISEN TO HELL ^Like most Americans, my emotions are still raw when it comes to September 11.  I am fortunate that I was not directly affected by this tragedy; however, like some twisted version of “Six-Degree of Kevin Bacon,” I am close to people who have been touched by the WTC attacks.  The little sister of my best-friend worked in the American Express building across the street, and she was fortunate enough to get out of the area right before the first collapse.  My boss’s son worked on the 64th floor of Tower 2, and he started to evacuate the building after Tower 1 was hit.  He made it to the lobby and out the door mere minutes, maybe even seconds before Tower 2 collapsed.  The sister of a good friend of mine in college worked on the 78th floor of Tower 2.  She was killed when the second plane struck the building. ^ These are three stories out of tens of thousands.  Real.  Tragic.  These are the stories that belong to the families and friends of those who lived and died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.  We have heard some of these tales of bravery and sacrifice.  Maybe we will hear all of them, or maybe we won’t.  I do know that we will hear these stories when the time is right. ^ Who does Jonathan Parisen think he is?  What does he think gives him the right to make a film about what happened on 9-11-01?  This is obviously some sick vanity project to cash in on these events.  What rock did this guy crawl out from under? ^ I’m so infuriated that I can’t come up with the words to denounce him and his project.  This “film” will not be a tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in the attack.  It’s an affront to everything that is good and decent in our society.  Parisen represents the worst in America.  His selfishness, greed and willingness to exploit any situation for personal gain make me sick with anger. ^ There are sometimes when an individual should rise above violence, but I would like to be the one who holds Parisen down while each and every victim (survivors & family members) take turns slapping him.  Maybe he’ll begin to experience a micro-fraction of the pain and anguish they are feeling.  ^ Damn you, Jonathan Parisen.  Damn you to hell.
– Charles Guthridge Jr
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