FAQ

What is Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse?
Alien Boy is a feature-length documentary film about the extraordinary life of James Chasse. The film is directed by Portland native Brian Lindstrom and produced by members of the Mental Health Association of Portland.

What’s the film about?
Alien Boy chronicles James Chasse's life and his struggle with schizophrenia and examines the actions of the police officers responsible for his death, exposing a city grappling with accountability in the death of an innocent, unarmed man.   

Is Alien Boy available on DVD?
Alien Boy will be available on DVD after the film screens in festivals around the U.S. and abroad, likely early 2014. Until then, watch the website and our Facebook page for updates about festival screenings and other special events featuring Alien Boy.

Who wrote the song “Alien Boy”?
After James’ death, Greg Sage of the seminal punk band The Wipers wrote on his web site, “Jim Jim’s conversations with me and his powerful sense of vision painted uncanny, powerful visions in my head that became a huge influence for a few songs that were later recorded for the album, Is This Real?"  The song "Alien Boy" is one of them.

Who was James Chasse?
James Chasse was a lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon who became the center of a public controversy around his death at the hands of three law officers in Portland Oregon. James was a blossoming poet, artist, and musician when his career was cut short by schizophrenia. 

What happened to the officers who beat James Chasse?
Nothing. Without a grand jury indictment, the City and County who employ the officers declined to individually terminate or discipline the officers. All three are back on duty. One is now Sherriff in a neighboring county.

What has changed since James Chasse’s death?
James’ death had an abrupt and significant effect on the Portland Police Bureau, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office, City Hall, Portland’s public mental health service providers, his friends, neighbors and family members.

Where was James’ family? What are they doing now?
Critics have asked why James’ family did not intercede on his behalf. The truth is James was 42 years old and had lived independently for over twenty years. His family remained very engaged with James, helped him constantly, and knew a great deal about his illness and that he received constant and professional care from doctors, nurses and caregivers within the community mental health system.

The Chasse family settled civil suits against the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and American Medical Rescue.