A documentary film by Brian Lindstrom
Premiere – Portland International Film Festival - February 15, 2013
Jason Renaud / Producer
Contact: Jen Winter / Publicity
Please email for online screener, interviews
Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse is a feature-length documentary film that chronicles one man’s 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.
On September 17, 2006 James Chasse was stopped by three law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon in broad daylight. A dozen eyewitnesses watched in horror as the officers tackled, beat, kicked, and tasered James until he lay motionless on the pavement with 16 broken ribs and a punctured lung. He died in the back seat of a Portland Police car two hours later.
James had not committed a crime, so why did the officers attack him? Who was James Chasse? The officers told eyewitnesses he was a drug dealer, a homeless person, a non-person, a ghost. But that wasn’t true at all. James was a writer, an illustrator, and a musician; he had a home and a family and friends who loved him. He was a small, shy, gentle person who had been living with schizophrenia for most of his life.
Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse explores his childhood, his involvement in the early Portland punk music scene (The Wipers wrote the song "Alien Boy" about him), the heart-breaking teenage onset of his schizophrenia, and his brave efforts to avoid institutionalization and maintain his independence.
Using interviews, personal writings, archival footage, official documents and videotaped depositions of the involved police officers, the film examines James Chasse's life and the police actions and decisions that led to his death. What emerges is an intimate and complex story of one man's life, the Chasse family’s struggle for justice, and a city and a system grappling with accountability.
Made as a Kickstarter passion project, Alien Boy took over six years to create with financial and in-kind support from over 1500 people.
BRIAN LINDSTROM – DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT
“What draws me to documentary film is the opportunity to shed light on the hidden lives of people who have been dealt a hard hand in life and somehow find the strength to carry on.
“One such life was that of James Chasse, a man with schizophrenia who died in the custody of Portland police in 2006. My film examines his childhood, his intense involvement in the early Portland punk music scene as a writer, illustrator and musician (The Wipers wrote the song “Alien Boy” about him), his heartbreaking teenage onset of mental illness, and his brave efforts to avoid institutionalization and maintain his independence.
“Using interviews, personal writings, archival footage, official documents and depositions the film explores James Chasse’s life and the actions and decisions that led to his death. What emerges is an intimate and complex story of one man’s life, the struggle for his family to find justice after his tragic death, and a city and a system grappling with accountability.”
Director of Photography for Alien Boy is John Campbell, a veteran cameraman with credits on dozens of Hollywood films, including two films with Portland director Gus Van Sant, Mala Noche and My Own Private Idaho.
Editor and Producer Andrew Saunderson joined the film in 2008 while a student at Lewis & Clark College and quickly established himself as indispensable. He was Assistant Editor on the feature-length documentary To Pay My Way With Stories (2009) and the award-winning narrative/documentary hybrid Old Town Diary (2010).
Jason Renaud is the producer of Alien Boy. He is the former executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for Oregon and Washington states and the founder of the Mental Health Association of Portland.
Chasse lying on the side walk after his beating by police, 9 17 2006 (1280 × 720). Photo attribution Portland Mercury / Jamie Marquez
Chasse v. Portland – 2007 (1280 × 720)
Constance Doolan – Chasse death eyewitness (1280 × 720)
Linda Gerber – Chasse’s mother (1280 × 720)
James Chasse, Sr. – Chasse’s father (1280 × 720)
Tom Steenson – Chasse family attorney (1280 × 720)
Chasse outside of group home (1280 × 720)
Chasse in front of Central Library (1280 × 720)
Chasse’s drawings from his magazine, Oregon Organizm (1280 × 720)
James Chasse, DMV card about 2005 (1280 × 720)
Young Jim (1280 × 720)
Portland Police Sergeant Kyle Nice, who was also implicated in Chasse’s death (1280 × 720)
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Bret Burton (1280 × 720)
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Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse – www.alienboy.org – Official site
Mental Health Association of Portland – commissioned Alien Boy in 2007.
Brian Lindstrom – Wikipedia
James Chasse – Wikipedia
Mental Health Association of Portland – Wikipedia
All stories tagged “James Chasse” from The Oregonian (about 1350 results)
All stories tagged “James Chasse” from the Portland Mercury (about 635 results)
All stories tagged “James Chasse” from the Willamette Week (about 277 results)
All stories tagged “Chasse” from KATU TV (about 217 results)
All stories tagged “Chasse” from KGW TV (about 75 results)
All stories tagged “Chasse” from Oregon Public Broadcasting (about 20 results)
Why James Chasse’s story matters to Portland, by Oregonian columnist Anna Griffin
INTERVIEWS / SOURCES — In order of appearance
Randy Moe – Jim’s friend
Brian Lee – Jim’s friend
Steve Doughton – Jim’s friend
Mike Lastra – Jim’s friend
Eva Lake – Jim’s friend
Marian Drake – Jim’s friend
Betty Mayther – Jim’s teacher
Rozz Rezbeck – Jim’s friend
Sam Henry – Jim’s friend
Michael Brophy – Jim’s friend
Linda Gerber – Jim’s mother
James Chasse, Sr. – Jim’s father
Brian Wasserman – Jim’s friend
Odette Dunbar – Jim’s friend
Karl Brimner – Director, Multnomah County Mental Health
Yvonne Ingram – Jim’s friend
Russell Sacco, MD – Jim’s friend
Constance Doolan – eyewitness
Randall Stuart – eyewitness
Jamie Marquez – eyewitness
David Lillegaard – eyewitness
Matthew Charles Davis – Portland Mercury
Anna Griffin – The Oregonian
Karen Gunson, MD – Multnomah County Medical Examiner
Scott Westerman – Portland Police Association president
Tom Steenson – Chasse family attorney
Bob Joondeph – Disability Rights Oregon
Dan Handelman – Portland Copwatch
Richard Elliot – Jim’s friend
Sam Adams – Mayor of Portland
Ted Wheeler – Multnomah County Commission chair