"Sometimes you have to let people think they are smarter than you.
Let them have the illusion of control. It's the only way you can get them
to believe what you want."
Richard Nixon invites Jackie Gleason on a midnight ride to see aliens at a Top Secret Florida Airforce Base.
Richard Nixon, Jackie Gleason...the history you never knew."
About the Director
Is the Director, Writer and actor of Searchlight. He portrays Richard Nixon in this marvelously captivating film. Owen is an independent filmmaker in the local Twin Cities (Minnesota) market for over a decade. He has several awards under his belt that include best director and best writer. Some of his most recent films include, Away We Go, The Moment You Wake, Half Smile, The Wolf, You’re in Trouble" and many more. His goal is to direct and write more engaging stories that explore reality, dreams and the profound experience that is the human consciousness, whether it be through genre films, sci-fi, horror, comedy or films that ground themselves in day-to-day existence we experience. No matter the challenge of the film, his goal is to bring complexity to characters.
One of my interests in life besides film is Ufology. I love UFOs, and stories about them. I came across a story too good to be true, involving Richard Nixon and Jackie Gleason.
In 1978, Beverly McKittrick, Jackie Gleason’s, Ex-wife, gave an interview for a magazine and where she described the night then President Richard Nixon, Showed up at the Miami home of Jackie Gleason with no security or anyone else with them. Nixon took his friend Jackie Gleason to Homestead Air force base to show him a crate that he claimed to contain a UFO. He then proceeded to show Gleason to the back part of a hangar where it is described that 3 coke freezers Housed the bodies of alien lifeforms that had been in a crash.
Beverly, claims that Gleason, had been golfing earlier in the day with Nixon at his own celebrity golf tournament. That is when Gleason, asked Nixon, if he knew anything about UFOs as president. Nixon said he had heard somethings but nothing to exciting. The part of the story that perplexed me was the idea that Nixon showed up by himself, without any secret service or a driver with him. I investigated and confirmed that 1. Gleason had in fact hosted a celebrity golf tournament where Gleason and Nixon did play together on the day and time Beverly said this took place. 2. Nixon left his security behind on more than one occasion. He eventually had his security detail tripled. His code name for the secret service was Searchlight.
Now with the admission that there is in fact UFOs in the atmosphere being verified by the U.S. government, this story starts to look more and more probable. Also, that this is just too weird not to be true is why I had to make this story into a short film. It gave me characters, drama, comedy, and some aliens to top it off. What more do you want in a film?
- Owen Royce, Writer and Director
When skill and passion collide
Reyna Rios-Starr also known as Reyna Rios, is the producer for Searchlight and brought the project to its feet in collaboration with skilled and passionate artists. In addition, she is an indie film actress, most recently appearing in “Soldier, Away We Go, The Misanthrope” and also manages Twin Cities Latinx Artists a social media networking group for Latinx artists. Her goal is to continue to act and produce in thought provoking stories that speak to diverse audiences.
Director of Photography
Tim Schrader is an award-winning Minneapolis based cinematographer with experience in both commercial and narrative filmmaking. Over the years, Tim has worked on music videos, short films, documentaries, and feature films. He is always looking for unique ways to elevate any project he is involved in. His favorite type of stories are those that toe the line between reality and the surreal or magical.
Actor, Jackie Gleason
E.J. Subkoviak has been acting professionally in the Twin Cities for 23 years, having appeared at such venues as Hey City Theater, the Jungle Theater, the History Theater, and perhaps most frequently at Park Square Theater, where he became the first actor to play fictional detective Nero Wolfe onstage in "The Red Box" and "Might as Well Be Dead", and played Lennie Small in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" in four separate productions. He has also made appearances in several independent film projects, including "How To Live Better" for the Ehling Brothers (Mark and Matt), and Collision Pictures' "The Good Friend", playing the ghost of JFK (yes, that JFK).