“SCAM” is an electrifying crime drama inspired by true events about the very real phenomenon of telephone fraud, the scammers who perpetrate them and the elderly victims they prey upon. Co-written by Allen Morrison, whose family has been directly affected by telephone scams. The film is directed by Patrick Sabongui and produced by Sage Brocklebank of “Dreams Beyond Thirty”–a Vancouver-based production company. The film was entered into the Cinecoup film accelerator contest in 2013. Read more at the SCAM Press page…
Synopsis: What would you do if your grandfather got scammed; how would you protect him? What if your grandfather wasn’t the one who needed protecting? In an attempt to save his family, Vincent (name of actor), a telephone scam-artist, goes too far and targets a clever victim who turns the tables and forces him to take on his own boss. A lighting paced, gritty crime drama that explores the seedy underbelly of telephone cons and the lowlifes who perpetrate them, SCAM is also a story about the delicate relationship between fathers and sons and the need for redemption. In a world where the fraudsters are rarely prosecuted, Vincent’s victim pushes back, hurtling both men towards a climax so satisfying that anyone who has ever suffered this type of crime will finally feel the sense of vengeance that they have longest for.
Producer’s Note: In 2012, over 76 million dollars was lost to telephone scams originating in Canada. One victim was the grandfather of Dreams Beyond Thirty’s co-founder Allen Morrison. Defrauded out of tens of thousands of dollars over the phone by a crew working from another country, the crime had a ripple effect throughout the entire family and continues to effect his grandfather everyday. When Allen first came to me with this very personal story, it was shocking to see how easily an intelligent and capable citizen could be taken for so much money. It lead to many discussions about the crime, and the perpetrator, and how these criminal groups prey on their marks. We quickly realized this had never been explored in film before – and SCAM was born. As an actor, I’m always on the hunt for strong material that is truthful and fresh, with scenes and situations that haven’t been done endlessly onscreen before. As a producer, I look for the same qualities in projects that I develop and SCAM is no exception. It’s not only a crime thriller, but an exploration of both the victim AND the criminal. It treats both sides equally, seeing the motivation and desperation for Vincent and Clarence, and instead of judging either side, the material tries to understand the characters and pushes the audience to do the same. What also sets SCAM apart is the in-depth research and access the creative team has had to real-life telephone scam artists – both past and present – and to their victims. This has brought an authenticity and legitimacy to the project that comes through in the plot, its characters and emotional drive. There’s so much about this project that I’m excited to share with the world – its subject matter, the characters it studies and the pure rollercoaster ride that it will provide an audience. Packed with surprises and thrills, SCAM is a crime thriller that will have a lasting impression on all audiences that get to experience the film.
Director’s Note: “What makes good people do bad things?” It’s a timeless question humans have always pondered. To make sense of chaos or to understand the pathology of criminals. But one can argue, what we’re really after is trying to discover what inside of all of us can tip someone into making these choices, doing these bad things. Could we ever become that person? SCAM is the story of two otherwise decent men who are cornered into doing reprehensible things. They’re not ambitious or evil; they are desperate. The story introduces Vincent and Clarence as people on opposite sides of the coin – one good, one bad – pitted against each other on either side of a telephone scam. When Vincent breaks the rules and makes contact with his victim, the predator becomes the prey, and the prey becomes the predator. They ultimately team-up out of necessity to shake down Vincent’s bosses, and surprisingly we see that clear line of good and bad blur until there is no line. Just because a person being is capable of committing fraud or vigilantism, doesn’t mean they are amoral or without humanity. We are complex creatures that each follow our moral compass, and the best material in film and television has the power to open our eyes to other perspectives. This project forces us to see the scammer as a dedicated father and to appreciate the vengeful anger in the victim. Both men are ashamed, desperate and reluctantly resort to violence to gain retribution. They’re both driven by the desire to do something good and noble. They both want to be better parents, to leave a legacy for their families, to make a positive impact on the lives of those they love. But find they must transgress to survive long enough to make things right. Visually, the film begins by contrasting two worlds: the gritty, frenetic and shiny world of the scammers versus the quiet, staid, sheltered world of the victim. Once the worlds collide and we begin to hurtle towards the inevitable confrontation between our duo and the criminals, the pace accelerates and the tone shifts to reflect the careening logic of the plan and the unstoppable momentum of the actions they take to exact their revenge. It’s a bumpy ride, but the world of scammers is full of personalities, quick wits and humour. There’s a life affirming playfulness to these dark characters and their lifestyle leads us to sexy locations, parties and individuals.