Treasure of the Black Jaguar
Synopsis: Two boys with a get-rich-quick scheme end up in prison, but when they meet a famed treasure hunter named Blake West with a plan to break out they agree to journey out into the unforgiving desert to uncover a mysteriously cursed artifact. Blake West’s former employer, a Japanese industrialist, is determined to beat our hero to the treasure and stop the boys by any means necessary.
Featuring music by: The Vandelles, Gram Rabbit, The Dandy Warhols, Spindrift, and more.
Michael Drayer (Shlomo)
Timothy V. Murphy (Blake West)
Masayuki Imai (Katsu Taka)
Carolyn Stotes (Gabriella)
Brandy Moreno (Adora)
Hidetoshi Imura (Goro)
Ellen Gerstein (Ms. Shaneberg)
Jessie Camacho (Julia)
With Treasure of the Black Jaguar, Cameron and I really wanted to go beyond the type of film that would normally be done on such a small budget.
We wanted to make an adventure movie that was reminiscent of 70’s cinema but not a complete throwback. My personal philosophy regarding cinema is that movies should be fun and hopefully we have achieved that with this film.
MIKE BRUCE moved to Hollywood at 19 years of age to attend the Musicians Institute and spent the following decade teaching guitar and music theory. It was during this time he first picked up a video camera and began making short films – editing them together with two VCR’s. Excited by his discoveries of being a potential filmmaker he eventually picked up a 16mm Arriflex and a computer and made a couple of shorts films – Chainsaw Love (1998) and One Dollar Girl (2000).
By this time Mike’s passion for music began to wane. Becoming disenchanted with teaching and never ‘doing’ he joined a friends band (Low Flying Owls) and soon found himself touring the country, moving up the CMJ charts, courted by record labels, appearing on numerous television shows such as “The Sopranos” and “One Tree Hill” and eventually going nowhere. During this time he continued to develop his filmmaking skills by making music videos for local bands. At the end of 2004 Mike decided to call it quits with the band and devote all his energy to writing and directing his own movies.
Having directly emerged from the music industry Mike decided his first project should come from a place that was close to him; from a world he understood. He found his inspiration in the music of fellow musician and Brian Jonestown Massacre alumni Kirpatrick Thomas. He first met Thomas at the CMJ music festival in 2003. The two quickly became friends and Mike soon discovered Thomas’s obsession with the west and his own original take on the music of the spaghetti western genre in the form of a pseudo soundtrack entitled “The Legend of God’s Gun”. Listening to that soundtrack Mike realized he had to make it an authentic one.
With no funding or crew, armed only with a Panasonic DVX and some musicians with cool western paraphernalia, Mike began production on “The Legend of God’s Gun” in March of 2005. Three years later the film was complete and immediately found worldwide distribution. This caught the attention of Dandy Warhol’s front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor and he recruited Mike to make several videos for their 2008 release Earth To The Dandy Warhols. A year later Actor/Producer Cameron Van Hoy saw the trailer to TLOGG and tracked Mike down to write and direct a feature project that had secured funding but no script or director. Cameron recruited Mike and in the following month they wrote the script and built a production team. The next month they were in the desert shooting Treasure of the Black Jaguar.
"A well-forged blend of Sergio Leone, Robert Rodriguez and classic B adventure movies" - Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter