This Veteran’s Day I want to highlight a filmmaker, Jack Marino, Producer/Director Jack Marino who honors all the Vietnam era veterans in his independent feature film called “Forgotten Heroes.” This moving film is about a Russian General, played by veteran character actor William Smith, that defects for freedom during the Vietnam War. He is joined by a wonderful ensemble cast.
Marino has an interesting backstory. A student of the Boston Catholic school system his early life, he eventually went to Northeastern University in Boston and graduated with a BA in Criminal Justice. This was his first massive exposure to the 60s radical malcontent mindset. It was at Northeastern that he started doing theater in the round. His first Shakespearean role was Ross in Macbeth. After two years of fencing and acting in plays he wanted to get into Repertory Theater. Once he was out of Northeastern, his former teacher/director cast him as Cyrano de Bergerac in that ambitious play she was directing. Four weeks into rehearsal the play was shut down for lack of funds. Sounds familiar? This would be a way of life in the world of independent filmmaking once he got to Hollywood.
After the play shut down he got into his 1971 Dodge Charger and headed for Hollywood for six months. While out here he met a lot of film stars, old prize fighters who knew everyone from the old days of Hollywood. His plan was to get a feel for the place. He worked in a couple of films and then returned home to marry his high school sweetheart. Back in Everett, they both worked for another two years. By mid ’80 they were back living in Los Angeles.
During the next four years he formed two production companies, had a couple of scripts and was taking them around to all the studios. In ’83 he raised private funds to produce his first independent film “KILLZONE”. It was one of the biggest hits of the 1985AFM and it changed the entire film market to low budget action films. In Jan. of ’86 he was asked by his DP on KILLZONE to put together the film, “Hell’s Outlaw” and borrowing a friend’s credit card he made the film. By the fall of ’86 he began putting together the film project called “FORGOTTEN HEROES”. Little would he know that this film would end up becoming his Calypso in this twenty-year odyssey.
“FORGOTTEN HEROES” is a well produced indie film and a very touching and gritty story about the Vietnam War. William Smith gives a phenomenal performance as the defecting Soviet General. David Campbell also gave a winning performance. Marino is a true patriot for creating this amazing film that will have viewers of the edge of their seats.
What I really liked was that it was a positive portrayal of our brave troops, who really don’t get enough appreciation for sacrificing their lives for our freedom.
Jack has been married now for thirty-two years to a green-eyed Irish girl he met in 1969. Their daughter, now married, recently gave birth to “Identical twin girls”. Their son is in the Army and recently finished his tour of duty with the 25th INF DIV in a Striker Brigade in Baghdad, Iraq and is now with the Army Reserves here in Los Angeles.
By the way, he still has that ’71 Dodge Charger, still has that same girl, and when the world was young, they went everywhere in that car. He would tell her of his dreams, making films in Hollywood, living up on Mulholland Farm, having fat kids and watching their vineyards grow! Now that their kids are out on their own, he is with his girl again, only he can remember when.
More info about the film at http://www.forgottenheroesthemovie.com/