Monsters Inside on Netflix: What Happened to Billy Milligan?

The story of Billy Milligan is at the center of Netflix’s new true-crime docuseries Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan, which details how he used a dissociative identity disorder diagnosis — previously referred to as multiple personality disorder — to be acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity.

After he was accused of sexual assault by four women on the Ohio State campus in 1978, Milligan avoided jail time for the offenses through the insanity ruling. But he was committed to several different mental institutions over the remainder of his life. He died of cancer in 2014 at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the state where he grew up, his sister Kathy, who is interviewed in the Netflix doc, told the Los Angeles Times.

His insanity plea hinged on the fact that multiple psychiatrists had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t Milligan’s core personality who had committed the crimes, but that he was under the control of one of his 10 other personalities — a number that ultimately increased to 24, the docuseries explains. Among the personalities, all of which had distinct accents, genders, and mannerisms, one was a Yugoslavian man named Ragen. Another was a female personality named Adalana, who admitted to being the one who committed the sexual assaults, according to the docuseries. Yet another personality was a British man named Arthur, who claimed to be able to control which personality was on “the spot,” or fronting, at any given time.

Billy Milligan Monsters Inside Netflix

Billy Milligan pictured in Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan, courtesy of Netflix

Also Read: Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan Director Asks: ‘What About the Victims?’

Though Milligan spent several years in and out of institutions, he also had stretches of living as a free man, at one point living on a farm in Ohio. He was ultimately released in 1991, according to the L.A. Times, and spent some time during the ’90s living in California, where he briefly enjoyed the Hollywood limelight when James Cameron was developing a film about his life story that ultimately never came to fruition. Milligan lived out his final years quietly near his family, according to the docuseries.

Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan was directed by Taken 2 and The Last Days of American Crime director Olivier Megaton. We spoke with him about the making of the true-crime doc and his hope that Milligan’s victims receive more recognition here.

Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is now streaming on Netflix. Main Image: Billy Milligan pictured in Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan, courtesy of Netflix.

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Directing Mogul Mowgli Taught Bassam Tariq That Honesty Is Everything (Video)

While making his BAFTA-nominated film Mogul Mowgli, director Bassam Tariq learned the value of being honest with himself and his team every step of the way.

“I’ve had a few years before Mogul Mowgli where things kind of went south for me with a few projects, so I learned very quickly that the reason why they went south was when I was trying to act smarter than I am. So, learning to just be very honest with everybody in the team is the key,” Tariq told MovieMaker’s Micah Khan in a video interview, which you can watch above.

Mogul Mowgli stars Sound of Metal star Riz Ahmed as Zed, a British Pakistani rapper who falls ill just as he is about to embark on his first world tour. It’s Tariq’s debut narrative feature film, following his first documentary film These Birds Walk, about a runaway boy and humanitarian efforts in Pakistan, and his short film, Ghosts of Sugar Land, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

Tariq says that being open to trying new ideas — and scrapping ones that didn’t work — helped him find his groove faster.

“We were constantly evolving the language of the camera,” he says. “We had very clear ideas, and then as the time was going through, it was like, ‘Wait a second — we need to throw out some of those choices that we’re making because the performance that Riz [Ahmed] was giving doesn’t reflect the camera.”

Another way that Tariq — who is also directing Marvel’s upcoming Blade remake — was able to navigate the project was by staying humble.

“Not holding anything back, not trying to [say], like, ‘And I have another trick up my sleeve!’ It’s like no, no, no, everything is clear and honest. And what that means is admitting you don’t fucking know anything.”

Riz Ahmed Mogul Mowgli

Riz Ahmed in Mogul Mowgli, courtesy of Film Forum

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One of the most challenging aspects of shooting Mogul Mowgli, Tariq says, was making solitary shots interesting.

“A lot of the film is literally shot in a hospital,” he says. “I’m not gonna lie, it’s super scary. Because like, if you’ve seen These Birds Walk or my other work, like I [think there are] more locations in Ghosts of Sugar Land, a short that I did, then there are in Mogul Mowgli, you know what I mean? And that was scary. Like that’s really, really scary to me as someone that enjoys running and gunning. I’ve made a film where the character is literally in a chair. I was like, how do we keep him active? And that was a question that Riz and I dealt with every day.”

The other most challenging aspect was being open to collaborating with actors.

“Being honest and bringing [Ahmed] on board as a very close collaborator was very new to me, because I always thought, like, you separate yourself from the actor and it looks weak for you to ask for help. And I think particularly as South Asians, man, you know, we want to be nice. We want to be liked, to get opportunities like this. It’s super weird, super hard to even believe this happened, you know?” he says. “It’s one of those things. So, you have to get over it, and you have to realize that you’re not here to win a popularity contest… you have to make people feel safe taking risks and empowering them.”

Watch the full interview above.

Mogul Mowgli is now showing in select theaters in the U.S. Main Image: Mogul Mowgli director Bassam Tariq. Photo Credit: Ryan Lash.

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Johnny Depp Blasts ‘Cancel Culture’ From Literal Platform; More Strike Talk; R.I.P. Melvin Van Peebles

Johnny Depp criticizes cancel culture as reporters hang on his every word; a strike by IATSE’s 150,000 members looks increasingly possible; R.I.P. to Melvin Van Peebles, an icon, revolutionary, and baadasssss.

Cancelled: Johnny Depp bemoaned yesterday that “no one is safe” from cancel culture, while speaking into a microphone to a room filled with journalists.  “It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled,” he said, according to dozens of articles by news agencies across the globe. “It’s not just me that this has happened to, it’s happened to a lot of people,” added the tragically deplatformed actor, while speaking from a platform. Depp spoke at the San Sebastian Film Festival, where he was presented with an award. One reporter viciously started the massacre by congratulating Depp on the award, adding, “Thank you very much for all of your performances in your career.” Will no one cut Johnny Depp a break?

Where Can I Watch This? Here is a video that has been watched so far by 10,000 people.

Strike: Leaders of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, urged their roughly 8,600 members to vote “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike against the film and TV industry, Deadline reports. IATSE represents over 150,000 editors, grips, operators, cinematographers, sound technicians, costumers, make-up artists, hair stylists, writers assistants, script coordinators and other industry professionals in North America. The union is asking producers to agree to more rest periods, higher wages and funding for IATSE’s health and pension plan.

Recommended: Variety spoke with Charlese Antoinette Jones, whose costume design credits include Judas and the Black Messiah, and script coordinator Shawn Waugh, who worked on Fear the Walking Dead, about some of the hardships they and others in the industry have faced. It illuminates the issues that could lead to a strike. Jones notes that she only started being paid scale two years ago. Waugh says he once had to step out of a funeral to deal with a script problem, with no warning. There’s much more.

R.I.P. Melvin Van Peebles: The iconic writer, director and actor, dubbed the Godfather of modern Black cinema, has died at 89. After working as a critic, playwright and author, among other jobs, he released his first feature, The Watermelon Man, in 1970. The next year, he released Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song, which he partly funded himself with his Watermelon Man salary. Budgeted at $150,000, it went on to earn $15 million, and earned praise from The Black Panther Party, among others, for being revolutionary in every sense. Last year, it was added to the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.  Melvin Van Peebles also worked with his son, Mario Van Peebles, who played his father in the 2003 biopic Baadasssss!

Sweet Sweetback’s Significance: It broke down barriers for independent filmmakers by proving they could finance and profit from their own films, proved to Hollywood that films about Black power could thrive financially, and helped spawn the Blaxploitation genre. Van Peebles also brilliantly used the soundtrack, led by Earth, Wind & Fire, to promote the film, despite having little budget for traditional marketing.

“This Film Is Dedicated to All the Brothers and Sisters Who Had Enough of the Man”: Here’s the trailer for a rerelease of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song, with praise from Spike Lee and Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton.

Main image: Johnny Depp at the San Sebastian Film Festival.


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StudioFest’s 2021 Festival Happened Inside Virtual Reality Headsets (Video)

StudioFest held this year’s film festival virtually. No, not on Zoom — inside the fantasy world of virtual reality headsets.

To pull off the virtual festival, each of the guests, including the 10 competing filmmakers, the StudioFest team, and industry professionals Evan Glodell and Patricia Vidal Delgado, were sent brand-new Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets. They used them to experience all of the weekend’s events, including watching movies in a virtual theater and mingling with other attendees via their avatars. You can get a glimpse of what the festival looked like from the inside via the video above.

“We wanted to ensure that we could host an event regardless of the state of the world, which is why we took the event this year into VR. It was so cool and we want to keep at least some VR component around in years to come,” said StudioFest co-founder Jess Jacklin.

Marking the third year of the festival, the 2021 event, which took place from Sept. 17-19, was a big departure from past years. The inaugural year of the festival took place in person in Phoenicia, New York, and the following year’s event took place in Ojai, California. Both involved soirees, readings, and screenings in which finalists were able to meet and interact with industry guests. Last year’s festival was postponed due to the pandemic, so those submissions were rolled into this year’s virtual festival, which gave finalists the next best experience to being there in person.

Also Read: Impeachment: American Crime Story Showrunner on Introducing Younger Generations to Linda Tripp

“When it’s tough to bring people to film festivals, we thought, why not bring the film festival to filmmakers? We couldn’t be happier with how the weekend went. The VR experience absolutely rivaled our in-person events in the past,” said co-founder Charles Beale. “It felt like you were in the room with everyone.”

The 10 finalists hailed from the U.S., Canada, and Thailand, and the top prize was awarded to Courtney Hope Thérond. Her prize? Making a film with StudioFest.

The first StudioFest winners Anna Mikami and Matthew Sorvillo, made the film Souvenirs, which was acquired by A+E Networks. Jessica Liu and Lowam Eyasu are slated to go into production on a feature film later this year.

For those curious to learn more about StudioFest, MovieMaker partners with them on a documentary series called Demystified, which chronicles the journey of each StudioFest feature film from concept to distribution.

Main Image: A glimpse inside of StudioFest’s VR Experience 2021, courtesy of StudioFest.

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