Unsolved Ecological Mystery Exposed by New Film Strange Nature
Ojala Productions, a Hollywood Special Makeup/Creature Effects company is actively pursuing funding on Kickstarter for the upcoming Eco-Thriller feature film Strange Nature by writer/director Jim Ojala. This is the first film to confront real unsolved frog deformity outbreaks in the U.S. and where they may lead.
North Hollywood, CA) Wednesday September 25, 2013- Writer/Director, Jim Ojala, President of Ojala Productions set to direct Strange Nature. The Eco-Thriller feature film is based on a true unsolved ecological mystery, where thousands of hideously deformed frogs have turned up in the waters of Minnesota and beyond.
Jim Ojala, a Duluth, Minnesota native said that he was intrigued by the Minnesota mutant frog outbreak when he saw the news story on ABC Nightline in 1996. (See Story). After watching the newscast, Jim’s first thought was what if the deadly mutations went beyond the frogs?
Ojala followed the story over the next few years, to find that thousands of hideously mutated frogs were still being discovered. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency investigated the mutation problem and derived several possible theories for the cause, but no conclusion was determined. In 2001, the U.S. Government pulled all research funding. The malformations have since spread to other states and even other countries-- most recently, reports from Argentina, China, and India.
For the current state of U.S. frog deformities, Ojala consulted with Dr. Pieter Johnson an Ecologist at the University of Colorado and discovered a shocking revelation. Dr. Johnson explained, “Despite reduced coverage in the media, deformed amphibians continue to be widespread and abundant in many areas. In our research in the western USA, we have described several thousand severely malformed frogs in the last three years alone, including animals with missing legs, extra limbs, and misshapen limbs. The percentage of abnormal animals at a wetland often exceeds 15% and at several sites we consistently find >80% malformed. At one pond in Oregon, every single emerging frog suffered from one or more deformities, with many animals dying before they could complete metamorphosis.” -Dr. Pieter Johnson Ecologist, University of Colorado- August, 28, 2013
The true events are the basis for Strange Nature. “It is both a thriller and a drama film of sorts”, explains Ojala, “seen through the eyes of a single-mother and her 11-year old son as the drama unfolds on a small Minnesota town which struggles to survive when the deadly mutations move beyond the ponds.” Ojala passionately believes this is a critical time for this film to be made, “it exposes a true environmental issue that has been swept under the carpet far too long”.
With the hope of attracting more attention to the ongoing deformed frog cases some U.S. Ecologists have supported Strange Nature to the extent that they have even provided live severely deformed frogs to be featured in the film which you can see in the Kickstarter pitch video.
Ojala’s goal in making this film is two-fold: 1) to bring the story to the public attention after eighteen years and 2) to trigger further research funding which could lead to finding the cause and prevent the mutations from spreading to other species.
Once production funding is secured for Strange Nature, Ojala will move forward with principal photography which will shoot in Minnesota. Currently, a fundraising campaign for the film is on Kickstarter until October 10th.
So far the film has attracted the likes of Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) and WWE Superstar Wrestler, John “Nitro” Hennigan. Both actors are set to co-star in the film.
About Jim Ojala and Ojala Productions
After graduating high school from Duluth, MN in 1995 Jim Ojala joined the local Public Access Station where he was given the opportunity to learn all aspects of video production. He collaborated with friends to create and direct a local cable-TV series, My Three Scums, a notorious horror/comedy series revolving around a family of misfits, freaks and monsters which continued for 3 years and garnered a large local following.
The success of My Three Scums, opened the door to Ojala’s first film job with Troma Studios in New York on the film, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger 4.
Following Citizen Toxie, Ojala went on to work with Tim Considine of Direct Effects in the special makeup effects department. There he worked on features, commercials, photo shoots and theatre productions. While in New York, Jim also attended the Millennium Film Program under the mentorship of experimental filmmaking pioneer, Michael Kuchar.
In 2001, Jim made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles. One of his first jobs in LA, was working on the makeup/creature effects for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Shield. Subsequently, he has also worked on numerous commercials, and features including Where the Wild Things Are and Hellboy 2 The Golden Army. Ojala’s makeup/creature effects skills continue to be a strong force in the independent film world providing makeup effects for the critically hailed, Deadgirl, as well as working with Legacy Studios on Pacific Rim.
Jim’s directing credits range from short films, TV Pilots, to music videos including: The viral hit Marvel Zombies the Movie Fan Film, Harvest- a TV pilot based on a one hour Sci-fi Thriller TV series, and Deviled Egg, a music video for the popular Los Angeles Band, The Radioactive Chicken Heads just to name a few.