SOURCE: Director Dempsey Tillman

Director Dempsey Tillman

August 18, 2010 09:48 ET

Director Dempsey Tillman Makes His Mark With Supernatural Collector

Never Released to the Public, Film Features Brad Renfro in Last Role Before Untimely Passing

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - August 18, 2010) -  Does life imitate art? Or does great art reflect life? Collector, Dempsey Tillman's directorial debut, is a haunting film of a man seemingly lost and alone. Played to great effect by Brad Renfro, the short film, shot before his death in 2008, seemed to echo his own struggles. Ultimately a message of redemption, Collector has more than 20 awards to its credit, and has screened at film festivals around the world, garnering "Best Short Film," "Best Director" for Tillman and "Best Actor" for Renfro among others. Never before released to the public, the film, which also stars Matthew Boylan, has just been made available on

Written and edited by Tillman, Collector focuses on a down on his luck man's battle (Renfro) with himself and the forces of good and evil (Boylan). Dempsey's skill with suspense, story and special effects makes the ending one few will see coming.

Says Tillman, "Brad was driven to take part in this project because he felt he had a connection to the story and to the character. He wanted the opportunity to express a small part of himself through Justin. In the film, thanks to the Collector, Justin was ultimately saved, which is something I feel Brad was looking for too."

Part of the proceeds from the sale of the film will go to benefit D.A.R.E. at the Knoxville Police Department, which educates teens about drug abuse. It was a cause close to Renfro's heart, and where he was discovered as a young actor.

Collector is the basis for another of Dempsey's next feature film project, The Almighty. A supernatural genre-crossing film also written by Dempsey, The Almighty tells the tale of a faithless man, Oscar Renfro, who is gifted with the ability to tear demons from the possessed. The movie combines the same cutting edge of the seat special effects briefly glimpsed in Collector and will be shot in 3-D. The lead character was named in honor of Brad.

One of a growing number of young African American directors changing the field of filmmaking, Dempsey has worked with Hollywood's most respected directors, including Sam Raimi, Robert Redford, Rob Reiner, Antoine Fuqua, and Justin Lin among others.

Said Grant Curtis, producer of the Spider Man franchise, "Collector showcases Dempsey's ability to craft a story, direct actors, create an aesthetic, and ultimately deliver an experience that connects with an audience. Dempsey is a true talent."

Actor Matthew Boylan, who played the title role in Collector added, "Dempsey Tillman is an amazing director to work with. There is so much emotion and drama flowing through his work that it could have been almost too much, but Dempsey knows how to draw the line between subtlety and suspense."

A native of Michigan, Dempsey grew up with a love of filmmaking and an 8mm in his hand. Encouraged by his mother and aunts, he set out for Hollywood, and almost immediately landed a job on The Sixth Day. Since then, he has worked on over 30 blockbuster films while writing, editing and honing his skills.

Dempsey is available for interviews. For more information about Collector, go to or view the trailer at Collector will also be released internationally through Shorts International.

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