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The Truth Cabin: A gonzo journalism meditation on a NFL Star's video poster
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This isn't reality TV, it's a real-life look into life with NFL star Ricky Williams & the struggle of a filmmaker capturing the drama. Read more

Seattle, WA Documentary
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This isn't reality TV, it's a real-life look into life with NFL star Ricky Williams & the struggle of a filmmaker capturing the drama.

Seattle, WA Documentary
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Sean Pamphilon
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Sean Pamphilon

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About this project

Yeah, that’s me in the picture there wearing the Cocky T-shirt…..and yes,  me attempting to do Cobra….looks pretty painful, huh.   Well it was.  The thing about it is I’m not sure if the pain on my face is expressing my mental anguish or physical torment.  I was experiencing both as I lived and worked in a California ashram for 3 months with Ricky Williams, who in 2004 retired from his Hall of Fame track NFL career to pursue other interests.  Ricky’s story blew up in such a huge controversy amongst fans, players, and especially the media.  I was there, at his request, to capture the scene as it unraveled and to tell Ricky’s story. To tell the Truth.

Cue music….(definitely strings)

And thus this film…….The Truth Cabin.

In a way this seems like a lifetime ago but it is still very real to me and I am still sorting out what happened during those 6 years I followed the star running back.

Ricky Williams quit the NFL in 2004 and seduced me with the possibility of greatness.

When the “disgraced” NFL superstar called me at 2am, shortly after retiring, I was in shock, but in a way it was a call I'd been expecting. Traveling the world in bare feet, in an effort to feel more connected to the earth, one night in late August, 2004, Errick Lynne Williams looked up at the stars and proclaimed,

"I think we met for a reason, Sean."

I had been working in sports television for 10 years. My star was rising in the media and I was hungry for a drop, okay, as the t-shirt reveals, maybe a bit more then a drop, of greatness.

I had followed Ricky’s career as an essayist and as a fan.  He was like no other player I’d met, he seemed more real to me, and we instantly connected despite our 8-year age difference.  I did a couple stories on him in college and we built the beginnings of a relationship based on mutual respect for our work.

To this day, I consider my bond with Ricky, tenuous and complicated, but our roots were spectacularly similar. We connected, perhaps unconsciously, because neither Ricky nor I, were grounded or mature enough--coming out of college--to handle the invasions and obligations that come along with high profile success, or in his case, iconic fame. At the same time, we both had the tangible skills and internal desire to be the best, in our respective fields.

We worked harder then anyone else because we figured success would make us whole.

Over the next few years while I systematically sabotaged my career in the media, Ricky floundered in the NFL.  He had a difficult time with injury in New Orleans and then failed the first of 4 drug tests.  As I quit my job and went on the road documenting Ricky’s story we were both trying to fill holes. Ricky assuaged his with a life seeking knowledge and inspiration while I…. well, I was exposed to this knowledge but couldn’t get out of my own way enough to allow the inspiration on board. Cut to the painful, painful cobra.

But Ricky pursued. He tough-loved me into self-doubt and re-examination.

For a time, whenever I tried to do my job, he would just shut down.  My job, as we conceived it, was to get him back on task, put his journey in context and call him on his inconsistencies.  I challenged him to face some of his own demons, but he ALWAYS had an answer.

And he had an answer. "It's your Karma..."

And he had an answer.  "I'll respect you, when you respect yourself."

And he had an answer.  "You need to learn to dance with life, Sean..."

What did I want?

I just wanted an untouchable blank canvas

and an artists fighting chance to be the best that ever was.  

Simple. 

We did eventually make a film, Run Ricky Run, for ESPN.  It even won some awards.  I am very proud of the work that was done on that film.  However, it is not the real story, it is not the whole story and I can’t wait to show you what actually happened.  How Ricky Williams changed my life.

Watch the video and you will see a glimpse into what I’m talking about.  I have over 250 hours of this stuff…..it’s incredible!

You might be thinking…..

That’s a lot of money….what will you be using it for?

This film is 90% shot and after a few final follow-up interviews my team & I will begin the post-production process, which will be completed by the upcoming Super Bowl, in Indianapolis. The money raised through Kickstarter will be used for the following...

• Follow-up interviews with Ricky & other important key players

• Creative (offline) Editorial of the film & bonus material

• Licensing fees for music & still photos

• HiDef' Online Finishing, Color-correction, Audio Mixing & Mastering

Where did the title The Truth Cabin come from?

When I entered the ashram I was assigned a cabin and it was called, Truth. Random and yet completely relevant I conducted some of my most controversial interviews with Ricky to date. These were life-changing interactions in which Ricky turned the tables on me throwing my own journalistic methods in my face and effectively out the door.  It was on.

What will you see in this film that you did not see in Run Ricky Run?

This film will reveal a side of Ricky that has never before been seen.  All of the footage is exclusive and has never been viewed by a larger audience.  This is not over-produced reality TV.  No Ochocinco’s or TO’s or game day “follow arounds.” This is access to the life and struggles of a sports star that is unprecedented.

This film also begs the question, “What of the media?”  What is their part in all of this? I was in an interesting position having been a part of the media machine and yet I had spent my career trying to distance myself from the uglier workings of that machine.

Where will this film be shown?

We will be seeking independent distribution for this film.

What are you going to do with the profits form the film?

Ricky & I intend to donate 10% each of our profits from, The Truth Cabin, to the United Negro College Fund & The Ricky Williams Foundation.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    3 backers

    Thanks for believing in this film. You are a good Samaritan. You will receive a personal thank you email from the director and access to exclusive bonus material on The Truth Cabin website as it becomes available.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    12 backers

    You, fine people, will receive a digital download of The Truth Cabin film and one special never-before-heard "Rickyism" as a ring-tone for your mobile device.

  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    2 backers

    For a mere $10 more you will receive the digital download of the film in SD or HD, access to multiple ringtones PLUS access to special bonus material on The Truth Cabin website. Give a shout out to the bonus material!

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    7 backers

    Special Edition DVD, which will include special bonus material, and a personal message from director Sean Pamphilon.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    4 backers

    This is the “Truth Cabin Package.” It is a digital download of the film, special thanks credit in the film and on the web-site, and a cool limited edition Truth Cabin T-shirt.

  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)

    At this level we offer the Truth Cabin Package PLUS a personal thank-you call from the director Sean Pamphilon. He’s a really interesting guy!

  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    0 backers Limited (25 left of 25)

    For just another $100 you will get the Truth Cabin Package and not just a personal thank you call but a 15 minute Skype session with the ever interesting, guy who is full of stories and information about sports, journalism, filmmaking, poetry, you name it…..director Sean Pamphilon.

  • You selected
    Pledge $350 or more

    1 backer Limited (39 left of 40)

    This is a very special, limited edition reward, an official signature football signed and numbered by Exec. Producer Ricky Williams & Director Sean Pamphilon. Oh yeah, and we'll send you a Special Edition signed DVD too!

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)

    This is pretty exciting...this is where you get actual credit in the film. Yes, you too can be on IMDB! We're calling it the “Producers Package.” Welcome! For this level incentive you'll receive an Associate Producer credit in the film and on the The Truth Cabin website, a limited edition Truth Cabin T-Shirt and a Special Edition signed DVD.

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (25 left of 25)

    Not only will you receive The “Producers Package” and the resounding fame that comes along with it (Associate Producer credit in the film and web-site, limited edition T shirt and signed Special Edition DVD) but also 2 VIP tickets to the premiere (travel not included).

  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)

    This level of incentive entitles you to major bragging rights. You will receive 2 VIP tickets to the premiere (travel not included), an invitation to dinner with the filmmakers before the premiere, plus the Producers Package. You will also receive a copy of a special edition book which includes exclusive pictures of Ricky and Sean intermixed with Sean's sports poetry.

  • You selected
    Pledge $3,500 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Receive your PFA! You're invited to spend two days at the Pamphilon Film Academy in Seattle (travel not included) with director Sean Pamphilon where you'll learn valuable tricks-of-the-trade and be encouraged to contribute at least one creative idea that makes it into the film and who knows you might end up in the behind-the-scenes DVD extras! You'll also receive 2 VIP tickets to the premiere (travel not included), an invitation to dinner with the filmmakers before the premiere, plus the Producers Package.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (7 left of 7)

    By supporting this ground-breaking film on this level you will receive a special Co-Executive Producer credit in the film, a special screening in your very own home with director Sean Pamphilon, 2 VIP premiere tickets (travel not included), an invitation to dinner with the filmmakers before the premiere, a football signed by Ricky & Sean, a limited edition Truth Cabin T-shirt and a signed Special Edition DVD.

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    We will laud you up and down. Contributing on this level will get you “we couldn’t have done it without you” status. It will also get you an Executive Producer credit as well as a screening in your home city with the filmmakers (US only). You will also receive 4 VIP tickets to the premiere (travel not included), an invitation to dinner with the filmmakers before the premiere, a football signed by Ricky & Sean, a limited edition Truth Cabin T-shirt and a signed Special Edition DVD. Yippee!

Funding period

- (41 days)