A Screenplay by Trina Smolen & Mercedes Maharis
©2007Trina Smolen & Mercedes Maharis Reg. WGAw

Trina Smolen...............................................Mercedes Maharis

A drive-by shooting in 2001 left Trina Smolen partially paralyzed and wondering if she were going to watch Turner Classic Movies the rest of her life.

Instead she drew upon her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Arizona, plus 26 years of administrative experience in resort sales, city government, and academia and turned to writing and delivering presentations on southwestern history to one audience and disability issues to another.

When Trina is not researching and writing on historical or autobiographical topics, she volunteers on disability issues and develops presentations and programs addressing the challenges of the disabled to businesses, support groups, and public forums.

Trina writes:

Purely Murder, the story of the Camp Grant Massacre of 1871, grew from a college thesis to the current screenplay, with a desire to remember those individuals who fought to make the brutal tide of Manifest Destiny less unconscionable.

Historians are often asked if it is fair to judge the actions of the past from our seat in the present. Most would answer, “Yes,” when we can find those individuals who challenged, either grandly or in some small manner, the oppressive or unjust trends of their time.

LT Royal E. Whitman was such an individual -- perhaps a result of his Unitarian Universalist upbringing, uniquely progressive for its time, perhaps from what he witnessed in the Civil War, or possibly by what he would come to face in the attempted extermination of the Apache people in the Arizona Territory of 1871.

We may never know why. Yet, LT Whitman, a realist who knew he could not stem the tide of Manifest Destiny, acted to make that manifest tragedy a little less unconscionable.

Trina Smolen

In 1982, Mercedes founded her own video production company, Mercedes Maharis Productions, in Santa Monica, California and became one of the first home video pioneers, establishing the Equestrian Video Library, the world's largest information resource on videotape about the horse.

In addition to writing and producing educational films, she wrote and produced television commercials, as well as corporate industrials and independent projects after moving to her larger studio in Culver City, California.

Retiring to Las Vegas, NV and later moving to southern Arizona, she renewed her filmmaking and began to work on border issues productions. She and Trina met and became friends and cowriters because of their mutual insterest in social issues.

Her recently completed Arizona Border Film Series includes her widely acclaimed flagship production CRIES FROM THE BORDER, about life and death on our border with Mexico. National newspaper coverage included Patrick Goldstein's review in The Los Angeles Times, Tuesday, 13 June 2006.

In addition to Purely Murder, Ms. Maharis is also working to produce an exciting, current adventure feature film, THE PRINCE OF PERU, by award winning writer Larry Pederson. Also based on a true story, this gripping project takes place during the turmoil of social rebellion in Latin America.

Ms. Maharis currently lives in Las Vegas, NV with her husband Robert, a retired film location manager in the motion picture industry. Many ask, and yes, actor George Maharis is her brother-in-law.

Mercedes writes:

History teaches us how to build a better present and future. Our road has been difficult, yet, in every culture, we continue to overcome obstacles and give our gifts to advance civilization.

Purely Murder, our screenplay, celebrates one man's struggle in 1871, to do the right thing, in the volatile Arizona Territory.

Set against the inspiring beauty of a seemingly boundless land, mistrust among cultures is a theme that still creates deadly vortices today. Our film tells a tale of the black holes of unspeakable violence inside our humanity in the Old West USA. Yet, LT Whitman, one strong person, does not allow his personal weaknesses to silence his voice and action. His compassion toward the hated Aravaipa Apaches becomes his mission.

We bring LT Royal E. Whitman to life in Purely Murder to renew our faith in ourself and in others. The actions of one determined person, imperfect as that person may be, can make a positive difference in life amid our world's turmoil and grief today.

Mercedes Maharis MA MS MA

Purely Murder Home Page.

copyright©2008 Mercedes Maharis & Trina Smolen***15 July 2015