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‘Traficant’ filmmaker sure he’ll reach goal

Published: Sun, November 27, 2011 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Amanda C. Davis


With just days to go, Los Angeles filmmaker Eric Murphy is optimistic he’ll reach a $25,000 fund- raising goal to help finish a documentary about former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr.

As of Saturday night, Murphy had raised $18,740 pledges on Kickstarter.com, a fund-raising platform for creative projects. Kickstart allows only 60 days for fundraising. The deadline for pledges is 9:25 p.m. EST Wednesday.

At least 112 people have volunteered to contribute, with a few pledging $1,000 or $2,500.

There are incentives to donate. Depending on the level of the donation, Murphy is offering hand-written thank-you notes, signed DVDs of the documentary, Traficant T-shirts and two jars of his mother’s hot peppers. Pledges of $5,000 or more will receive an executive-producing credit.

Murphy, who grew up in Warren, estimates that at least 75 percent of donors have a Youngstown or Warren connection. Colleagues have ponied up a “good chunk of the money,” he said, and the rest are people he doesn’t know.

Murphy has spent about $10,000 of his money already and has met with network agents and producers who may be interested in airing it. He also has plans to enter the documentary in film festivals.

The 90-minute documentary, “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown,” explores the rise and fall of Traficant, who served seven years in federal prison for bribery, racketeering and other charges. He was released in 2009.

Traficant is not involved in the project, which includes interviews with Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains, former Youngstown Mayor Patrick J. Ungaro, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Vindicator columnist Bertram de Souza, FBI agents, judges and “Modern Family” star Ed O’Neill, a Youngstown native.

Murphy, 35, said the project should be wrapped up in late 2012 and that he’s grateful for support he’s received from the Mahoning Valley and beyond.

“Reaching the $25,000 goal is very important because it creates momentum for the project moving forward,” Murphy said by telephone last week. This will demonstrate to potential distributors the film is legitimate and already has cultivated an audience, he explained.

Cleveland-based comedian Mike Polk Jr. is listed as a donor and says he believes in Murphy’s project. The two attended Warren’s JFK High School together and have stayed in touch since.

They support each other and both know how hard it can be to work in a creative field, Polk said.

“He’s always supported me in any of my ridiculous comedic pursuits,” he said. “I’m happy for him and proud of what he’s doing.”

To view the documentary’s trailer or contribute, visit www.kickstarter.com and type “Traficant” into the search field.


1wytv4me(6 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Didn't Boom Boom Mancini already produce a good documentary about Youngstown that detailed Traficant? It even had the same people in it; Ed O'Neill, Paul Gains and the same clips!

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2chevinsea(32 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh Goody lets glorify this THUG! He is a joke.

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3kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

What part of "We don't want any part of it!" Mr. Murphy don't you understand? All you're interested in is the almighty buck. And in the meantime you're hurting a lot of innocent people who had nothing at all to do with the crimes committed in Youngstown. You will make us a laughing stock to the country AGAIN!!! The only people contributing to your movie are the people who want their 15 minutes of fame. Hasn't Youngstown had more than 15 minutes?? Give us a break you moron!!

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4Superstar7(122 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Traficant is a CONVICTED criminal.
His own speeches at Stambaugh Auditorium demonstrate he is a racist.
If he was convicted for all his crimes, he would remain is prison his entire life.
Does this video examine how his wife hid assets?
Correct name for this video:
"Traficant, LOUD & IGNORANT...the sheriff that was financed & supported by crime figures."

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5YSU_Alumna(60 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Give me a break...Traficant is a crook who stole so much money you'd think he could afford a decent toupee. I remember his cock and bull stories to explain taking money from the mob; asking one of his deputies to drive alongside him on the freeway and shoot into his van so it would appear to be a mob hit! What a joke. Superstar is right. If the judicial system in Y-town was legitimate back then, Traficant WOULD be in jail for life. I cannot believe that there are naive people that think he has done so much good for the community. Maybe he's done much less than an HONEST politician would have. I miss my friends in Y-town and I miss Mill Creek Park but I don't miss Traficant's malarky.

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6kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

philobeto - You say I"M jeaolous of a convicted felon?? Read all the previous comments. Traficant was a delusional moron who hung out with mobsters. He put Youngstown on the map for all the wrong reasons. Thank God he and his ilk are gone. It's going to take one hell of a long time to get over the stigma. Oh and by the way you moron, I have 2 college degrees and a decent job. You don't even know me - but I know your kind of person. You think a big mouth and a bully attitude will intimidate people. That proves you don't know me. Traficant can't even get elected as a pooper scooper in the local kennel. Get over it!

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7wytv4me(6 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Here is the movie Boom Boom produced last year:



It detailed Traficant's rise and fall as sheriff and congressman.

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8wytv4me(6 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Boom Boom's documentary is called Youngstown: Still Standing and it beat this new one to the punch!

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9wytv4me(6 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Just to be clear, I don't agree with hurrdurr - I don't condone blasting the filmmaker. I wish him luck in his career. I was just pointing out that this particular subject matter was in a documentary that was already made by Youngstown natives... last year!

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10kensgirl(1057 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

dimebag - I know my history!! I LIVED through it. Same old story from you Jimbo lovers. Everyone else does it so it's ok! NO, it's NOT ok.. Ever hear 2 wrongs don't make a right? Talk about Youngstown mentality!!! Your kind is done in this town and good riddance to you! Put THAT in your history book HONEY!!!!!!

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11Askmeificare(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago


Everyone so tense. So full of passion.

Here is something for you, especially you fans of the 80's:


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