Not Easily Forgotten: Local filmmaker revisits an unsolved murder

Toledo Local Features  |  05/10/2013

Growing up near Whitehouse, filmmaker Chad Foltz is no stranger to the whirlwind of speculation and deep pool of theories surrounding the 1983 murder of teenager Janean Brown. Supposedly jealous ex-boyfriends and the son of a local Fortune 500 company's president were considered suspects, inconclusive specks of blood were found on a knife that remains in a box of evidence locked away in some police room and outlandish rumors of cults and God knows what else circulated. (If you're unfamiliar with the details of the case, I strongly suggest reading this Toledo Blade article, published 20 years after the murder.) But, Foltz's film, Untold Lie, which is based on the Brown case, doesn't look for answers or attempt to tie together a theory; instead it takes a backbone of hard facts and creates a mostly fictional tale, loosely based on the real-life tragedy that still, 30 years later, continues to impact and haunt a tight-knit community. caught up with Foltz to talk about the film and why he is releasing it for free on Youtube.

A couple years ago, when you were writing it, you were telling me about Untold Lie. It's based on the 1983 real-life murder of a teenage girl, right?

It is, but it's really hard to actually find anything on it. We tried to look around, but finally we had to go to the Toledo Library and look at old copies of newspapers and finally we got ahold of [some information.]


So, with the source material from the library, what did you discover about that murder?

Well, it was unsolved. There were all these weird theories on who might of done it. We always heard stories; I grew up just outside of Whitehouse, in Monclova, actually. It was just kind of this weird urban legend, but we knew it was true, ya know. We kind of wanted to treat it that way. We weren't trying to solve anything. We weren't really trying to base it on facts. The story that we made is quite different from what actually happened, but it has some elements of truth in there. We did that partly because these are real people lives, so we wanted to be respectful. 


Was it tough to walk that line, between the scattered facts you squeezed from the old papers and the story that you wanted to create?

We gathered all of these facts, created a plot and then thought of what would work. And we just kind of cut out the things that didn't like, I would assume, any inspired-by or based-on film or book.

Why did you decide to release it for free?

Based on past experiences, we decided that exclusivity hurts; the more people that get it the better. So what's a place where everybody can go see it: Youtube. We thought we would put it up there and see what happens. We do have other plans for it down the road, so we will have to take it down. We would like to enter it into some film festivals. 


The music in the movie is great. Who did that?

I have a friend named Dylan Wise, who did some of the songs. The Miracle Vitamins did two of the last three songs they do a song over the narration at the end and they do the first song of the credits. And, weirdly enough, I found this guy in Austria we just started talking over the Internet. And he does this really, really pretty post-rock stuff. I asked him if I could use it, just thinking that there was no way he would let me. I barely know this guy; we've only had small conversations. And he was just like, 'Yeah, go ahead." I think, honestly, if it had not been for the music from him, Dylan and The Miracle Vitamins, it wouldn't even be half as good as it is. They add a lot to it.  


Watch Untold Lie, in its entirety, here: