Private Project

Duplicitous Minds

This film is a crime thriller/drama about the mysterious world of magic, a journey of hypnotism, heists, illusions and fun with many thrilling twists and turns.  The entire film is structured like a long form magic trick with hidden clues, symbols and meanings. The theme of the movie is the choice between love (The Queen of Hearts) and power (The Ace). The dichotomy of one man’s lust for power (Ace of Spades) and one man’s loyalty to love (Queen of Hearts) propels our lead into a labyrinth of traversing a heart torn in two.  It's a battle between traditional magic vs digital magic as a Magician and the Artist (a crooked businessman) team up for a heist that turns into a magic trick and an illusion onto itself.  

The film opens with The Magician performing on stage with The Assistant.  The Magician shows the audience how magic works by manipulating the Ace to the top of a pile of cards where every card he turns over becomes an Ace. After revealing the trick, he then magically turns the Queen of Hearts into an Ace right before their eyes.

Behind the scenes, the Magician is in a love relationship with the Assistant. A mysterious man enters the magic parlor and introduces trouble to the couple. The mysterious man who calls himself “The Artist” offers the Magician a deal. The Magician ultimately decides to do a heist job for the Artist to obtain a valuable painting.

It is revealed that the Artist works in the surveillance business and is able to manipulate CCTV cameras for his benefit.  In twist of events, it is revealed that The Assistant has been working for the Artist the entire time, with the plan being a setup to steal valuable diamonds  hidden behind the painting and to have The Magician take the fall for the heist.  The Artist flaunts his power and control over the Assistant through his usage of blackmail video surveillance. But in the end, the tables are turned and the audience learns that The Magician and The Assistant were really in control the entire time.

Just like the beginning of the magic trick, the Magician had turned his queen into the ace and they both disappear into the sunset with the money and diamonds from the heist.

  • Robert Rippberger
    Strive, Alive & Kicking, Public Enemy Number One
  • Catalina Yue
    Driven, Ambition, Out of Time, The Great Chameleon
  • Sari Colt
    Executive Producer
    The Martini Shot
  • Catalina Yue
    Driven, Ambition, The Escape Games
  • Matthew Palumbo
    Key Cast
    "The Magician"
    Matthew, Brooklyn Vans, Ghost Guidos
  • Catalina Yue
    Key Cast
    "The Assistant/The Queen/The Ace"
    The Great Chameleon, Out of Time, Driven, Project Afterlife
  • Rob LaColla Jr.
    Key Cast
    "The Artist"
    Indemnity, The Cincinnati Spin
  • Arap Bethke
    Key Cast
    "The Benevolent Cop"
    Ugly Betty, Buscando a Frida, Gradu Fabric of Lies, 39 Weeks, Guadalupe Reyes
  • Jason Fay
    Key Cast
    "The Corrupt Cop"
    Change of Plans, The Story of Mary, Queen of Scots, Altered Reality
  • Chris Wadhams
    Key Cast
    "The Suspect"
    Solus, Plan C
  • Matthew Palumbo
    Associate Producer
    Matthew, Brooklyn Vans ,Ghost Guidos
  • Sean Emer
    The Shattering, Millenials: The Musical, Movie 43
  • Joe Yoav Arden
    Juda, The Big Nothing
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Drama, Heist, Crime, Psychological Thriller
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Canada, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Robert Rippberger

Robert Rippberger is a filmmaker with a broad array of creative and executive experience. He most recently directed and produced the Harlem drama, 'Strive,' with Danny Glover released theatrically and through AMC's Urban Movie Channel, as well as the war on drugs documentary, 'Public Enemy Number One' from Executive Producer Ice-T.

In 2016, Robert directed/produced the documentary "7 Days in Syria," a look at the human side of the war in Aleppo. The film was championed by Angelina Jolie, screened at Britain’s House of Lords, to senior members of the U.N., and was released on Hulu and Amazon.

Robert went on to executive produce with Jason Blum the feature doc, "Alive & Kicking." The film was sold to Magnolia Films after its debut at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival where it received a Grand Jury nomination. The film is available on Netflix.

In 2006, Robert formed the production company SIE Films, a philosophy term used to describe a disclosing of truth, with a view to make entertaining and impactful films for mass audiences. He was the 2012 recipient of the Dan Eldon Activist Award.

Robert received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UC, Berkeley in 2012 where he was awarded the Eisner Prize for his film "In the Middle." It is considered the highest achievement in the creative arts given on the UC, Berkeley campus. Across animation, documentaries, features, music videos, and commercials, Robert has extensive experience from development to delivery throughout North America and Europe. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America and is on the PGA's Social Impact Entertainment Task Force. In addition to SIE Films, Robert is also president of FinalMation Studios, an animation studio founded with Ice-T and others.

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