The Missing Screenwriter: An Inside Job

NOTE TO NEW READERS: This blog post is part of an ongoing series explaining the mystery of Robert Hurley, which we investigate in our film, Dostoyevsky Reimagined: The Making of the Award-Winning Notes from the New World. Follow the links below this post to learn more about the mystery and the film.

Before we investigate the connection between Dark Onto Light and the Russian mafia any further, lets take a few steps back to consider another possibility. After reviewing the production journals, it has come to my attention that there are good reasons to believe the claims made by Tomasz Grzegorski. While translating the dialogues of VM Productions’ 19 award-winning video journals to Polish, Tomasz became fascinated by Robert Hurley’s disappearance. Tomasz is involved in brain-related science activities (neuromarketing, behavioral sciences, even anthropology and biology of attraction and love). If you recall from Lauren Saccone’s blog,  Lauren  introduced Tomasz to our readers as the investigator who analyzed the behind-the-scenes (pre-production) footage of Notes from the New World. To be more specific, Tomasz focused his efforts on studying how the cast and crew reacted to Hurley’s disappearance.

VM Productions' staff is about to enter Robert Hurley's studio.

VM Productions staff prepares to enter Hurley’s apartment.

I posed this question a few weeks ago, but let me reiterate its importance — If Dark Onto Light ultimately wants to retain its privacy, why then has nobody tampered with Hurley’s website? The website is the only information, besides Hurley’s journal, that is readily accessible. So, what if Dark Onto Light wasn’t actually responsible? Tomasz suggested that the cult’s involvement in Hurley’s disappearance was contrived by the Russian mafia.

The logic behind Tomasz’s theory is simple, and most importantly, believable… Natalya (i.e. the call-girl) stole money from the Russian mafia. When the mafia found out, Hurley and Natalya were killed. The mafia searched the apartment and retrieved the stolen money and they more than likely took Hurley’s laptop as well. When Vitaly Sumin (director/producer) put a team together to investigate their screenwriter’s untimely departure, the Russian mafia became uncomfortable with the situation. The mafia searched Hurley’s laptop and discovered research notes on an ancient cult: Dark Onto Light. In order to throw us off in our investigation, the mafia shifted the blame on the cult — that is, a cult who may or may not even be that dangerous.

Fear..The simplicity of this logic is very compelling, but there’s more to it than that. One of the major concerns amongst the cast and crew was their own safety. There were several people who received mysterious calls warning them about proceeding on in the investigation. Colin Walsh (1st assistant) and Ellie Araiza (originally cast as “Sonia”), for instance, were both threatened.

The Russian mafia seemed to know everything about their specific role in Clip - serie Codes- Josh and Jonthe investigation, and how much progress they were making. But how? They may have had Hurley’s computer, which contained contact information on the production team, but how could they effectively track all the information that was shared in private? Tomasz suggested that the Russian mafia used two members of the cast – Julia Emelin and Nick Tereschenko – as pawns. Their role? To plant clues that would suggest Hurley was still alive, but in hiding.

Vitaly (right) confronts Nick

Vitaly (right) confronts Nick

Julia (left)

Julia (left) tries to talk to Nick (right)

To effectively deceive the investigative team, you would need more than just a few clues left at Hurley’s apartment. You would need people on the inside to gather information and divert the attention away from the mafia. So as not to jeopardize their safety, I will not go into the specifics of their alleged involvement. I will merely suggest the possibility that Julia and Nick were forced to lie in order to survive. Even so, organized crime is a fastidious business that doesn’t leave much room for the acceptance of error. How do you count on your patsy to keep their secret? Sure, you can threaten their family’s lives, but that’s not very subtle. You can offer a large sum of money, but that doesn’t guarantee much.

At the end of the day, we still pretty much know nothing about what happened to Hurley. I will keep Tomasz’s theory in the back of my mind, but there are still some gray areas with the whole “inside job” logic. It seems almost farfetched that the Russian mafia would go through that much trouble to make us believe Hurley was in hiding. Julia may have lied about having seen Hurley in the parking lot, for instance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she was forced to lie for the mafia…

For now, lets assume that Dark Onto Light is associated with the Russian mafia.

Cover Graphic with the crewBe sure to visit our website and learn more about Robert Hurley and the film that was made about his experience at Dostoyevsky Reimagined: The Making of Notes from the New World.

Want to know more about what we do? Sign up to learn more about our process, our projects, and upcoming premieres.


Follow this developing story through our social media on TwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestTumblrInstagramGoodreads.

Ford’s blog:

The Missing Screenwriter: Eyes Wide Shut

The Missing Screenwriter: Relevant Patterns

The Missing Screenwriter: When Darkness Becomes Light

The Missing Screenwriter: Diary of a Madman

The Missing Screenwriter: What We Know So Far

Mark’s’ blogs:

Dead End

It only got Stranger and Stranger…

My Attempts to Work with Jord, the Vlogger

Lauren’s blogs:

Production Notes: The Plight Of The Vlogger

Production Notes: A New Perspective

Production Notes: Disappearances, Dark Tidings, & Sinister Situations

Production Notes: Changing Seasons, Changing Moods, And What Comes Next

Production Notes: Vlogs, The Missing, And The Fear

Production Notes: What Happened To Robert Hurley? 

Production Notes: Incentives, Sign-Ups, And More Mysteries 

Production Notes: Saying Goodbye, Staying On Track, & Ominous Signs 

Production Notes: Incentives, Updates and the Missing Screenwriter

The Missing Screenwriter: Silence Speaks Volumes

Changes, Updates, & The Missing Screenwriter 

Shari’s blogs:

The Missing Screenwriter: Dark Onto Light continued

The Missing Screenwriter: Dark Onto Light

The Missing Screenwriter: The Journal

The Missing Screenwriter: Part Two

The Missing Screenwriter: Part One


Ford Harris

Ever since 6th grade, I have been interested in filmmaking. My friends and I would direct, act, and edit horror films that, well... ended up being funny. It was't until high school when my interest became more focused. I wanted to express my creativity through writing. After graduating high school, and after living in Oklahoma City for eighteen years, I decided to move to California. I attended Santa Monica College for a year and then transferred to Loyola Marymount University. I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in screenwriting.

A shot from Roman Polanski's Chinatown
The Top Film Noir Links on the Net

Leave a Reply