Donnie Eichar

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Donnie Eichar
Born Florida
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Occupation Author and Film Producer
Known for Dead Mountain (book)

Donnie Eichar is an American film producer, director and author. As an author he is best known for his New York Times best-selling book, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident in 2013. He is known for producing the TV series Killing Fields in 2016, the documentary film Soaked in Bleach in 2015, and producing the TV series The Buried Life in 2010. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor.[1]

Early life[edit]

Eichar grew up in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida before moving to Hollywood to pursue a career in the film industry.[2]

Film career[edit]

Eichar began his directorial career shooting documentary films with his first being the 2003 documentary, Blind Faith, which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival. He remained focused on this subject with his second documentary in 2006, Seeing With Sound,[3] which won a silver at The Telly Awards in 2007. In 2008, he wrote and directed a third documentary on blindness, which was titled Victory Over Darkness. It premiered at the Heartland film festival.[4]

In 2006, Eichar was a director, writer, and producer for The Dangerous Sports Club, The Bug Wrangler, Dan Eldon Lives and Queen of Scream. All four films aired on Current TV, an American TV network owned by Al Gore, Joel Hyatt and Ronald Burkle.

In 2010, Eichar began working for MTV as a producer for the documentary series, The Buried Life. The show received two nominations for VH1's Do Something Awards. Eichar served as a producer on the show for two seasons.[5]

In late 2013, Eichar completed the non-fiction book Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Eichar came across the story of the Dyatlov Pass incident while carrying out research for an unrelated project. Eichar initially had plans to make a documentary but after traveling to Yekaterinburg for research he decided to author a book instead. After securing a book deal with Chronicle Books, Eichar made a second trip to the location of the incident in the Russian Ural Mountains, uncovering new evidence.[2]

The book is a reversed engineered investigation of the un-witnessed tragedy. The book uses the hikers own journals and photographs, government records, the investigators efforts, and the authors' own investigation retracing the hikers footsteps to tell the story.[6]

Later in 2013, Eichar was invited to Google to present and answer questions as part of a AtGoogleTalks episode.[7] He was also a guest on Coast to Coast AM and was interviewed by George Noory on the subject.[8] In 2014, he was interviewed by National Geographic about Dead Mountain and the evidence that he found.[9]

Following the release of his first book, it was announced by Variety that the book would be turned into a movie. The makers of Transcendence, which starred Johnny Depp, would be involved in the making of the film. The announcement came in July 2015, with Eichar listed as one of the Executive Producers for the feature film.[10]

In 2015, Eichar produced and wrote the documentary film Soaked in Bleach, which studied the events preceding and surrounding the death of Kurt Cobain as seen through the perspective of private investigator Tom Grant. The film controversially explored the premise that Kurt Cobain's death was not a suicide.[11] Soaked in Bleach had a limited theatrical release, despite statements that Courtney Love attempted to thwart the film release with cease and desist orders sent to all the theatres slated to show the film. The film was also distributed by Netflix after its limited theatrical release.[12]

In 2015, Eichar was the executive producer for Discovery Channel's true crime show, The Killing Fields.[13] It explores the unsolved murder case of Louisiana State University graduate student, Eugenie Boisfontaine of Iberville Parish, Louisiana.[14] In the premiere season, the original detective assigned to the case over 20 years ago gets reinstated in order to solve his decades-old cold case using modern technology. Deadline announced that 2.4 million viewers viewed the season finale. The Killing Fields received an 80% favorable reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[15] The Los Angeles Times reviewed the first season as, 'It's the smaller, unvarnished, passing moments that sell the show – where its particular poetry, and even its comedy, can be found.[16] The New York Times also gave the show a favorable review.[17]

Eichar was also the creator, executive producer and writer for a LMN Network pilot titled, The Body Detective. The show was based around renowned American forensic Pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht's views of a 1997 murder case in which his findings was able to overturn the case from accidental death to murder.[18]

Eichar was a show runner and executive producer of People Magazine Investigates, a 10-part one-hour weekly true crime series focusing on the stories behind headlines, emphasizing the impact on families, potential new evidence and interviews.[19][20] The two-hour, two-part opener focused on the Long Island serial killer case.[21] When it premiered on Investigation Discovery in November 2016, it reached 4 million viewers.[22]

Dead Mountain[edit]

Is the first published book by Eichar. The book is an investigative book based on the events that took place at the Dyatlov Pass incident in 1959. It follows the footsteps of a team of nine hikers—seven men and two women—who were attempting to reach a Grade III in hiking. This grade was a common exercise for hikers that lived in the Soviet Union at the time. After setting up camp, all nine hikers mysteriously died, with a lot of strange evidence left behind.[2]

The Russian incident led to the area being closed off for three years while the secretive Soviet Union government carried out tests on the area. No reason for the incident was ever given, with the case remaining unproven. Many strange facts emerged, including high levels of radiation and also that all nine hikers were not fully clothed after they had died, suggesting they had left their camp in a hurry.[6]

Eichar retraced the steps of the nine Russian hikers to try and reach a conclusion as to why the men and women had died, or what had killed them. His investigation was written into the book, Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident, and was released in 2013.[6] The book received mainly positive reviews following its release.[2] Good Reads had over 2,500 ratings of the book with an average score of 4 out of 5.[23]

Other reviews came from The Daily Mail[24] and Examiner. The New York Times listed Dead Mountain as one of their best sellers in April 2015.[25] The average of the Amazon reviews were 4.3 out of 5, with over 500 customer reviews.[26] The final review and one of the most positive came from Booklist, "a gripping book, at least as dramatic as Krakauer's Into Thin Air."[27]

Personal life[edit]

Eichar lives in Malibu, California with his wife Julia Ortiz. He is an avid surfer and martial artist, with a known interest in Kajukenbo.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (July 13, 2015). "Straight Up Films Options 'Dead Mountain'; Nonfiction Book Examines Soviet-Era Hiking Disaster". Deadline Hollywood.
  2. ^ a b c d Crouch, Gregory (January 3, 2014). "Book Review: 'Dead Mountain' by Donnie Eichar". Wall Street Journal.
  3. ^ "Seeing with Sound (2006)". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Victory Over Darkness (2008)". IMDb. October 16, 2008.
  5. ^ Blozan, Elizabeth. "MTV Gets Real: Cabler Sees Future in 'The Buried Life'". International Documentary Association.
  6. ^ a b c Corcoran, Kieran (February 2, 2014). "Were nine hardy skiers who died in the Siberian snow 55 years ago driven MAD by freak wind patterns? Author claims modern weather science has SOLVED the 1959 'Dyatlov Pass' incident". Daily Mail.
  7. ^ "Talks at Google - Donnie Eichar: "Dead Mountain"". Youtube.
  8. ^ "Donnie Eichar Interview". Coast to Coast AM.
  9. ^ O'Neill, Justin (February 10, 2014). "Cycling and Climbing Through a Sufferfest, Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury and More". National Geographic.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (July 13, 2015). "Dyatlov Pass Movie in the Works by 'Transcendence' Producers". Variety.
  11. ^ Harvey, Dennis (June 24, 2015). "Film Review: 'Soaked in Bleach'". Variety.
  12. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (June 16, 2015). "Courtney Love Sends Cease & Desist Against Kurt Cobain Movie 'Soaked In Bleach'". Deadline Hollywood.
  13. ^ Hale, Mike (January 4, 2016). "Review: 'Killing Fields,' on Discovery, Examines a Cold Case". NY Times.
  14. ^ Maglio, Tony (December 9, 2015). "Discovery Channel Sets Premiere for First-Ever True Crime Series 'Killing Fields'". TheWrap.
  15. ^ "Killing Fields: Season 1 (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  16. ^ Lloyd, Robert (January 5, 2016). "Review 'Killing Fields' on Discovery follows a real-life detective on a cold case". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Hale, Mike (January 4, 2016). "Review: 'Killing Fields,' on Discovery, Examines a Cold Case". New York Times.
  18. ^ "The Body Detective". Lifetime. Archived from the original on 2016-03-01.
  19. ^ Kevin Ritchie (30 March 2016). "ID links with People magazine for crime series". Real Screen. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  20. ^ Maria Cavassuto (29 March 2016). "Investigation Discovery Sets 'People Magazine Investigates' Series". Variety. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  21. ^ "'People Magazine Investigates' opener to focus on Long Island serial killer". Newsday. 5 November 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Investigation Discovery's New Series "People Magazine Investigates" Reaches Over 4 Million Viewers". Broadway World. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident". Good Reads.
  24. ^ Corconan, Kieran (December 24, 2013). "Has the mystery of nine skiers who died in the Siberian wilderness in 1959 been SOLVED? Author claims new 'scientific' explanation for the Dyatlov Pass incident". Daily Mail.
  25. ^ "Best Sellers - Expeditions, Disasters and Adventures". New York Times.
  26. ^ "Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident". Amazon. October 12, 2013.
  27. ^ "Editorial Review of Dead Mountain". Booklist.