American Wisper is the true story of the unsolved murders of an upper-class African American family. In the summer of 2016, a woman and her three children were shot to death in their large New Jersey home close to New York City.
Their bodies were discovered by father and husband Josiah Wisper – a brash businessman who owned bars, restaurants, stores and real estate in Harlem, New York. Wisper immediately became the prime suspect in the case, or what is more commonly known as “a person of interest.” He was eventually ruled out as a suspect by police and law enforcement officials, but never in the eyes of those in the Harlem community – his relatives, friends, and people he had known for nearly half his life.
Wisper quickly embarks on a search to find out who murdered his family – his personal and original video recordings, journals and diaries take us to family, friends, police precincts, newspapers drug dens, gun stores and street-gang hangouts – all in the hope of piecing together the clues needed to solve this shocking and tragic crime.
His recorded journey takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions, leading to a horrifying conclusion – and Josiah’s final discovery of what it takes to be a man. The film is based on true events, and based on withheld police reports issued at the time of the murders.
Directed by Russ Emanuel, produced by Howard Nash and screenplay by Howard Nash and Rodney Cavin, the producers want it known that they are seeking to have the original case re-opened. They feel that a movie about the injustice suffered by Wisper is the only way to make that happen. But, a clarion call to action isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“I’ve noticed a fair amount of racism when it comes to smaller, independent films with African American leads,” Nash said. “The smaller movie sites and platforms are not even selecting them. So it becomes even more important to get the word out, so that people can see things for themselves.”
The film, now streaming on Amazon Prime, is the winner of two international film festival awards.