Award-winning short film from critically-acclaimed writer/director Craig Borders to be developed as a new series, launched at Showtime Networks
Award-winning short film from critically-acclaimed writer/director Craig Borders launched at Showtime Networks

Text by Oliver Carnay

Photo: Craig Borders

“Keeping Up with the Jonesers,” the award-winning short film from critically-acclaimed writer/director Craig Borders (MTV Real Word, MTV Road Rules, Laguna Beach) was launched on Showtime Network on Wednesday, June 6. A hit during its film festival rounds, the film premiered on Showtime and is being pitched to different networks to be developed as a new series and will be retitled "Isla Vista.

The comedic action drug drama by veteran reality TV producer/director Borders has been hailed by critics. It won Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Sun Screen Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has been praised at the 2005 Action/Cut short film competition and Action On Film Festival. Here are quotes from the critics: “The Santa Barbara Film Festival kicks-off this weekend and already the film everyone is talking about is Craig Borders’ short film “Keeping Up With The Jonesers” – KISS FM DJ Valentine; “It is often challenging to formulate intriguing characters in a short film, but Borders pulls it off!” – Michelle Paster (;

“Why make 2 hour long movies when you can get it all done in just 25 minutes, and Keeping Up With The Jonesers gets it done!” – THE KJEE Santa Barbara Morning Show); “Borders notes that reality TV directors are an almost untapped pool of talented filmmakers whose visual and storytelling skills could easily translate to the big screen.” – (Kathy A. McDonald - Variety).

‘Keeping Up with the Jonesers” depicts the not completely fictional life of Jackson Mittleman (played by Branden R. Morgan, who will be next seen in “Timber Falls”), a college drug dealer in 1980’s Isla Vista, the densely packed community next to University of California in Santa Barbara. The series based on the film chronicles the vibrant college community and unusual characters that made Isla Vista infamous.

“Keeping Up with the Jonesers” also starred Rick Thorne (a veteran of freestyle BMX), Al Snow (Extreme Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment), Joe Hursley (who plays Nateball, currently in the Los Angeles-based group The Ringers), and Felicity Crampton.

“It was everything Laguna Beach wasn’t; it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll; I wanted to capture that classic California lifestyle before it got cleaned up and corporatized. Isla Vista was punk skaters, outlaw bikers, blonde surfers, drug dealers – some extremely sketchy but loveable characters,” said director Borders.

Borders has directed and produced many of the most critically acclaimed, successful and genre-defining reality shows on television, including “The Mole,” and “Bands on the Run.” His visual aesthetic, eye for great story telling and knowledge of popular culture have shaped some of MTV’s and ABC’s most successful reality franchises including “Laguna Beach” and “The Real World.” “Isla Vista” is his first foray into scripted entertainment.

The new series “Isla Vista” will be produced by Thomas Bannister of SX Media. Thomas previously produced cable’s “Illeanarama” with Illeana Douglas and Jeff Goldblum. A recent Oxford graduate, Thomas noted “I grew up watching Baywatch in Manchester and believe that “Isla Vista” will have the same universal appeal that “Baywatch” once had.

SX Media, the producing company which also produces reality programming such as “Total Combat” and “Unusual Women,” also produced “Stories of Lost Souls” (starring Hugh Jackman and Keira Knightly) and “3X3” with Charlie Sheen and Eva Mendes. SX Media is part of Crimson Screen Partners (Barney Oldfield Management, Angelika Entertainment, Prophet Pictures and H2O Distribution). For more information, please go to