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BOSPOAT - Best On Set Photo Of All Time: Stranger Than Fiction

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 10, 2019

If you think this shot is fantastic, the story behind it is out of this world. The photo was taken on the set of the 2015 film Phoenix Incident—produced, directed and written by Keith Arem. The plot of the faux documentary was based on conspiracy theories surrounding the actual sighting of a series of lights in the night sky over Phoenix in March of 1997.


The film’s clever viral campaign was like an updated version of The Blair Witch Project, gaining some 20 million followers along the way. Arem created four fictional characters who witnessed the event, documented it on tape and then mysteriously disappeared. Their missing-persons website was so convincing that the real Department of Justice contacted the filmmakers, thinking they were bounty hunters trying to locate actual missing people.

The characters in the movie were risk-takers obsessed with recording their dangerous stunts and adventures, like this wild motorcycle maneuver. The trick was performed by Shane Trittler, a professional stuntman. Arem says, “The crew was so impressed with having a private stunt performance, we spent the majority of the time hanging out under the ramps. By the time we were ready to shoot, Shane was exhausted from performing for the crew.” The perfectly timed shot was taken by the on-set still photographer, Erica Parise, in the Estrella Mountain Range outside of Phoenix.


Turns out there was a technical flaw with the scene that only a sharp-eyed viewer who knew about freestyle motocross could have spotted. The segment in the film was supposed to take place in 1997. The filmmakers later learned that freestyle motocross rider Mike Metzger landed the very first backflip ever—in an X Games competition in 2002. So in reality, the trick in the movie had not yet been invented!


Phoenix Incident became a bit of a cult film and was one of the 10 most-pirated movies during the year it was released. Arem says he’s currently working to develop the concept and footage into a pilot for a television series.

We know what you’re thinking. “Best of all time? No way. I’ve got an on-set photo way better than that.” If that’s the case, we dare you to prove it. Submit it to Before you submit, please review the contest rules at Because no matter how great your photo is, we have no desire to get sued over it.


- View other BOSPOAT winners here.


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