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About the project:

A Hustler’s Tale is a pioneering, award-winning short film that’s one of the first of its kind: an acclaimed silent film and music video at the same time. This groundbreaking production was shot and edited as both an homage to and an emulation of the first Golden Age of filmmaking in the late silent film era, just before recorded dialogue entered the scene with Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer. The style and format of A Hustler’s Tale consciously evoke the gritty panache of the pre-talkie Roaring Twenties gangster films, vastly expanding the boundaries of narrative and metaphor in the music video format to tell a story that’s at once thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

Featuring a picaresque, Guys and Dolls-inspired plot set just before the start of the Great Depression, A Hustler’s Tale relates the adventures of a grizzled and down-on-his-luck Irish-American hustler, Hank O'Neill, who teams up with a beautiful chanteuse and gangster's moll named Lucy McBride, "the Siren from Sioux Country." Forced together by desperate circumstances, they abscond with a mysterious and priceless diamond while being hunted relentlessly by a pair of rival gang bosses, Sheldon "Sharkie" Meyer and Tony "the Terror" Wales, who are also in pursuit of the precious jewel. Will they escape with the diamond... and their lives?

First released in March 2018, A Hustler’s Tale has already been a sleeper hit on the film festival circuit, featuring as an official selection in the Oniros and SHORT to the Point film festivals and winning a coveted Gold Award from the International Independent Film Awards. It showcases the on-screen performances of over two dozen talented cast members including Michael Joseph Pierce (Unusual Suspects, The Little Blue Pill), Scott D. Gold (Just Jenna, Too Far Gone, My Crazy Ex, Trust No 1), Kate Slinger (Curse of the Invisible Werewolf, Unicorn), Samuel Whitehill (Somerset, Rolling in the Deep, The Cry), and Marc Anthony Sepulveda (Glimpse, The Rift, How to Rob a House). It also features, in her first starring role, the extraordinary up-and-coming actress and model Emily Soria.


The film was produced, written, and helmed by the Kant’s Konundrum band’s lead singer and songwriter J. Wes Ulm in his directorial debut, and shot on a single day in downtown Riverside, CA by a six-member crew led by expert cinematographer Nick Saldivar. The film was ultimately divided into seven scenes and assembled into a trailblazing short film by the masterful hand and eye of editor T’nia Lannette Harris, with poster art conceived and produced by Will Chen and Amy Tiller. The original track was written and sung in its studio recording by J. Wes Ulm, with a silky smooth blues guitar arrangement by virtuoso musician Gabe Burdulis and mixing and mastering by accomplished producer Lennon Leppert. It premieres as the debut song on the Kant's Konundrum debut EP Tales of a Wandering Soul, in final preparation for release in the summer of 2018. (A teaser from the second track, "Things Said While We Dream" by J. Wes Ulm with guitar arrangement by talented up-and-coming guitarist Ryan Chen, features as the song played over the end credits.)

A Hustler's Tale is a unique production that doubles as both a narrative-rich music video for our first EP, and a standalone short silent film, telling a unique, sexy, and exciting story from the heady days of the 1920s and Prohibition just as the dark clouds of the Depression were beginning to gather. Don't miss it!

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