The Cage.
A short feature film made in Mendocino.

A young man drives to the Mendocino Coast to get away from his marital and financial problems. He goes to a quiet beach at sunset and is surprised by a seemingly homeless older man who sits on a driftwood log beside a small fire and greets him warmly. The young man is reluctant to engage at first but the older man's questions and his surprising attitude hold the young man's attention, and as the light fades he joins the old man beside the fire and shares his troubled predicament.

They are interrupted by a park ranger who says they are breaking the law by being on the beach after sunset, fires are not allowed, and they must leave right away. The old man refuses to leave and insists on telling the ranger and the young man “a short tale”, the story of The Cage.

Cast & Crew

Peter Wells authored the film’s script, Bob Cohen produced it, and Robert Santos was the director. The Cage is set in Mendocino and Peter is proud of using local community members as actors and crew, as well as filming the piece entirely in Mendocino. Peter describes his original 27-minute narrative as a contemporary fable with psychological, sociological, philosophical, and political undertones.

Peter Wells

Screenwriter and Producer

Mervin Gilbert

Lead, Old Man

Michelle Raust


Robert Santos


Scott Wells

Lead, Young Man

Anthony Wells

Cinematographer and Editor

Bob Cohen


Rick Smith


Eric Bersh



PETER WELLS (Screenwriter and Producer) also wrote and produced the Equity production of the musical Blue Dove at Hollywood's Ivar Theater in 2004. He is currently working on the screenplay for Henry's Cabin, an independent feature set on the Mendocino coast. Originally from England Peter was trained as an actor at the National Youth Theatre and later played on a BBC television series, Dixon of Dock Green. He appeared on two episodes of Murder, She Wrote filmed in Mendocino, California.

BOB COHEN (Producer) has been an actor and director with the Mendocino Theatre Company (MTC) since its inception in 1977 and directed the initial staged reading of The Cage for author Peter Wells in 2011. Mr. Cohen has appeared in dozens of productions and directed more than 20 others including MTC's 2014 production of Tony award winning Other Desert Cities. He has extensive experience in business planning and arts management and has on-screen experience in several films including the 1980 cult classic Humanoids From The Deep filmed in Mendocino, the newly released romantic comedy Shirin In Love and Magical Child, a locally produced entrant in a National short film competition. Bob will be directing the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next To Normal for Gloriana Musical Theatre scheduled for production in November 2014. Mr. Cohen has degrees from MIT and the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a graduate of The Drama Studio London at Berkeley’s actor training program. His 40+year business career was in consumer goods marketing, advertising, and product branding.

ROBERT SANTOS (Director) interned at Pathé News in the title department and majored in mass communications at Arizona State University. Mr. Santos directed and produced hundreds of national commercials for products, political candidates and issues, public service ads, industrial training films, documentaries, shorts, and music videos. Robert directed TV commercials for Coca Cola, Oldsmobile and Schlitz Beer among many others. He directed music videos for Emmy Lou Harris, Seals & Crofts, and Commander Cody among others. He directed the documentaries Goodnight Peace Corps, Tall Cotton, and Press On.

MERVIN GILBERT (Old Man) was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, in 1938, and spent his early years working rides and concession stands on (and under) the boardwalk, including a stint as a beach-roaming Good Humor man. He made it into Cooper Union where he studied Abstract Expressionism and advertising design, the latter became his profession for the past 55 years. His theatre experience is mostly local beginning in 1972 when he portrayed Humpty Dumpty in an original musical at the Schoeni Theatre, five years before Mendocino Theatre Company’s inception there. His first play for MTC was Nuts in 1983 and he has been onstage regularly for both MTC and Gloriana Musical Theatre since. He has also written criticism of theatrical and art events, and directed and designed many posters and programs, and several stage sets, for both companies. Movie credits: The Calm at the Edge of the Sea (Indy, 2006, he was Uncle Pete); Shirin in Love (Sideshow, 2014, he was Dale).

SCOTT WELLS (Young Man) has played an array of characters for the Mendocino Theatre Company ranging from a drunk cowboy Roy in Lonestar to Oscar Wilde's barrister Sir Edward Clark in Gross Indecency. He also appeared in Mendocino as Lysander in A Midsummer Nights Dream. Scott produced the short film Among Duality which he wrote, directed, and acted in. He also wrote and played the right hand man of a cult leader in Imprints which was awarded the Special Jury Selection at the LA 24 Film Contest in Hollywood where he also appeared as Rey in Fables at the Underground Theatre Company.

RICK SMITH (The Ranger) earned a degree in Communications while also participating in the theatre program. He then did a stint in the Radio and Television Broadcasting program at Los Angeles City College. For the past 25 years he has worked from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine primarily as a location scout/manager, with Mendocino being his specialty. Rick has worked as a location manager or producer for numerous companies including Talbots, L.L. Bean, North Face, and most recently Sperry Top-Sider. In commercials he was a principle actor for Stouffer's and has worked in production for companies such as Cadillac, Buick, Ford, Pedigree, Ocean Spray, and Doublemint. Rick’s film work includes, Beverly Hills Cop 3, Dying Young, Haunting of The Seacliff Inn, The Majestic, Shark Swarm, and most recently Need For Speed, and White Bull. Television credits include Murder, She Wrote and The Fugitive.

MICHELLE RAUST (Sheriff) has performed in live theater for Mendocino Theatre Company, the Prospect Theater Project in Modesto, California, and Sierra Classic Theater in Mammoth Lakes, California. Roles have included: Brooke Wyeth in Other Desert Cities, Queen Marie in Eugene Ionesco’s Exit the King, The Other Woman in Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Raina in George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, Myrrhine in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, and the Goth Chic in one of Sierra Classic Theater’s many homegrown murder mysteries. Offstage, Michelle is a social worker and loves to dance and practice yoga.

ANTHONY WELLS (Cinematographer and Editor) earned his degree in Media Arts at Chico State University, while directing the video department of a local Internet marketing company. Upon graduating he cofounded Manifest Media; pioneering a niche in music festival promotion through video. Anthony is currently contracting as an independent cameraman, editor, and graphic/web designer while also pursuing musical endeavors.

ERIC BERSH (Editor) ran Video Press Pak (VPP) a production company focused on motion picture publicity, television specials and reality programming for broadcast and cable. His extensive background in storytelling is reflected in all his work, from non-fiction series to documentaries. Twentieth Century Fox (TCF) chose VPP to be its exclusive provider of video materials, including electronic press kits (EPKs). VPP was the only such company to ever be exclusive to a major Hollywood studio. During two years under the Fox contract, Bersh relied on his journalism background to design more broadcast-friendly promotional materials, changes reflected in EPKs for the next 15 years. He went on to work with every major and mini-major studio in Hollywood.


PO Box 185
Mendocino, CA 95460