I was inspired to write Justice Is Mind back in 2011 when I first saw a 2009 segment on 60 Minutes titled Reading Your Mind. The story focused on advances in fMRI technology and rudimentary “mind-reading” that was being researched and studied at Carnegie Mellon University. We had the honor to screen Justice at Carnegie in 2014 in front of the scientists and students that were spearheading this new technology.
As I postulated in Justice Is Mind, imagine the day your memories can be read by a machine. But also imagine the day when your memories can be used as evidence in a court of law. From what I have recently learned that day is apparently here in technology if not soon to be in court. This article in PetaPixel titled, ‘Mind-Reading’ Technology Translates Brainwaves into Photos,” is just one of several recent articles discussing this technology. This article states in part, “The researchers then fed this information into a computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm which could build an accurate image based on the information from the fMRI scan.” Let us reflect for a moment on what this truly means.
We can certainly look towards many films and TV series on what the future may bring. Star Trek is often referenced as accurately predicting future technology. Frankly, it’s still pretty amazing to me what our “smartphones” can actually do. As has often been discussed, today’s smartphones have thousands of times more computing power than the Apollo era computers. Technology, however, is one thing, but what about the UFO phenomenon?
When I wrote First Signal in 2017, the premise was relatively straight forward. The story was a prequel to the events in First World. Those events were the revelation of an alien presence on Earth. While UFO sightings have been claimed since biblical times, governments have been relatively loath to acknowledge even the slightest possibility of their existence. Oh, there are the countless investigations, public and otherwise, along with more documentaries than I can count, but never before has the government began to embrace the possibility that UFOs, or as they prefer the reference UAPs, exist.
However, over the last year, and just recently, there have been countless articles on the very subject. This article in Space.com titled, “NASA ‘going full force’ to gear up for UFO study,” certainly seems to ask the larger question, “Are they preparing us for some sort of revelation?” Some of the comments on First Signal’s listing on YouTube state, “I really hope this movie is a prophecy” and “It all could be possible and with that if it was or did happen our gov. officials could keep the truth from us all.”
As for whether government officials know more or not on the subject of UAPs, one definitive thing I can say, is that they know about First Signal. One of my marketing priorities was to make sure all the relative agencies knew about the film. From NASA to the Air Force, to members of Congress and The White House, all were on the distribution list.
I truly feel with the James Webb Telescope we will soon learn more about our place in the cosmos than ever before. In First Signal the famed telescope is mentioned in relation to its “future” parking position at Lagrange point 2 (L2). The same place in space that an alien satellite was spotted. Just last week the telescope discovered carbon dioxide on a distant world.
“This is a time to study and investigate.” – Cedric Yonah in First Signal.
August 18, 2013. Five years ago today I was in Albany, NY for the world premiere of Justice Is Mind. The idea for Justice came to me in 2010 when I came across a 60 Minutes story about Thought Identification “mind reading.” I was researching mind reading “computers” when I was writing the sequel to First World. Yes, I finished writing the sequel. But no sooner was my Final Draft software cooling down and it was fired up again to write Justice.
I’ve often written about the development of Justice. The endless pitch to producers and financiers started at the script stage. Then I produced a short film version Evidence to develop interest in the project. After a couple of theatrical screenings and media the financing came together to produce the feature. Let me just say that 2012 was a whirlwind of a year. But in the end, over 10 crew, 100+ actors and 15 locations came together. Even post production into 2013 went relatively smoothly. Justice enjoyed a limited theatrical run, screenings at law schools, science fiction conventions and an international premiere on Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth (yes, that was a highlight!). The film is now available worldwide on VOD.
When you’re an independent filmmaker the completion of a feature film is a milestone that should be enjoyed and celebrated. As I see with so many in this industry, they worry incessantly about the next project when working on the current one. There were only a couple of occasions during Justice when a few people tried to get out of commitments because of an audition or other project they wanted to be part of. I’ve always believed in giving your maximum to every project you’re involved in. You worry about the next one after the fact.
It’s one thing to attend a film premiere for someone else’s project, it’s entirely another to attend one for your own. For nearly two years after our world premiere, so many of us attended the screenings together. For a while we were like a traveling road show! These weren’t film festivals, they were theatrical screenings. There is nothing more gratifying as a filmmaker than seeing your film on a marquee next to mainstream “Hollywood” productions. You work like hell to make the film, but seeing it in the market is in one word – gratifying.
A feature film isn’t about the “cool” photos behind the scenes of making it, it’s about creating the world around it so when it’s released there’s a place in the market for it. An acting friend of mine last year coined the phrase “the milk carton movie” for those films he was involved in that never saw the light of day. There were essentially “missing.” I couldn’t even fathom making a movie that sits on a shelf waiting for someone else to decide its fate. Film festivals are fine enough if you get into the top tier from an awareness point of view, but as a filmmaker you don’t see ten cents of box office from them. More importantly why would I want to share the public relations spotlight with other films? I remember only too well when we had a screening for Justice at a major university and, unknown to me, there was a small film festival in town that weekend. A reporter said to me they only had so much space and simply couldn’t accommodate everyone. Well, thankfully our screening went well because it was marketed internally and had some scientific personalities attending. That was a lesson to be learned.
As I now venture into the world of First Signal, I look back on the days of Justice Is Mind with great fondness and realize what’s possible when the right team comes together. I’ll never forget what one of the stars of Justice said to me at our last theatrical screening in March, 2017 “This never gets old.”
No, it doesn’t.