First World (US-2007; dir. Adam Starr) is a both a short scifi film and an on-going project that aims to result in a full-length feature. I first interviewed writer and producer Mark Lund back in 2007, when I was programming the short version into the film festival stream of Conflux 2007. He explained then:
The short is a 25-min “sampling” of what is more than likely going to be a two-hour-and-30-minute production. The story is vast and in-depth and while there exists a good amount of special effects to really bring the viewer in, the focus is on the story through the characters that start off in a seemingly calm but troubled world and ends in the establishment of a new world order. Presently only a 2-minute trailer and the 25-minute short exist. My goal is to create interest in the premise with the short and introduce the project to producers and investors so that the script could be developed through to production of the long version. (Read the full interview here).
The short film screened well, its alternative history vision of the Space Race and speculative political background offering a refreshingly different approach to the creation of a scifi blockbuster, and I’ve been wondering how the larger project is going. Just the other day Mark Lund sent me some newly created conceptual artwork — the design of the S.S. Constitution, which you can see below — and I took the opportunity to get some more information about the ongoing production from him. The description of the images he provided gives you a pretty good idea of the film’s underlying narrative.
The S.S. Constitution (click on the images to get the full effect):
The S.S. Constitution plays a pivotal role in the overall story of First World. We learn early that this second generation space shuttle has been under development since the Reagan Administration. Although President Reagan officially canceled its development, a substantial covert military faction in cooperation with civilian contractors, took over development. This covert group has been growing since they first learned of this advanced civilization from an Arctran crash in 1947 and confirmation with the Apollo 11 Moon landing in July 1969. The true facts of each of these events, kept under wraps from the world population.
When the Chinese announce they are going to the Moon in 2018, four years ahead of schedule, the completed, albeit untested, S.S. Constitution is immediately launched from Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and lands at Cape Canaveral in Florida. This launch causes an immediate public relations nightmare for NASA and a major distraction for U.S. President Robert Anderson who just learned from Prime Minister Allison Colby of Great Britain that Apollo 11 discovered a domed installation on the Moon and whose inhabitants have been part of our world society since 3003 BCE. When Anderson’s predecessor President Helen Colton secured $200 billion to complete NASA’s Orion Program, those funds were largely diverted to finish this covert shuttle program.
Specifications of the S.S. Constitution remain murky to both Anderson’s Administration and the inhabitants of the Moon installation until the shuttle launches via remote operation from sources unknown. With the demonstrated firepower of an F-22 Raptor, the ability to carry and deploy nuclear ordnances like that of a B-2 bomber along with a nuclear fusion-pulse rocket drive, the S.S. Constitution is not a vehicle of peace and exploration, but a weapon of mass destruction that can be deployed anywhere on Earth and space.
When the S.S. Constitution breaks Earth orbit for the Moon, a decision is made to save humanity and its origins. But that decision will violate the very Decalogue of Commandments they have been set forth on Earth and our known way of life.
Q & A with Mark Lund:
Who created the concept designs for the S.S. Constitution and what is that person role in the production?
The images were created by artist Peggy Chung. I first saw her wonderful work on www.io9.com and contacted her to see if she would be interested in developing some concept art for First World. It has been great working with her on this project. As I mentioned to her during our first introductions, my goal with this concept art is to continue developing interest in First World to work toward making the feature-length version. We have the short and we have the trailer. But it was time for some updating and Peggy is the right artist at the right time. Her work can be viewed at www.PegChung.com. The next piece she is doing will be a “painting” of Lunaria, the domed installation on the Moon first discovered by Apollo 11 in 1969.
How about an update on where the production stands now and the current game-plan?
First World was VERY close to receiving feature production funding from producers in China, New York and Germany. Then the global recession hit and projects literally came to standstill. The producers in Germany were hoping to get First World on their latest slate of films, but was still having difficulty in closing financing on their previous slate. So it was a set of circumstances sadly not in our control and not reflective of the project itself. But there has been some very substantial progress since First World screened in Australia at Conflux in 2007. The screenplay has received some wonderful nominations Finalist, California Independent Film Festival (2007), Top 10, Science Fiction, The Movie Deal (2008) and I just learned that First World made the Top 10 at the recently concluded Fantastic Planet Sydney International Sci-Fi and Fantasy Film Festival in Australia. In 2009, First World was released to DVD by IndieFlix, which released it to Hulu. So distribution and awareness continues. At present, there are five producers reviewing the project for possible production. So hopefully while we see our respective economies recover (mostly here in the United States), projects such as First World will be moved to the front of some of these production slates.
Any other interesting news?
Last year I wrote a prequel to First World titled First World Covenant that is designed as a limited run web series introducing a couple more characters — in particular, the bank of Shinar International, which is operated by one of the Disciples and is covertly the largest banking institution in the world, which quietly regulates the financial system behind the scenes to keep things in relative order.
I am also nearly completed with the sequel to First World titled First World Final Solution. In the sequel, the secret kept from humanity since Apollo 11 and the last three thousand years has revealed itself full circle. Governments are falling apart, the world population is doing nothing but questioning and revolting, the military in most developed “First World” nations are unstable. But through this all, U.S. President Hadrian, who succeeded President Anderson in a coupe, means to rid the world of these “people” once and for all. To do so means to expand the high altitude nuclear tests of the 1950s — for these people brought something with them when they arrived on Earth in the year 3003 BC. But Cedric, Elisabeth and the rest of the Disciples will now have to employ the very God-like and fearful powers that are only read about in scripture to stop Hadrian and to prevent a repeat of what happened on their homeworld 15,000 years earlier — a holocaust of fear.
Finally, there is a sci-fi fan group that is interested in making an audio presentation of First World. They are largely Space 1999 fans (one of my personal favorite series) but have really enjoyed the First World story and want to participate in its development.