Special to AMFM Magazine by Jimmy Willden
Throughout history, the moon has stood as a symbol of hope amidst the darkness. For humanity, it has always been there as a constant guiding light. Filmmaker Simon Ennis understands this, and with his documentary “Lunarcy!”, he allows the moon to become more than just a satellite in the night sky. Instead, he explores it as a way to understand humanity in a deeper, and more significant way.
The film follows four men, from all different walks of life, all who have something in common; their undying devotion and obsession with the moon. One man, a former ventriloquist, claims ownership of the moon and begins to sell lots to interested buyers. Another man makes the ultimate decision to live there, permanently. Then there is the former Apollo astronaut now spending his life painting his memories of being on the surface of the moon.
On the origins of the film, Ennis said, “ I read three separate articles in one week, all regarding the moon. One was about Dennis Hope, the fellow who claims ownership of the moon in the movie. And I just thought that was an amazing idea. Then, I read a heavily science based article that was about how scientists believe we can potentially mine fuel through moon dust, and use it in nuclear fusion to solve all of our energy needs. And then I read another article about the moon in ancient religion. And it just got me thinking about all of the different ways humans see the moon. It’s a really interesting symbol.”
Christopher Carson, the heart of Ennis’ film, is the creator of the Lunar Project. In 2007, Carson set a goal; by 2012 he would permanently reside on the moon. “I’ve always been the kind of person who thought that people living in space, people traveling through space from one point to another, was a normal thing,” said Carson.
After years of planning and researching, Carson came to the conclusion that the best thing for him to do would be to go on the road. “I went out talking to people, and to promote a plan of immediate permanent lunar settlement. Going to the moon to live there as a first step into the cosmos,” he said.
That road eventually lead to Simon Ellis, who’s original idea of making a movie about the moon as a symbol had now evolved into a vehicle to showcase humanity’s inspiration and passion, as seen through the eyes of our celestial neighbor.
“This scruffy looking guy with a camera comes up to me and tells me he’s making a movie about the moon and what people think about it,” Carson said of his first meeting with Ennis. “He had noticed my presentation, so he asked if we could talk for about a half hour. I said sure. Three hours later, he asks if we could do this again tomorrow. So, from my point of view, it was just absolutely coincidental.”
Coincidental or not, Carson’s story absolutely becomes the central one in “Lunarcy!”. Through interviews with his family and friends, the audience is introduced to a truly innocent genius. One who has a nearly photographic memory, and encyclopedic knowledge of many facets of life. And through Carson’s eyes, our own childlike dreamer is awakened.
Though he hasn’t had as much success as he might have hoped, Carson still continues on. He is now the director of the National Space Society, and has plans to spread his Lunar Project message further. “I’m not unhappy with the way things are going. Sure, it’s been a hard, and long effort. But the rewards are unlimited,” Carson added.
Because of “Lunarcy!”, which took nearly a year and a half to make, more and more people are taking notice.
Jonas Bell Pasht, producer of the film, added: “One of the great things about this movie is, we’ve got these guys who on one hand, are so firmly committed to their mission, and take what their doing so seriously. But there’s still this warmth and sense of humor that they all share, which is something that was really refreshing, and was reflected on the screen.”
“Lunarcy!” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, and has since had an amazing ride in the film festival circuit. On April 3rd, it will make its U.S. Television premiere on EPIX.
When asked what he hopes audiences will take from the film, Ennis said, “The moon, seen through science, religion, culture, art. Everything. But then it becomes something else. It becomes more about these dreamers, and their creativity, and inspiration.”
Christopher Carson completely understands what Ennis means. In fact, he wants to take the message even further. “As humans we need to dream, we need to build, we need to have goals. Science fiction has always been a literature of moving into the future. Not necessarily of a predictive nature, but of moving forward, and facing the unknown,” he concluded.
Simon and Christopher, we think you’re on to something.