Production on the documentary SCIENCE FICTION LAND began in 2000, after a researcher for Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris started investigating a story about CIA “Master of Disguise” Tony Mendez and his daring rescue of six American hostages in Iran. The trail led her to enigmatic inventor and futurist, Barry Ira Geller, a utopian dreamer whose actions set in motion a series of events stretching over forty years–from The Bronx to Hollywood to Tehran to the furthest reaches of imagination.
More than just another caper movie, SCIENCE FICTION LAND is an exploration of what it means to invent a new reality in a world of secret identities and real-life superheroes. Before STAR WARS, Geller bought the rights to Roger Zelazny’s international best-seller and Hugo Award-winning novel, Lord of Light, and set out to produce the biggest budget sci-fi blockbuster of all time, along with the world’s first science fiction-themed amusement park, Science Fiction Land.
Lord of Light spoke to Geller with its message that technology and information belong to the people, not only in the hands of a few. He envisioned Science Fiction Land as a place where the top scientists in the world would create new technologies to be shared by all.
Fortune was smiling on the Lord of Light film and Science Fiction Land. Geller enlisted “King of Comics” Jack Kirby, creator or co-creator of hundreds of classic comic book characters (Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Silver Surfer) to create breathtaking original designs for the film sets and theme park. Oscar-winning Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers and Maurice Stein (PLANET OF THE APES), world-renowned architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller, and Jerry Schafer, a Las Vegas film producer, signed on to the project. They raised millions from investors. No one could have predicted what followed.
In a whirlwind of fraud, FBI arrests, mob threats and government corruption, the project collapsed and the dream of Science Fiction Land ended. But a new chapter in this epic was just beginning. Unbeknownst to Geller, a key member of the Science Fiction Land team (code named “Jerome”) handed over Geller’s Lord of Light screenplay and Jack Kirby’s designs to serve as Hollywood cover for a dramatic CIA rescue operation during the Iranian hostage crisis — just one week after Science Fiction Land’s demise.
Now, on October 12, Ben Affleck will release a Hollywood version of this story in a film called ARGO starring himself as CIA Operative Tony Mendez. It’s another case of altered reality, as many of the actual events have been changed and Jack Kirby, Geller and others are not part of the story.
Science Fiction Land was Geller’s vision of a truly equitable society. Kirby’s illustrations and designs were truly visionary. Despite having created some of our most iconic American superheroes and the core of the Marvel universe, Kirby has not received proper credit or compensation for his work. Sadly, his legacy as one of our greatest comic artists is at risk of being forgotten. SCIENCE FICTION LAND writes Kirby and Geller’s contributions back into history.
This is a story about vision and blindness, cause and effect, creation and destruction. SCIENCE FICTION LAND is a cosmic tale that asks where ownership and authenticity truly lie, and where is the Truth among its many versions, distorted through the prisms of time and memory?
Not just another spy thriller or talking head documentary, SCIENCE FICTION LAND uses in-camera and classic special effects modeling combined with groundbreaking animation and stylized reenactments, never-before-seen Jack Kirby artwork, and experimental filmmaking techniques to traverse the blurry boundaries between fact and fiction, myth and reality, and art and life. Like the science fiction novel that started it all, this film explores the quests for power, immortality, and utopia.
We are launching a Kickstarter Campaign in October, 2012 to finish our film and get the real story out there: to recognize the forgotten superheroes of this tale and create something truly unique and imaginative—as the story demands. It will be a work of art worthy of this story and the artists involved. With your help, we can do this!
Join us on this kaleidoscopic journey that questions the very notion of truth and reveals the masks and disguises we wear every day. Join us on our travels through SCIENCE FICTION LAND…