One the 2018’s most provocative and wildly entertaining documentaries is Calling All Earthlings. Director Jonathan Berman’s new film explores the Integratron, a mid-century dome created by one-time Howard Hughes confidante, George Van Tassel. Van Tassel claimed to have combined extraterrestrial guidance with the work of inventor/physicist Nikola Tesla and other alternative scientists, to build an electromagnetic time machine he dubbed “The Integratron.” Was he deluded? Or could the dome actually break through the boundaries of space, time, and energy? FBI agents try to halt the growing army of outliers who gather in the desert to create a threatening reality on the edge of the midcentury American Dream. An empathetic enquiry into an archetypical countercultural movement, the story is told by relatives, neighbors, skeptics, believers, scientists, healers, artists, and historians, including Dr. Kevin Starr, the preeminent historian of California; Eric Burdon, musician and area resident, and futurists JJ and Desiree Hurtak. Berman’s film My Friend Paul (2000), about his relationship with his bipolar best friend. He is director and producer of The Shvitz (1994), a film about the last traditional steam baths in New York. Berman also co-wrote the story for the independent comedy On The Run, and was the American producer on Claudia Heuermann’s Sabbath in Paradise, which featured Harvey Pekar and John Zorn. Director Jonathan Berman’s documentaries explore third places, those beyond home or work. Berman joins us for a lively conversation on his endlessly fascinating film that never fails to educate, enlighten and entertain.
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“Laugh if you want – or, conversely, give credence to the ufologists and time travelers – but to most of the people profiled this is serious stuff.” – Christoher Llewellyn, Hammer to Nail
“Most appealing is the film’s mixture of California post-War history, cults and a tinge of science fiction – an intriguing combination of elements that make it a winner.” – Paul Parcellin, Film Threat
“Flakey, non-judgmental fun with UFOlogists and their late guru.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation