Writer and director Spencer F. Lee wants to help you celebrate the incredible impact the Science Fiction series Star Trek has had on popular culture. Of course, the movie From the Bridge goes much deeper than simply a love-letter to the famed television and movie series. The documentary film, which includes interviews with legends like Stan Lee and Nichelle Nichols, is a celebration of how richly fandom influences all of our lives.
The panel was moderated by actor Greg Grunberg (Alias, Heroes) who enthusiastically introduced the panelists including Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Kerry O’ Quinn (Creator Fangoria Magazine, Starlog), Rod Roddenberry (Trek Nation), Tom DeSanto (Producer), Cecil Grimes (Cosplayer), Douglas Tait (Actor), and George Noe (Producer, From the Bridge).
Speaking to a packed Ballroom 20, Spencer Lee, says he wanted to preserve the experience and the importance of Star Trek for generations to come. Each of the panelists talked about the importance of fandom and how Science Fiction, comics and horror has helped shape the people they became. O’Quinn noted that during the 1970s the genre of Science Fiction had been cast aside and that the audience was largely invisible. He added, “I knew that audience was out there, they just hadn’t been organized, they just hadn’t been told that they had amazing power.”
Grunberg asked the son of Gene Roddenberry, Rod, for the ‘deep cuts’ of growing up with the legendary Star Trek creator. Rod said he missed out on having a lot of conversations with his father, who passed away when he was only seventeen. He did say, however, that he’s learned much about his father from friends and coworkers. He noted that his father often played the role of contrarian in conversations in an attempt to get others to think about a situation differently.
The beaming Nichelle Nichols reflected on a meeting she had with civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. who implored her to remain in the series after Nichols had considered leaving Star Trek to return to Broadway. When Nichols was asked a question from a fan in the audience about what it was like to be a woman in television when there weren’t many women on screen, Nichols smiled and said, “I didn’t perform as a woman, I performed as an actor. I’ve always approached [acting] that way.”
Tom DeSanto, who has been the producer on movies like Transofmers and Battlestar Galactica, talked about how alone he felt in high school, being a nerd and collecting comic books, to who he is today. Much of the discussion in today’s panel talked about how different fandoms influenced their career trajectory. DeSanto provided a timely warning for fans, “I built my career on nostalgia but nostalgia can also be death.”
Spencer Lee says they are close to finishing the film, the passion project that he has been working on for the last four years. Lee thanked the panelists and fans and reflected on how much he has learned through out this project. Lee says the world of fandom has changed the world for the better. Lee also says the film is about patience, love, understanding and acceptance.
The panelists were remarkably upbeat in their reflections on fandom but reminded audience members to embrace what makes us different. Actor Douglas Tait talked about reading Fangoria as a child and how seeing characters from movies like Halloween depicted in the magazine which influenced his decision to become an actor. While cosplayer Cecil Grimes, who looks astonishingly like Rick Grimes, says fandom is universal and worldwide. Kerry O’Quinn closed the panel with his slight Texan drawl says that ultimately, the movie From The Bridge is a celebration of family.
Reading a statement O’Quinn said, “In my lifetime, I’ve seen the invention of television, computers, the internet and smart phones. We’ve set foot on the moon and now we’re exploring other planets and solar systems. I’ve been inspired by these achievements. (…) I’ve also been inspired by fictional heroes, who are profoundly important because they show us we don’t have to settle for an ordinary life. They show us what we can be and what we ought to be. Heroes challenge us as we enjoy life and liberty to reach for the stars. Fans have always understood this and as more fans come out of the closet and explore their own unique values, they become superheros.”
For more information about the movie you can head to www.fromthebridgemovie.com.