BLAST!

BLAST! On Screen/In Person Tour

BLAST! has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, through the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation for a two-week tour in April, as part of the On Screen/In Person Touring Film Program.

Director Paul Devlin with be appearing with the film on the following dates. Come join us! (You can also buy the DVD here).  

Check out the video interview above from Erie, listen to this podcast from the Program, and check out more interviews here!

Follow Paul's tour on the On Screen In Person blog!

Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Movies at the Midway, 29 Midway Shopping Center
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Friday April 20th, 7:00pm
Join the event on Facebook
Read Paul's recap on the On Screen/In Person blog!

 

BLAST! - Theatrical Launch | Filmmaker Magazine

Posted by Paul Devlin:

I believe it is vitally important for filmmakers to share their experiences. Even failures and embarrassments. These happen to all of us, and it’s good to be reassured that we’re not alone. Whenever the opportunity arises, I like to speak up. And when I think I have enough to say for an article, I publish.

Releasing my science epic film BLAST! theatrically in the U.S. turned into its own epic story. When I wrote it out, I wasn’t sure how such an in-depth piece would work in a magazine. I structured it episodically with built-in cliffhangers, in case it had to be divided up into pieces. I fully expected to have to cut it way down for publication.

indieWire completely ignored my submission, but Scott Macaulay, Editor of Filmmaker, picked it up and published the article in its entirety in Winter 2010. The fact that it was the longest piece the magazine ever published became a selling point for the print edition of Filmmaker. I’m very happy to have contributed a comprehensive New Yorker-style story to our community of independent filmmakers.

Check out the article here!

BLAST! Excerpt- McMurdo Station

BLAST! will broadcast on KPBS - San Diego, November 2, at 11PM Pacific and KTCA - St. Paul, MN also in November (check local listings).

Get ready with this visit to Antarctica!

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Excerpt - Canada Recovery

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Most people don’t hang out with their siblings at work, so they have no real idea what they do day-to-day. Part of the journey of making BLAST! was discovering, up-close, what my brother did for a living.  As I followed him around to some of the most remote places on the planet, I became more and more amazed by what these hardcore scientists go through to get the job done. Then my job became to bring an audience along on my own journey of discovery.

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Production Update - Editing BLAST!

Posted by Paul Devlin:

As part of our Artist Share fundraising effort for BLAST!, we invited Participants into our creative process as it was happening with short video production updates like this one.

Now that the project is complete, we're inviting you into that process as well with this piece on editing.

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! - Sweden Launch

Posted by Paul Devlin:

The launch of BLAST in Arctic Sweden was one of the most arduous shoots of my career. 

We had already been waiting weeks for the launch day because of weather delays.  I wanted to hire camera help from the nearby city of Kiruna. But it was impossible to give a definitive shoot date. When the day finally arrived, the actual launch time of 9AM was delayed for about 18 hours, and did not happen until around 3AM the next morning (still well-lit because of the midnight sun).  I wouldn’t have been able to keep a crew on anyway, so I gave extra cameras to the grad students instead.

I had a wireless mic on the launch leader, Victor Davison, that allowed me to keep track of progress. The two main areas of activity, the telescope and balloon, were separated by about 300 meters of flight train. As I heard Vic directing, I would run back and forth along that 300 meters – camera gear in hand – to catch the action as it was happening. A serious workout in the early hours of the morning.


There was one other professional camera man shooting the launch. He was hired by NASA and hoped to make a special for Discovery Channel. We had both spent weeks waiting, the crew knew us, and we were able to get close to the inflating of the balloon.  I knew his camera would eventually be high on a hill catching the launch from front and side.  So I decided to stay behind and catch a close-up of the balloon rising.  Both spectacular shots.

Later I offered to trade footage with the other cameraman, so we would both have better coverage. He declined. Luckily for me, he was working for NASA at the time, which put his shot in the public domain. I was able to use his anyway.

By the way, his show Space Balloons, was very well-produced and did play on Discovery.  But the segment on BLAST stops as the telescope rises into the sky – no mention of the disasters that follow. Too many shows like this become science propaganda, glossing over what’s really going on behind the scenes. We wanted to buck that trend with BLAST!. Celebrate the failures! Failure is an essential component of learning and progress (not too mention great for a dramatic arc!) Space Balloons also did not give proper credit to my brother Mark’s role as Principle Investigator of BLAST – another unfortunate choice.

At the last moment, Victor invited Mark to ride on the launch vehicle during launch.  A rare privilege!  If only I had given Mark a camera too.  What a spectacular shot that would have been!  We tried again to get that shot in Antarctica, but the cameraman was removed from the launch vehicle when the winds kicked up just before launch. Someday I hope someone can get that elusive shot!

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Production Update - Mountainfilm in Telluride

Posted by Paul Devlin:

MountainFilm in Telluride is happening May 27-30.

This is one of my favorite film festivals, programmed by our friend David Holbrooke.  It’s really much more than a film festival, with lectures, exhibits, and symposia accompanying movie screenings.

When Power Trip played there I had the opportunity to engage David’s father, diplomat Richard Holbrooke in a sustained discussion about the Republic of Georgia during the Q&A. This video shows the fun we had at the U.S premiere of BLAST! at Mountainfilm as part of our Artist Share project.  Great screenings including the longest sustained applause I’ve ever had for one of my movies at a packed 9AM screening in the Nugget Theater.   

Definitely go to Mountainfilm in Telluride if you have the chance. You can’t beat the setting or the people.


BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Extra - Telescope Tour!

Posted by Paul Devlin:

How much science is too much science?

That was the big question when editing BLAST!. Viewers needed to understand enough to invest in the stakes for the BLAST team.  But we had to be careful not to bog the story down with too much complicated, unfamiliar information. Very challenging.

Does the audience need to understand the light spectrum? Do they need to know what a light year is? Do they want details on how the telescope
operates?  Do they understand that our sun is also a star?  How can we get all this info in and not kill the story?

Endless test screenings of rough cuts helped us calibrate for the broadest possible audience. Were they absorbing the science? Did they need more? Would they still get caught up in the story even if there were some parts they didn’t understand?  A painstaking process, screening new cuts weekly. And each audience had to be fresh.  We started running out of friends and colleagues to be our test audiences!

We decided describing the details of how BLAST works was not essential for the story, so these vignettes did not make the final movie.  But the inner workings of this amazing instrument are still fascinating on their own.  Have fun geeking out!

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Production Update - A Chile Adventure!

Posted by Paul Devlin:

As part of our Artist Share fundraising effort, we documented the BLAST! filmmaking process by creating regular production updates for our Participants.  This is one of my favorites, a journey to Chile. Adventuresome filmmaking meets adventuresome science.

BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

BLAST! Extra - Sweden Road Trip

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Science can be a rich experience, not just because of the work itself because of where the work can take you. When I was a kid, my family traveled all over the U.S and Europe, following the research of my physicist father. Great adventures.

That’s not to say science is not also hard work. The grad students worked for months at the isolated Esrange Space Center preparing the first launch of BLAST and waiting for the weather to clear.  But every once in awhile they would get out and have some adventures too. And I went along.  

Experiencing the culture of Arctic Sweden through the eyes of the grad students I hope will inspire other young people to explore the adventuresome elements of careers in science.


BLAST! DVD
BLAST! Trailer

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