Posted by Paul Devlin:
Could we have ever guessed at the start of this project that it would culminate with my astrophysicist brother appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report? My science adventure movie, BLAST! was very popular internationally. It screened on television all across Europe, Japan, Canada, even had a weekend of global broadcasts that reached 120 countries on BBC World News.
But the United States is the toughest market for independent filmmakers and BLAST! received a lot of resistance from both film festivals and broadcasters in the U.S. – even though the movie was a suspenseful story by an American filmmaker about an American scientist. Was it because of too much science? Too little science? Too much religious discussion? No “Voice-of-God” narrator? Too personal – breaking convention by examining scientist’s family sacrifices? Who knows? But the traditional gatekeepers kept BLAST! from a national broadcast in the U.S.
That didn’t stop my brother and me. We knew there was an enthusiastic American audience we needed to reach. So, we went around the gatekeepers, distributed to regional PBS stations and found other important allies. These included Leonard Lopate of WNYC Radio, Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday, and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report. We reached the nation despite it all – the Colbert Nation, that is.
Sometimes it’s about the quality of the people who get your work, not the quantity. Colbert almost never shows movie clips, so I consider it a personal triumph that he showed a clip of BLAST!