I felt compelled to write a follow-up about a short film called Radio Free Blissville, which was produced in 2009. A feature is being devloped out of the short into a project called T888, or Transmission888.
The story concerns a pirate radio cult that operates in post-future Brooklyn from the back of a customized electric car. Since the short was created some very odd, friendly, and eerie coincidences have transpired which I wanted to collect in one article. Here is the original short.
@ :50– Satellites out of control
The premise of the world in which Blissville exists is that the global satellite system has been wrecked and a cascading effect has compromised modern digital communications so the average citizen in a city is left holding the bag and sees strange almost colorful abstractions in the sky.
- December 2009, Some very strange patterns in the sky freaked people out in Norway. (Discover)
- In December 2012 a North Korean Satellite went out of control. (Gizmodo)
@ 2:23 the main character Lenox broadcasts:
“there used to be a Fairway supermarket down here. Now there is just a mound or rotting produce pecked at by gulls.”
COINCIDENCE!? – When Sandy hit Red Hook where we shot most of the short, it destroyed the Fairway completely. Imlay Street where Lenox later broadcasts through the megaphone, was under four feet of water.
@5:20 Lenox predicts:
“There will be another time when majestic floating airships will rule the earth once again and there will be a blimp war. Giant floating ships lighter than air will be casting shadows on the land. Planes flying in formation around these ships will be like so many gnats.”
COINCIDENCE!? – It seems as though drones in warfare have become remarkably prevalent since we made the short. We are seemingly about to witness the return of the airship as well.
@ 7:04 – Lenox reads dedications over the broadcast and does an impromptu ad for Mr. Betz who removes Bedbugs.
COINCIDENCE!? – Bedbugs apparently took over Brooklyn in the summer of 2009 after the shoot. They haven’t really gone away since. Better call Mr. Betz.
@12:30 – Lenox dedicates a track to Vincent Dembowski a “progressive” listener.
COINCIDENCE!? – The name Vincent Dembowski was a real person who lived in Brooklyn in the 1950s and who operated a Shortwave Ham radio station. I came across an entire box of his QSL cards at an antique store and bought a few. They inspired me greatly. After the release of the short, I was contacted on the web by a man who grew up knowing Vincent in Brooklyn. He said Vincent was a amazingly generous and DIY artistic individual who had learned radio in WWII. He had also been crippled by Polio as a child and walked with a limp. NOT unlike the character Lenox who fell out a window and broke his back. Lenox never leaves the car intentionally.
@ General – The name of the project itself was not based on the Philip K Dick novel Radio Free Albermuth.
I hadn’t read the book before we made the short. I immediately became more of a fan however as I discovered the book concerns rogue satellites and radio. There are more strange similarities with T888 but I won’t get into that here. I bought a Tyrell Corporation t-shirt in 2010.
COINCIDENCE!? – One day on summer vacation in 2011 in a used bookstore in New Paltz, NY I walked in and immediately found a 1st edition of PDK’s Radio Free Albermuth while wearing that exact shirt.
The last lines of the book make me think that PKD has given us his approval for the project:
“The kids continued to stare at us. At the two political prisoners, old men to them, worn and dirty and defeated, eating their lunches, now, in silence. The transistor radio continued to play. Even more loudly. And, in the wind, I could hear others starting up everywhere. By the kids, I thought, The kids.”
@ 4:40 – March 20th, 2013 is the date on the invite in the movie.
COINCIDENCE!? – This is today!
– X.F. Pine