E. Elias Merhige - RV: A Filmmaker's Journey into the Dramatic Structure of the Mind IRVA 2006
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(Oct 15, 2007)
You know you're in for an exciting ride when a presentation starts out: "Don't boo me until you hear my story!" Booing was a real possibility for Hollywood director Elias Merhige as he bravely faced a critical audience in defending and explaining the philosophy behind his feature film "Suspect Zero," starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Aaron Eckhart, and Carrie-Anne Moss. "Suspect Zero" was the first theatrical release from a major studio to feature remote viewing as a core element in the plot, but many in the remote viewing community were uncomfortable with the dark portrayal of remote viewing in the film. But by the time Merhige wraps up his talk, he has moved the audience from confrontation to eating out of his hand, ending to loud applause. Merhige details how his interest in consciousness, mind, and art inexorably led to the portrayal of remote viewing on the silver screen. Along that journey he was inspired by Nietzsche, almost died in a catastrophic automobile accident, during which he experienced a spiritual reliving of human history, came to reject the materialist view of human mentality, and tells us how an idea that emerged while he was in a dream-state was seminal for "Suspect Zero." This leads into an exploration of creativity, and how it and remote viewing play into film-making. Remote viewing, he concludes, plants a seed that, as it grows, will have a significant transformative effect on humanity. At the end, he reviews and discusses excerpts from the documentary features contained on the Suspect Zero DVD.
A native to Brooklyn, New York, Merhige received his bachelor of fine arts in motion picture directing from State University New York. A gifted student, he dove into film quickly with the feature Begotten. The fantasy film zeroed in on the heavens, with the death of God and birth of Mother Earth. Doing just about everything from directing and writing, to producing and editing, his hard work was rewarded when it was listed among the top ten films of 1991 by Time magazine.
In 2004 Merhige directed Suspect Zero, the first feature film to include remote viewing as an essential aspect of the storyline. The DVD's extra features include interviews with people who worked with the US military and intelligence agencies as part of those programs.
Besides directing, Merhige has lectured on aesthetics at the Carnegie Mellon Museum and the American Film Institute in Washington, D.C.
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