In 2008 I made a mockumentary called The Silent But Deadly Truthvolution of Truth, a found-footage style comedy that pieces together director Paul Libero’s interviews, B-roll, and scratch track audio sent anonymously to JayVay Productions. JayVay hired Paul to investigate the Billy Liar UFO cult. He went missing. This footage is all we have left to solve the mystery of his disappearance.
Truthvolution is a sendup of Michael Horn’s The Silent Revolution of Truth propaganda doc on the long-ago demolished Billy Meier alien contactee “case.” Horn had challenged me in April 2008 to reproduce Meier’s flying saucer footage. I decided to go one better and re-imagine his entire film before I’d even watched it. Originally, Truthvolution began with the trailer for Horn’s flick so that the audience would know exactly what I was parodying. I think it added more confusion because the Meier story is so outlandish they didn’t know if that trailer was real or not!
Curiously (and thankfully) Horn gave me permission to use his trailer. Years later he forgot he’d done so and tried to have the film yanked off of Youtube. I reminded him of our written agreement and he stopped yanking. I edited it out anyway. We all lived happily ever after.
The Little Movie That Could
Truthvolution premiered on the big screen at the 2008 Culture of Contact festival. Not many attended unless you count the crickets–and you could count the crickets at that festival–but those who did exited the theater with big embarrassed smiles on their faces, notably Rich and Karen Dolan who thought it was hysterical and in some respects smack-on. A little too smack-on for Karen’s taste. She was the original voice over artist but after seeing the film asked that I take her out because she didn’t want to offend her friends in UFO world. I wouldn’t want that for her either. Mercifully, Lisa Ritzmann had no such qualms and came to the rescue filling in the role nicely.
Next, I entered it for an EBE award at the UFO Congress. This was a joke but I REALLY wanted it to play there so I could make a speech. The UFO Congress, at the time, was run by Meierites. In fact, Michael Horn won for The Silent Revolution of Truth the year before. Paola Harris would have been forced to sit through my imitation of her. Oh, you can imagine the uncomfortable hilarity that would have ensued. So could the guy to whom I submitted. He asked if I could edit it down to fifteen minutes. I said no. Then he asked if I could take the Paola Harris caricature “Payola Harry” out because, although funny, it might not go over so well with, for example, mmm… Paola Harris. I said no. Then he said no.
Oh well. Maybe some year I’ll make a straight documentary about nonsense instead of a parody of nonsense and sweep the EBEs. It’s very prestigious you know.
January 1st, 2009 I posted the movie on Google Video. Within 2 days it received over 11,000 views which is better than opening weekend for many actual documentaries in the theater. Shortly thereafter Google stopped counting and then went extinct handing video duties over to Youtube where it now lives.
The Silent But Deadly Truthvolution of Truth was a labor of love. I never tried to sell it and never will. It’s free for all forever. It’s significant to ufology in two ways. First, it’s the first time in the history of the subject that skeptics, researchers, and experiencers have ever willingly and gladly collaborated on a project together. That’s just how much the Meier fiasco is despised. Second, Jim Dilettoso is one of the ufologists the Meier clan have cited through the years as supporting their case. And here we have him saying straight into the camera that it’s crap. In case you think he’s just doing it for the mock-doc, Jeff Ritzmann and I later taped him in conversation for my Culture of Contact podcast and another show saying the real case… is crap.
It’s tough enough to do anything comical in ufology, let alone parody it. Still, most of the feedback was positive. It’s generally considered funny if you don’t know anything about the subject, hysterical if you do… unless you believe in all that Meier crap or are Paola Harris. Then, maybe, not so funny. That said, one criticism I think is fair is that it feels long after a while even though its running time is a mere 51 minutes. Reason being, I edited in delineated sections: the believers speak, then the apologists speak, then the researchers speak, and finally the big interview with the man himself. If I had mixed all of these together it might have given the flick a faster pace but I liked idea of revealing Billy Liar incrementally. Also, it works better with the premise of the film–that this is a patchwork of footage from Paul’s camera.
I think if you like the film, by the time the last segment comes you’re tired from laughing and need a break. That’s unfortunate, but….
My answer to that valid critique is: Yeah, but it’s free.
Reediting takes time. The tens of thousands of people who have seen it are probably its core audience. Not many more will be interested. I didn’t get 11,000 hate mails so I’m guessing it’s juuuuust fine.I’m not reediting it. So there.
(Five bucks says that members of the ufological internet troll community go straight to Youtube to piss on it in the comments section. Make your insults clever, kids, or I won’t let you post ’em. What’s that you say? Your problem is that “clever” is at the bottom of your list of personality traits? Oh, man, color me shocked.)
Sequel & Spinoff
Truthvolution may not have won any awards but it did spawn a couple of clever spinoffs.
The first is a very short sequel: Truthvolution II: Silent But Deadly. Funny enough this one is directed by Paul Libero, who played the director in the original. I had nothing to do with this flick expect give it my blessing and stamp of approval. Really, I just wanted to see what he had in mind. It works well as a coda, telling the story of what happened when Paul got caught spying on the Billy Liar compound. Because, you know, we have all these unanswered questions like Lost… er….
The second spinoff was a now defunct DJ Nargolbin Myspace Page. R.I.P. Myspace page. Ridiculous.
In case you missed the hyperlink at the top, you can watch The Silent But Deadly Truthvolution of Truth here: