“The Spark” Redefines Living in a Surveillance Society

By Janet Phelan

In a quietly remarkable film, Stephen Shellenberger has opened up for us a wormhole into a subterranean world which few know exist. This world consists of people who are not whom they appear to be, of human experimentation, transhumanism and even clones. Through the course of the film, we are shown what can happen to a person who inadvertently sees beyond the veil.

On the surface, the main character in the film, Michael, is living a great life. A photographer in Montreal, he has been traveling the world for decades, photographing on assignment. When he sees a woman in the street, his girlfriend of more than 25 years ago, things suddenly take a turn in his life. The girlfriend had disappeared, and Michael, who has been grieving her loss since she inexplicably vanished, is stunned to realize that she has not aged at all.

And having seen her, his life suddenly changes.

He comes home to find things moved around in his house. Strangers begin to approach him who oddly know about his missing girlfriend. Bewildered and looking for answers, he approaches a man in the street who hands out flyers about surveillance.

And things begin to get even weirder. In the car on the way to a surveillance guru, who may have answers for Michael, the flyer guy begins to expostulate: “Cellphone towers, ELF, Scalar waves, we’re all bathed in an electromagnetic soup.” When they arrive at the pad of the guru, the surveillance narrative advances. The guru is so transfixed on his computer that he orders Michael to just leave the information he is seeking and go, saying “Everyone in this here slave colony is being fucking watched.”

Michael’s situation continues to devolve. He loses his job and, locked out of his own studio, begins to live on the streets. He begins to be assaulted with electronic weapons. It is when he meets a former DARPA scientist that some of the answers begin to emerge.

While his film is not autobiographical, Shellenberger indeed has a story to tell about his own targeting. As an established Hollywood actor known as Stephen Shellen (A River Runs Through It, The Bodyguard, Gone in Sixty Seconds, La Femme Nikita, etc.) his story also invites us to look beyond the veil. His own story, which involved not so much a missing girlfriend but a shadowy and elusive spouse with a secret double life as a high level sex slave, reveals a world of ritual abuse, stolen children and also the brutal effects of blacklisting. Stephen Shellenberger went from a successful career (he also started the hugely successful Lionsgate Productions and had homes in both L.A. and in Canada), to the career-ending blacklist and resultant homelessness. Both the persona in his film and Stephen Shellenberger received threats if they were to speak out. “Forget about your kids,” Shellenberger was told, “and maybe you will work again.”

The film was made in an unusual manner, as well. States Shellenberger,

Scenes often were written based on who I met that day and if I felt they could fit into the story. I would meet with them the next day and we would rehearse briefly them shoot the scene. The film had a life of its own and I wanted that, I wanted the film to be very organic, not canned. I used many non actors for that reason.

In addition, he worked from a “script” which was not written down but organically developed as the movie itself began to take form.

There is a world that only those who are targeted know. The slow and drearily earnest unfolding of surveillance news—“the Patriot Act reauthorizations expire and go to conference with the House Judiciary Committee,” (did so in March); “the 9th Circuit declares that the NSA spying programs are illegal” (did so in September)—are known by those targeted by surveillance protocols to be theater of the possible, of a possibility in a world where things are as they appear to be. And those targeted are aware that nothing in this world is what it appears to be.

The revolutionary aspect of this film is that, forthrightly and with significant artistry, The Spark exposes a world that is right before our eyes but which we rarely see. This is the world of what can happen to an individual with a “spark”—that is a spark of decency and love—in a world controlled largely by “information specialists” and technocrats. The parallel world exposed in The Spark could be considered to be the real world, while the world that we commonly inhabit could be seen as 2-D and utterly superficial. We skate on very thin ice in our 2-D world and this film contributes significantly to our understanding of what is real vs what we are told is real.

The Spark was initially screened at the Festival du nouveau cinéma in Montreal. It is available for rental or purchase on Vimeo, trailer below. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thespark

The Spark from Kim Ange on Vimeo.

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You are invited to support her work on Buy Me A Coffee here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JanetPhelan

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