Journey to Planet X
USA, 2012, 78 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Documentary, Sci-Fi
Programs: Documentary, Reel Social Club
Journey to Planet X, a film about a film, follows amateurs Eric Swain and Troy Bernier, who collaborate on science-fiction films when they aren’t working at their day jobs as government scientists. Swain, a bachelor, crafts sets and props in his father’s garage. Bernier, a married man with an understanding wife, focuses on the marketability of their films. While Swain finds satisfaction in the creative process, Bernier says, “What good is making art if no one sees it?”
Whether the duo’s films could ever be considered art is a question Journey to Planet X never actually addresses. The documentary’s directors, Myles Kane and Josh Koury, don’t poke fun at the cheesy green screen special effects, or costumes bought at the local thrift store. Instead, they document the filmmakers’ commitment to their craft. When Swain and Bernier decide to make an “epic” called Planet X, they worry that the title sounds pornographic. Working without a budget, they schedule sunrise shoots with as many friends and family members as they can round up to play the roles of ORTS, members of an Organic Mining Conglomerate, and the invading aliens. Audiences enthuse over the story, but laugh at what the filmmakers conceived as serious battle scenes. When the Geek Film Festival accepts their film, Swain and Bernier react as if they had just won an Oscar.
Kane and Koury met Swain and Bernier while running the Brooklyn Underground Film Festival in 2002. They rejected the duo’s first submission, A Brief Spell, but reconsidered it the following year as “outsider cinema.” As they filmed Journey to Planet X, Kane and Koury gained new respect for Swain and Bernier as artists. “We would honestly rather wait in line to see one of Troy and Eric’s films than many of the Hollywood productions they aspire to be.”
- JOEY PORCELLI
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DIRECTOR: Myles Kane, Josh Koury
Producer: Trisha Barkman
Editor: Josh Koury, Myles Kane
Principal Cast: Eric Swain, Troy Bemier
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