Mr Lobo Interviews Monsters From The ID Director David Gargani

Written By: Mr Lobo


Lobo: Greetings David, MONSTERS FROM THE ID is a powerful and inspiring documentary! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Before we start, could you give a brief capsule description of your film for those out there who aren't lucky enough to have heard of it?

DG: Well… “Monsters From The Id” weaves the intersecting themes of over 30 classic 1950’s sci-fi films in order to tell the untold story of the rise of the modern scientist and his affect on inspiring the youth of America. It then continues to examine where science inspiration comes from today.

Lobo: How has reaction to the film been at other festivals and screenings?

DG: Thankfully, very good. When I started making this film and decided there would be no narration, I was worried that people wouldn’t follow the film. However, it seems like everyone gets it loud and clear. I became interested in these films because they inspired me. But it seems my film has gone on to inspire others and that’s the vibe I’ve been getting at most of the festivals.

Lobo: Many would believe a baby boomer made this film due to the selection of films and it’s view of the decade. How old are you? When and how did you see the films covered in your documentary? AND Are you a Sci-Fi Fan?

DG: Whenever someone meets me in person, they’re shocked that the director of this film is only 32. “How on earth did I ever become interested in this subject,” they ask. To this, I owe it all to my father. Growing up in the 80’s it might as well have been the 50’s for me because this is all we watched on TV. I fell in love with these films as a child and have kept the fascination ever since. Naturally this started my lifelong love of science fiction. For me the genre allows us to step outside of our everyday life. It makes the world a more interested place and gives us a medium to discuss humanity in a different context.

Lobo: What was your initial intention in making this documentary? Did the focus change as you got deeper into the material?

DG: At first this film was a 6 minute music video for a song my composer wrote called “puffed wheat.” However, once we saw how powerful the images were synced up to an electronic soundtrack I became intrigued with the style. From there I conceived an idea for short documentary completely music and sound bite driven. (basically a genre study as a musical meditation) Thankfully I ruled that idea out pretty fast. But it allowed me to develop the visual style for the film. After that I spent about 2 years researching the films and contacting all the various experts on the subject. It was over this time that I came to the realization that these films were closely linked with science education and the theme of the film was born.

Lobo: This film is remarkably optimistic despite the fact many of its conclusions are dark. Was there an effort to keep it positive?

DG: From the very beginning of the process I always felt that these films brought a positive message and I was determined to make that point. However after examining the sense of wonder that embodied the 1950’s it did make our current time seem rather bleak. Therefore the goal of this film was to try to capture the magic of those films and put it on display in the hope of once again inspiring an audience.

Lobo: This film has a great hook and doesn’t resemble typical documentaries of the genre…was this also a conscious effort?

DG: The look and sound of this film was very deliberate. From the beginning I knew that if I wanted people to think differently about this genre I would have to present it in a fresh new way. Although I knew sci-fi fans would enjoy this film, the intention was always to make the film interesting to people who were new to the genre and were being exposed to it for the first time. For that audience, I felt that the material couldn’t linger and that it must be edited in a very engaging manner.

Lobo: Tell us about the catchy and far-out music pumping through this film…who composed it? How important do you feel the score is to this film?

DG: That was all part of engaging the newer audience. For me, dark theatres and electronica music are cool. I also think 1950’s sci-fi and the heroes portrayed in them are cool. So the soundtrack is a bit of a personally expression as well as an attempt to make these films feel cool! Like Dr. Lucanio said in the movie, “most people see these films as inferior films.”… my goal was to reverse that perception.

Lobo: Were there any types of films you avoided covering in MONSTERS FROM THE ID and if so, why?

DG: No. But I did cherry pick the scenes from each to illuminate my point. Some of those films had secondary plot lines and alternate messages, but they were not the main theme. My goal was to distill the films down to their core and then cut them all back to back so that a viewer can take in the era as a whole.

Lobo: Are there any films you would have liked to include but didn’t?

DG: No. I worked with any material I believed would best make the point.

Lobo: What do you think is the most misunderstood classic of the genre?

DG: I think “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” has caught a bad rap over the years. That is why, although it is a tedious section of the film, I felt it was necessary to explain what Dr. Lucanio and Gary Coville were talking about. So many critics have labeled that film as nothing more then a fear mongering anti-communist film full of coded messages and despair. That is wholly untrue. What it is, is a nightmarish psychological drama that frightens the audience by turning the everyday world on top of itself. Although there are no men in rubber suites or flying saucers it is definitely the scariest film of the era and the best directed.

Lobo: How did you acquire all the wonderful clips from these films for your documentary? Was licensing and issue?

DG: Thankfully this film is operating under the Fair Use concept of copyright law. Since the film clips are being used as part of an intellectual critique for the purpose of social and educational commentary, we are allowed to use these clips without licensing them.

Lobo: Were there any portions left on the cutting room floor that you sorely miss?

DG: Yes. There was a great scene about the character Klatuu in “The Day The Earth Stood Still” that I had to cut out. In it, Dr. Lucanio explains how Klatuu was a Christ figure and how that message was so beautifully woven into the story that nobody ever noticed. Basically he arrives from the heavens with a message of redemption and peace… he is shot and questioned (aka persecuted) by the people he was coming to save… then he dies, rises again, delivers his final message of peace and ascends back into the heavens leaving the decision up to man’s free will. Of course it sounded better when he said it, but you get the point. I had to cut it out because once the final film was completed; it just didn’t fit into the rest of the theme.

Lobo: How are scientists portrayed in the mass media today?

DG: That’s the problem… they aren’t portrayed at all. Instead the media simplifies complicated issues like stem cell research, genetics, global warming, etc and then politicizes it. Nothing is ever heard from the brilliant minds trying to better understand the world in which we live. I think if we heard more from the people who create the scientific breakthroughs that affect all our daily lives, people would be more educated about the world around them.

Lobo: What are the youth of today inspired by?

DG: Unfortunately, I think we lived in a celebrity-obsessed culture today, and the youth are the victims of that. Not that all of it is bad, we just need more balance. Although it’s not a sexy as space travel, I think green technology and conservation has really grabbed the attention of the youth. There has been a shift in consciences about the way we use energy and the mark we leave on this planet, especially in younger people. I hope that this will inspire the youth to want to learn more about the science and technology behind the green movement, because they are our last chance.

Lobo: This film is very inspiring and I personally think it should be shown at Schools…are there any efforts to make this film available to educators?

DG: Yes… we are reaching out to distributors of educational programming to see if we can get this screened in more classrooms. This is where I think the film can have its greatest impact

Lobo: Do you think another flood of cheesy sci-f- movies would rejuvenate interest in the Sciences today?

DG: It sounds naive, but yes, I do. Although the hero scientist is still alive in films today, the themes are often overcomplicated, taking the focus away from science. I say keep it simple… one monster plus one scientist, a few forward thinking gizmos based on theoretical science and it equals a lot of fun.

Lobo: Is there a DVD release in the works?

DG: Yes, we are also planning on releasing the film on DVD. Although, I would look for it on cable first.

Lobo: What’s next for your film MONSTERS FROM THE ID and what is next for you?

DG: The film is continuing to play in a number of film festival throughout the US and internationally, so I’m going to continue traveling and promoting the film whenever I can. But soon it’s going to find a home on cable and DVD. For me, first I’m going to take a vacation, then I think I’m going to continue working on science driven inspirational documentaries. The process of researching this film opened so many new doors for me, that I have enough material to work with for a long time. I’m going to enjoy expanding on that work with more films in the future.

Lobo: What innovation, discovery, or accomplishment of the future do you most eagerly anticipate?

DG: Privatized Space Travel... I have made a promise to myself that before I die, I will travel to space and see the curvature of earth for myself. I think this is something we should all experience. Many astronauts have said that seeing our fragile little world from the outside makes you appreciate our place in the universe and just how special life is. I’d like to see what they’re talking about.

Lobo: Thanks again for the interview. Any last words for the fans out there?

DG: Just that, there is a lot of negativity out there and here is a chance to check reality at the door, sit in a darkened theatre, take in some monsters and have some fun.

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