Science Fiction literature has been at the heart of modern mythmaking since the industrial revolution spawned Frankenstein’s monster. The Twentieth Century placed it squarely at the center of the debate between mankind, technology and the future. Because it has penetrated almost the entire spectrum of popular culture, SF transmits deep messages to an extremely wide audience.

The Possible Future

Like jazz, Science Fiction reflects its times, but more than most pop culture, it’s had a persistent role in shaping those times. Like “Jazz” by Ken Burns, we envision a multi-part documentary, but in looking at literature, the performances are the real lives of writers, and the unfolding of history.

The Industrial Revolution forced men into a new society and a 19 year old girl, Mary Shelley wrote the basic critical text – “Frankenstein.” After nearly a hundred years of technological, social and political realignment, H. G. Wells launched the Twentieth Century with an innovative and inevitable literature of change.

The Twentieth Century contains nearly the full arc of our story; a story of individuals struggling to understand the big ideas that moved their world and how their thinking brought us all to the Twenty-first Century.


“The Possible Future” is what we are calling our TV documentary, and well as the variety of projects it has generated.

The History of Science Fiction & Educational Media

John W. Campbell’s Golden Age of Science Fiction”. We have just completed a pilot DVD on the career of the famed editor John Campbell, taking advantage of the unique and powerful interactive capabilities of the DVD format. This program will be the definitive treatment of this man who forced the genre of science fiction into maturity.

We have also just completed our restoration and re-release of James Gunn’s legendary “Literature of Science Fiction Film Series". Featuring many of our most important writers, these films were originally produced in the 1970’s and have been unavailable in any form for fifteen years, but are finally available in a two volume set of DVDs.

Respecting Text / Short Films

Working on a documentary film with literature at its core has challenged us to look at the relationship of textual and filmed narrative, and motivated us to experiment in the short film form.

Day Million” is a short experimental film. Author, Frederik Pohl reads his classic short story about life and love one thousand years in the future accompanied by objective and non-objective visuals… and a beautiful woman, who is really a man.

We have recently begun work on a version of Barry Malzberg’s “Understanding Entropy", a Nebula nominated short story. An omniscient narrator traveling back through the life of a friend, on his deathbed of AIDS. Our narrator (for his own salvation) questions him over and over, “was it worth it?”

In each of these stories, the author delivers the full text, accompanied by visuals that do not concretize them, but allow the viewer to use their mind’s eye. They are ideal for classroom use.

Restoration

Jim Gunn’s films (above) were DMZ’s first restoration project. Had we not meticulously salvaged, transferred and color corrected prints originally discarded by the University of Kansas library system, the only source of these films today would be a single bad VHS master

We have also worked with Carol Emshwiller, David Hartwell and Robert Haller (of Anthology Film Archives) to restore four important films by Ed Emshwiller, pioneering avant garde film maker and artist.

In the course of interviewing Joe Suder about Alfred Bester (Joe is the heir to the Bester estate), Alfie’s "Gimmick Books" were made available to us. These commonplace books are full of fascinating observations and painfully reveal Bester’s life.

Archives

We have developed one of the largest archives of Science Fiction related historical film and video in the world. Forrest J. Ackerman may have 8000 SciFi movies (three per VHS tape) in his basement, but we have digital masters of original interviews, experimental films and even home movies of the men and woman who actually created the genre.

We decided to share our resources with scholars and other interested parties by duplicating the larger part of our materials and donating copies to two special collections: James Gunn’s Center for the Study of Science Fiction and the Science Fiction Foundation at the University of Liverpool in the UK.

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