CALLING ALL EARTHLINGS, the new documentary from filmmaker Jonathan Berman ('Commune,' 'The Schvitz') has it all: UFOs, a mystical dome in the Joshua Tree desert, psychic experiences, time travel, Howard Hughes, Nikolai Tesla, communists, eternal life, murder– oh yeah, and Nazis.
"Calling All Earthlings" tells the story of George Van Tassel as he follows alien guidance and Nikola Tesla's scientific principles, and attempts to build a time machine in the California desert.
It doesn't answer any of the big questions about alien existence or time travel, but I still found this film to be a fascinating, enjoyable, and worthwhile look inside the protagonist's weird world.
I spoke to filmmaker Jonathan Berman about the project.
"I've always been entranced by the Johnson Smith catalogue — X-Ray Specs, Sea Monkeys, DIY Submarines," Berman said.
"So when I saw a photo of this gothic, unearthly, 1950s dome with a sign perched on it that read, 'For basic experimentation in life extension'," he said, "I knew I had to go there."
"Once I landed in the desert, I got sucked into the many mysteries of the story. Could there actually be a time machine? Is free energy possible?"
"I felt a little bit like Richard Dreyfuss in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind.' The way he was obsessed with that formation was similar to the way I became obsessed with the dome."
"Seven years later, our investigation and documentary are complete."