In the Works: THE BELIEVERS

Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross previously made THE ATOM SMASHERS, about the Fermilab’s search for the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle,” which screened on PBS’ Independent Lens. Their Chicago-based company, 137 Films, “promotes science literacy through story-telling,” and they’ve got quite a story to tell in their current production, THE BELIEVERS (formerly known as THE EXPERIMENT).

THE BELIEVERS tackles the complex (or some would say convoluted) story of Cold Fusion, the claim made in 1989 by two University of Utah electrochemists, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, that they had discovered a way to create nuclear fusion at below normal temperatures for such a reaction – potentially solving the world’s energy problems. When their experiments were unable to be replicated, Cold Fusion was largely declared impossible, and most scientists, and the media, moved along. Brown and Ross’ film, however, profiles a number of individuals who have maintained that Cold Fusion is possible – THE BELIEVERS follows their stories, and investigates the 20 year controversy stemming from Pons and Fleischmann.

The filmmakers successfully completed a $6,000 Kickstarter campaign last month, but tax-deductible contributions can still be made – more information is available on their website, as is a mailing list sign-up to keep you updated on future developments.

The science geek in me is very intrigued by this project – while I remember the 1989 announcement and subsequent skepticism, I’m curious to hear what Cold Fusion acolytes have been doing for the past two decades, working on something that has largely been decried as a hoax or bad science. 137 Films seems interested in exploring multiple levels to this story, not in coming up with a definitive debunking or endorsement, which gives me hope that they’re not aiming to hold up their subjects as easy targets for ridicule, or, alternately, as heroes to praise. While the Kickstarter campaign’s mention of re-enactments has me a little concerned, I’m hoping there isn’t too much of that, and that the filmmakers focus more on the present day and any archival material they can get ahold of. I’ll be interested to see the film in its final form.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, In the Works

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