The long-awaited cinema documentary from director William Gazecki has recently opened in the US to praise from croppies, mixed reactions from film critics and some controversy. ANDY THOMAS reports on the responses filtering through so far…
After almost two years of filming and much anticipation, the documentary ‘Crop Circles: Quest For Truth’ has finally opened in the US. It premiered at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles on August 21st, and in more recent weeks has had a limited release across the US.
Production of the film has not been without its troubles (with friction between the director and the executive producer resulting in the latter being barred from attending the film’s premiere!), and newspaper reviews have been mixed, some finding it one-sided and undramatic, although reaction to the phenomenon it displays has been surprisingly supportive. But there have also been very positive remarks, and away from the official critics many crop circle enthusiasts have hailed it as the documentary the cerealogical world has always deserved.
In an unusual move, interviews with plankers and sceptics have been completely excised from the final cut (although they were filmed). Referring to the ‘believer-only’ members of the circle research community featured in the film, Kenneth Turan, in a ‘Los Angeles Times’ review, acidly remarks that the film has been “hijacked by the members of the ‘inner sanctum’”. The novel one-sidedness in this direction has angered some sections of the planking brigade, provoking e-mail and Internet ripostes. However, non-sceptics are delighted that, for once, these people are getting a taste of their own medicine, as it is usually the ‘believers’ who suffer most from the editing scissors. Thus the film, whilst providing a thorough history of the phenomenon, is very much a look at the philosophies of those who hold the circles to be largely non-human events, rather than any kind of investigative process, though some have subsequently taken the title of the film to task as a result.
There has been some concern in the cerealogical world at the disproportionate rehabilitation of certain earlier veteran researchers who later turned substantially more negative, as their hefty - and without doubt correct - inclusion in the first parts of the film dealing with the earlier years is not balanced by any acknowledgment of the damage later caused by their subsequent debunking of many aspects of the phenomenon.
Director William Gazecki has responded to critics of the film by saying: “My general ‘take’ on everything so far is that for those who are open to the phenomenon, the film is magical and wonderful… for those who are not - they project their limitations in their reviews/assessments. What else is new? This is real life folks, and the chase is on!”
If it had a mission to clean up any misconceptions left in the wake of the ‘Signs’ movie, it seems to be succeeding well, with many delighted to find the availability of a good summing up of the real goings-on. Certainly, whatever its detractors, it is clear the film will be THE video croppies will be handing around to doubting friends and relatives when it arrives on video and DVD. It will also inevitably be screened on television at some point.
Only the first 45 minutes have so far been seen in the UK, at a special showing for this year’s Glastonbury Symposium conference. It is still unknown as to whether a UK cinema release will be forthcoming, and we will update you on this as and when news arrives.
Incidentally, the UK fictional movie 'A Place To Stay' recently had a special showing in London, to very positive reactions from some who saw it. However, there is still no news as to whether it will receive any distribution in the UK or overseas.
The official website for ‘Crop Circles: Quest For Truth’ can be found at: