A Couple More Reviews

I don’t get around much anymore, but I do get on line, reading, writing and watching videos. In some ways, this telepresence is wonderful: saves gas (trips to the library) and gives me access to the whole universe of human information, fake news and all. In other ways, it’s a pain in the ass, which is why I got off Facebook, plus Zuckerberg’s politics are Fascist. But what was I getting at? I can’t remember, so herewith some more reviews.


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Witness of Another World, a film by Alan Stivelman

Most documentaries assume a point of view, then show you a bunch of images to convince you they’re right. A good example would be Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 film Blackfish. I studied documentary film in college and kept an interest in it all my life; it is infinitely more interesting to film a documentary, where you never quite know what will happen next, versus a feature, where you are shooting, piece by piece, a structure, following a script, and trying to get everything right (i.e. no jets overhead, no telephone poles projecting from the actors’ heads, etc.).

Blackfish is the most influential documentary I’ve ever seen; I am convinced that film alone “ruined” a visit to SeaWorld for hundreds of thousands of people, cost $ millions at the box office and brought about the organization’s newfound commitment to quit breeding and exhibiting orcas when their current stock dies off.

Like I said, a very successful documentary.

Witness of Another World is equally moving and convincing, but in a different way. For here we have a boy, Juan Perez, who was by his own story taken aboard an unidentified flying object 40 years ago, and has never felt at ease with himself since. He has grown into a man not so much shunned by others as shunning them, because they mock and humiliate him and his experience, because they do not understand that he has seen something supernatural, something metaphysical, something genuinely mysterious.

In a video flashback, as the 12-year-old Juan is being questioned on live TV as to what he saw, he suddenly freezes, then presses his hands over his eyes and breaks into tears. He cannot put the experience into words, and if he could, who would believe him?

Sound familiar?

Finding a UFO encounter with that depth of time and footage behind it is extraordinary, but what makes Argentinian director Alan Stivelman’s film even more remarkable is the entrance of Franco-American UFO researcher Dr. Jacques Vallee, who interviewed Perez way back when, and now re-emerges offering some hope.

Stivelman isn’t one to stand aloof from is subjects, like a nature documentarian filming a hunting lion. From the first frame he admits his involvement, saying he stumbled across Juan’s case and wondered what became of him. Now, he determines (somehow, it’s not made clear) that Juan is from the Guarani tribe, ancestrally. Perhaps the tribe has some wisdom to help him?

Indeed they do, and the film features the gnarled faces and sage advice of two tribal elders. The Guarani culture has recognized the spirit world for generations, and Juan’s bizarre experience fits right in.

Other documentaries try to persuade you of the reality of UFOs with fuzzy photos or jumpy films. Witness of Another World presents a human being, changed and remolded as new interpretations of his experience reveal themselves. It is, in its own way, much more moving and effective.

This is what the UFO does: it alienates us from our own debunking, scientific, materialistic world. It is perhaps, as Vallee  suggests, the breakthrough of the irrational, like some uber-quantum particle, into the rational world; or rather, the temporary dissolution of the rational world in something like a dream-state, where the laws of reality allow you to meet your grandfather again, these many years dead.

Do I need to say that Witness of Another World is one of most remarkable documentaries I’ve ever seen? It needs to become the new touchstone of the supernatural film, bringing compassion and humanity to a subject has long been argued on a digital, yes/no basis. I urge you to to view it, buy it, and share it with other like-minded people. Do it today!


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Reality Denied: Firsthand Experiences with Things that Can’t Happen — But Did. Non-fiction by John B. Alexander, Colonel U.S. Army (Ret.)

I remember, before my teens, my father would from time to time take us out to The Viking Smorgasbord in Ardmore, a suburb of Philadelphia near Radnor, where we lived. It featured a vast, rotating table, covered with all kinds of Scandinavian delights, but what I remember most clearly (and oddly) are the spiced, pickled plums. I’ve never tasted anything like them.

Of course, the most important part of visiting a smorgasbord is to remember not to eat too much of any one item. This leaves room for more variety. On the other hand, only having a taste or sample of an item — variety itself — sometimes becomes boring, and you want to eat something (think ice cream or chocolate cake) in depth. Unfortunately, you are stuck at the smorgasbord.

Such is the fate of the reader of Reality Denied, a lack of any depth. Author Col. John B. Alexander devotes at most a chapter to each subject and a brief synopsis of what was obviously a complex event. This is simply insufficient, but my criticism of this book doesn’t end there.

I bought Reality Denied for one reason, to read Chapter 3, “Speak To Me,” where the colonel finds that his (now ex-) wife is conveniently telepathic while in the Bahamas to research dolphins. What does he do with the remarkable link to an alien, literally extra-terrestrial intelligence? Why, he orders a pod of dolphins to swim hither and yon, like a platoon of soldiers on a parade field. Having thus proved the utility of human-dolphin telepathy in the wild, he carries it backward to a captive dolphin whose most perceptive comment about his living arrangements is that he can’t jump twice like they wanted, the ceiling is too low. (“Look up!” is the exact transmission.) So he agrees to bob twice. Problem solved!

Do I need to say that I AM ASHAMED BY THE LACK OF IMAGINATION SHOWN BY THIS HUMAN BEING?

I mean, Alexander had the brightest minds in the ocean at his beck and call, and he never asked them about their lives? How bio-echolocation works? How they breathe while sleeping? How they fend off sharks? Do they dream? Can they make things up, i.e., lie, tell stories, invent religion… What are those big brains so preoccupied with?

If Alexander did any of this, he doesn’t write about it here. He makes communicating with another species sound about as exciting as reading a train schedule. He goes on to chronicle other unbelievable adventures, such as “spoon-bending parties” where telekinesis is exhibited, and… that’s all I can think of now. There’s plenty more here, I’m only halfway through the book, I’ll probably finish it someday, I might as well get my $9.99 Kindle fee out of it. But there’s no real impetus to do so.

AM I THE ONLY HUMAN BEING WHO HAS USED HUMAN-DOLPHIN TELEPATHY TO TRY TO ENTER (be it ever-so-hesitantly) THE DOLPHINS’ WORLD?

Apparently so. Why, or why not? Is it even of interest to anybody else, what dolphins on the high seas think and feel as they go about their extraordinary lives?

In answer, all I can say is it became very important to me 48 years ago, and it has never stopped being important since. Colonel Alexander, you should be ashamed for writing such a dull book about such exciting subjects!


 

 

 

 

Why I wrote “Wet Goddess”

Prologue

(Above: Dolly, my dolphin lover. © 2010, Malcolm J. Brenner)

Let me make something abundantly clear: Wet Goddess was not written to promote bestiality or zoophilia, although I knew if I told my story it would probably come down to that.

I wrote Wet Goddess to share my experience with a creature that I found to be remarkably sophisticated, intelligent, aware, loving and worthy in every way of the designation, “non-human person.”

And she didn’t come out of some alien spacecraft. Her kind exist here on Earth, as they have for millions of years before we appeared, surviving ages of fire and ice in the arms of Mother Ocean.

In the decades since my experience with Dolly, science has, in many ways, caught up with my impressions and anecdotal experience. Now cognitive psychologists and others have explored the mind of the dolphin and arrived at the same conclusions I did in 1971: dolphins are self-aware individuals, able to recognize themselves in a mirror, experiencing a vast range of emotions and behaviors, language users and capable of employing “theory of mind,” the ability to calculate or imagine what another creature is thinking.

We should be devoting a large chunk of our resources as a species to understanding these creatures who have survived so much longer on this planet than we have. What are we doing instead? Some nations still slaughter them en masse in tuna nets, while others conduct murderous drive hunts and butcher them with glee. Some nations take the prettiest ones and commoditize them and sell them into enslavement, where they are forced to perform stupid tricks for our amusement. And we are polluting their environment at such a rate that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. I despair for their future.

My zoosexual love story with Dolly the dolphin is what has attracted most attention, but if I’d had sex with a barnyard animal or a household pet, do you seriously think I’d have spoken up, exposing a practice that most people find viscerally revolting?

Of course not. Zoophiles may still have to keep their sexuality a secret in most situations, but they are humans and accorded certain rights by law. Dolphins are considered chattel, or property, by the same system. I am advocating for changing that and giving dolphins rights under a framework that recognizes their status, as acknowledged by science.

And that, folks, is what I mean when I say “I didn’t write Wet Goddess for zoophiles, I wrote it for dolphins.”

Sorry I had to spell it out for those of you who so perceptively pointed out that dolphins can’t read.

 

“Dolphin Lover” now on YouTube

Dolphin-Lover-This-Man-PosterThe award-winning 2015 short documentary film “Dolphin Lover,” chronicling Malcolm J. Brenner’s 1971 love affair with a dolphin named Dolly, is now available on YouTube, the film’s producer said Thursday.

Joey Daoud announced the distribution arrangement on Facebook.  In honor of National Dolphin Day, interested viewers can see the film for free Thursday, April 14 at Coffee and Celluloid’s web site.

“April 14th is recognized around the country as National Dolphin Day, a time to celebrate the beloved and brilliant marine mammals,” Daoud said.  “In honor of this occasion, ‘Dolphin Lover,’ the controversial award-winning short documentary on the incredible true story of Malcolm J. Brenner and his summer-long love affair with Dolly the dolphin will be released free to audiences everywhere via YouTube.”

Co-Directed by Daoud and Kareem Tabsch, “Dolphin Lover” premiered at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival, where it won Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Short Film.  It went on to play a multitude of festivals around the world, garnering critical acclaim and awards, including the top prize for Documentary Short Film at the Los Angeles Film Festival. The film’s controversial subject entered the popular zeitgeist and led to significant media attention, from Howard Stern to Rush Limbaugh, @midnight with Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central, Watch What Happens Live on Bravo, and on media outlets like Vice, New York Post, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and countless others.

Set in 1971 on the Southwest coast of Florida, “Dolphin Lover” tells the incredible true story of Malcolm J. Brenner, a college student who lands his first professional gig as a freelancer photographing the marine animals at Floridaland, a tourist trap disguised as a roadside amusement park. The experience would launch Malcolm’s career as a photographer and introduce him to his one true love while changing his life forever. The assignment sent Brenner on a year-long romantic and sexual love affair with Dolly, a captive bottlenose dolphin. Brenner chronicled his relationship in a novel, Wet Goddess, which served as inspiration for the short film. The film features an in-depth interview with Brenner as well as archival footage and animation to tell of Brenner’s unique experience.

“Since we made the film we’ve been getting countless requests asking us where to see it, we thought there was no better way to share the film with the world than to release it on National Dolphin Day as a gift to dolphin lovers everywhere” Daoud said. The film is currently available for purchase or rental via iTunes but will be released free online via YouTube.

“Audiences at film festivals have really championed the film at every screening we’ve had, so we’re really eager for the film to be seen by a wider audience and hear what they think. One thing’s for certain, you won’t be able to stop talking about this story,” added Tabsch.

Viewers can watch the film starting on April 14th for free at dolphinlovermovie.com.

 

 

“Dolphin Lover” premieres on iTunes, Hulu to follow

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – The controversial and award-winning short documentary film “Dolphin Lover” will be available for purchase on iTunes, Vimeo, Xbox and other video on demand sites starting Tuesday, Oct. 27, the film’s producer said Monday.

Joey Daoud added that the 15-minute film, which was selling in pre-order for $2.99, would be available on Hulu on Dec. 27.

“Dolphin Lover” recounts the true story of writer Malcolm J. Brenner’s intimate relationship with Dolly, a female bottlenose dolphin kept at Floridaland, a 1960’s amusement park located in Nokomis, south of Sarasota.  That relationship became the basis for “Wet Goddess: Recollections of a Dolphin Lover,” Brenner’s 2010 novelization of those events.  The book has sold more than 1,250 copies in 18 countries world-wide, including China, and is currently being translated into Russian for release there.

“Dolphin Lover” took Honorable Mentions at Slamdance 2015 and Indie Grits 2015.  It was awarded Best Short Documentary at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was runner-up for Best Documentary Short at the Sidewalk Film Festival.

“Dolphin Lover” award at Sidewalk Film Fest

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MIAMI 8/31/15 – “Dolphin Lover,” the documentary film about author Malcolm J. Brenner’s 1971 love affair with Dolly the dolphin, was named runner-up in the Best Documentary Short category at the Sidewalk film festival in Birmingham, Alabama, producer Joey Daoud announced today.  This makes a total of four awards for the film, including Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and honorable mentions at Slamdance and the Indie Grits festival.

The 16-minute film uses archival footage of Floridaland, the amusement park where the interspecies romance took place, Brenner’s black-and-white period photos of the park’s dolphins and extensive interviews with Brenner.  To see a teaser for the film, click here.

“Dolphin Lover” takes best short documentary award

It has just been announced by the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival that Dolphin Lover took the Best Short Documentary award.  The 15-minute film, directed by Kareem Tabsch and produced by Joey Daoud, recounts the true story of writer Malcolm J. Brenner’s romantic and sexual love affair with a bottlenose dolphin at Floridaland, a low-rent amusement park, in the early 1970’s.  Brenner’s experience became the basis for his 2010 novel Wet Goddess: Recollections of a Dolphin Lover.