THE BELIEVERS – Chicago Screening of the New Cold Fusion Documentary

Chicago Screening of The Believers from Eli Elliott on Vimeo.

The second premiere of the new Cold Fusion documentary, “The Believers” took place on Saturday, Oct. 20th as part of the Chicago International Film Festival. The night before, the film was awarded the Gold Hugo Award for Best Documentary Film of the Festival.

THE BELIEVERS focused mainly on the Martin Fleischmann – Stanley Pons story involving their announcement of Cold Fusion in 1989, and the aftermath to follow. Using this theme as a home base, the film weaved in some of the current crop of researchers, scientists, advocates and still skeptics.

We meet Edmund Storms, Robert Park, Martin Fleischmann, the assistant/grad student to Stanley Pons (Stanley declined to be interviewed), Irving Dardik, James Martinez, Eric Golab, and others.

Besides the event and aftermath of the ’89 Cold Fusion announcement, the film touches on patent issues, Hollywood’s fictional take on fusion, and ultimately the overall collision of media and science.

Having read and researched the subject of Cold Fusion for some years now, it was hard to judge or evaluate a portrait of such fitted into a 80 or so minute frame. Inevitably one will feel important aspects missing, or topics glossed over. But in the end, as a documentary which aims to tell a story, the filmmakers succeed in putting together a good film, likely turning on many people to Cold Fusion, the sordid history involved, and some of the main individuals, past and present.

The Approach.

Most seasoned Cold Fusion vets will likely have a problem with the chosen approach towards the subject matter. The filmmakers made the decision to go with the “mainstream viewpoint” established in the 90’s, now starting to seem archaic, of asking the “is it real or not” question. Many have already pointed out this viewpoint to be a purposeful slant that was perpetuated, propagated, from late ’89 into the 90’s, fueled by the usual suspects: politics, ego, greed, money, and more. I recall Melvin Miles in reference to the DOE report and their refusal to change his negative results to positive during that time even though he was now achieving positive results, saying how MIT was planning for negative results before they even wrote the paper and how politically they couldn’t have come out positive. Hence the myth of “junk science” was created. (And he later had work published showing the exact mistakes MIT made in their negative conclusions).

So it will be surprising to many, that now, after 20 years of positive published results from over 200 labs worldwide, published papers on the calorimetry mistakes at MIT, a positive light shown down from the mainstream 60 minutes news program, current companies developing prototypes with a strong push to go to market ASAP, that the real vs. non real angle would be chosen to paint the Cold Fusion picture, here in the year 2012.

As a YouTube comment pointed out for The Believers Trailer,

No belief necessary. Its now fact.

Nevertheless that was the chosen approach. Thankfully, with the very cool, calm and casual Edmund Storms frequently standing at the helm of the films pro Cold Fusion base, a convincing story is portrayed. Even a skeptic in the audience couldn’t help but describe Ed as the “fair minded man with the beard”.

The main naysayer was Robert Park, who likely came off to audience members as a legitimate voice in the discussion, though I’m not sure if the contradictions and unanswered accusations were picked up by said audience. Such as Park mentioning something to the effect that “if these guys want to question whether there is Cold Fusion then let ’em, I wouldn’t want to spend my life that way.” Yet he comes off as someone who has spent a good chunk of life engaged in trying to refute Cold Fusion, appearing in public as a naysayer, rather than residing in private to actually read the reports on CF results, something he’s apparently refused to do.

I should mention also, that the film carried a fairly heavy emotional sadness to it, mainly in respect to Martin Fleischmann; the abuse he had taken all those years in the field of his chosen livelihood, to the abuse he was now taking with Parkinsons. And of course the recent passing cements this sadness in further.

Besides Edmund, the film really shines with both James Martinez and the young high school aged Eric Gobal. These were two important figures in the film as James represented the current activism/advocate excitement of the Cold Fusion community, while Eric showed strong hope and added excitement as one who had already begun carrying the torch that Martin Fleischmann had handed off.

These two filled in some of the gap that the film left out from the absence of covering the very exciting current Cold Fusion scene, with various new companies and recent developments of LENR (just to add, a brief text update of Andrea Rossi was included at the very end). Much of which, as the filmmakers mentioned at the end of Q and A, could’ve meant at least an extra half hour tacked onto the film, and they questioned whether anyone would want to sit through more. But I believe viewers would gladly enjoy the exciting developments that Martin strongly helped inspire. And with civilization currently suffering so, any strong potential hope I feel could have been worth it; revealing just how far this has in fact currently come, and the closer than ever potential it now has to actually save the planet.

Nevertheless, as those will be some of the criticisms made, the main take away is a very engaging, very well made film (and now an “award winning” film meaning greater exposure), which included important figures as ground, and a much larger platform for further discussion. The reaction to the film overall seemed positive, though many questions I felt still hung in the air for many audience members.

I handed out ColdFusionNow stickers at the end of the screening, and unloaded several of the brand new ColdFusionNow T-shirts featuring Pons and Fleischmann at the after party screening.

Where will The Believers be showing in the future? Can you get a copy? They are awaiting word on more festivals, as well as seeing what distribution deals arise. By early next year they are looking for the film to be available for purchase. We’ll keep posted.

9 Replies to “THE BELIEVERS – Chicago Screening of the New Cold Fusion Documentary”

  1. The dawning of the ‘energy era’ took place when we first captured embers after raging forest fires had passed. Fire keepers brought warmth and nurtured life… thru cold winters.

    Over time we learned to create fire (with wood). This ‘energy era” was soon excited by the discovery of early liquid fuels; plant volatiles (turpentine – paraffin – alcohol – etc.) also – hand in hand came the animal oils (whale was king). Then came solid fuel beyond wood. (Discovery of coal) Then came the gaseous/liquid fuels. (Methane, butane, acetylene, etc) Now we have petroleum and all its’ benefits (kerosene, gasoline, diesel, etc) and its’ detriments (pollution).

    Each increased our ability to create and store nutriment (powering food and industry) for our survival. Nurturing abilities further our survival. Processing grains, the canning of fruits, vegetables, and meats increased our survivability.

    Beyond all of that, petroleum and electrification gave us the ability to fuel transportation (the shipment of goods), and energize refrigeration (create negative/cold energy zones). Which increased our ability to nurture… (Preserve and deliver foods) enabling more to survive.

    Uranium energy density is scarce, dangerous, and so toxic that it simply is not adequate for nurturing humanity.

    Energy (fire) has become so important that our present conceptualizations of energy will no longer suffice.

    Hence cold fusion energy is here now (The new fire)… dense, clean, unlimited, and inexpensive energy. LENR – Low Energy Nuclear Reaction… So cool!

    Inevitably this will enable us to nurture more, better than ever before.

  2. “It’s sad, on so many different levels and layers…..there’s stories within, that have not been told…”

    Thanks for holdin it down for the “true reality” Eli. Excellent report.

  3. The producers do seem to be torn about the reality of this. They will not come out and say they believe this is real, but they did offer a very good response, even a defense of cold fusion, when the same questions from the last 20 years were raised by the one fellow. They answer they gave was very informed and I am glad to see they have done their homework.

    While this film has just been released, given the answers of both the producers and one of the gentleman interviewed, I am getting already getting sequel vibe. There is certainly enough additional information available for a sequel. There could even be a trilogy.

    As an aside, those are some sharp-looking T-shirts you guys had on.

  4. “the fusion that they claimed originally” had, as announced in the original press conference, a neutron output was at a maximum a billion times too small to be conventional nuclear fusion.

    This little fact is is doggedly ignored by all of the pseudo-skeptics and by the film makers themselves.

    The reason is to discredit P&F and thereby somewhat exonerate the monstrously unscientific behavior of the scientific establishment.

    1. When Wright brother were making they first plane flight, clement Ader already have made a heavy steam plane fly for few cenbtimeters…
      he was ignored like many…
      Heavier than air fly was proved impossible (simply they ignored the venturi effect, known but not applied to wings).

      It is clear that MIT would have said that Wright Brother plan could not fly because it’s volume wand not enough to upweight the simple pilot, even if the gaz used have no mass…

      It is right ther there is not enough neutrons, but there is basically not enough intelligence in that critic. any engineer knowing semiconductor QM is able to be modest enough not to claim such stupidity about LENr being impossible in a lattice… only a physicist can be so stupid and careless.
      Any engineer knowing the hystory of early semiconductors conduction anomalies, or early transistors manufacturing, would not claim that if not perfectly controlled a fact does not exist.

      this level of incompetence is reserved to physicists.

  5. There must be refuge! Men
    Perished in winter winds till one smote fire
    From flint stone coldly hiding what they held,
    The red spark treasured from the kindling sun;
    They gorged on flesh like wolves, till one sowed corn,
    Which grew a weed, yet makes the life of man;
    They mowed and babbled till some toungue struck speech,
    And patient fingers framed the lettered sound.
    What good gift have my brothers, but it came
    From search and care and loving sacrifice?

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