Sci-fi flick ‘First Signal’ finishes filming in Orange

  • Filming of a spaceship landing scene for the sci-fi movie “First Signal” took place at Orange Municipal Airport. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Actors, from left, Conor Timmis, Chris Goodwin and Patience McStravick — playing characters Cedric Yonah, James Griffin and Major Ellen Sampson — stand stoically during a shot for the sci-fi movie “First Signal” that was partially filmed in Orange. Staff Photo/David McLellan

Staff Writer
Published: 8/8/2019 10:32:00 PM

ORANGE — That’s a wrap.

Residents can rest assured there are no more people pretending to be aliens, interacting with invisible spaceships and rockets at the airport.

That’s because filming for the science fiction movie “First Signal” has finished, with final — and especially dramatic — scenes filmed at Orange Municipal Airport.

The movie is now in post-production, with Director Mark Lund saying he is planning to shop the film to independent film distributors at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., this November, and he estimates the film will be released next April or May. “First Signal” has already drawn interest from several nationwide distributors, Lund said.

“I’m pleased to report that “First Signal” wrapped principal photography,” Lund said, adding that having the location in Orange for filming “(made) this possible.”

“First Signal” tells the story of an alien satellite and government conspiracy discovered by members of the U.S. Air Force, and asks the question, “What would we do if we discovered there was an alien presence on Earth, and that they looked just like us?” Lund said.

Taking place in Brussels, Belgium in 2014, U.S. Air Force Space Command receives a signal from an alien satellite orbiting Earth and calls an emergency meeting with the U.S. president. In that meeting, it is revealed the government already knows about the aliens, and has purposely hid that information from the military.

Principal photography began in Concord, N.H., in May, with government meetings, space observatory and bunker scenes filmed at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

But, for the last few weeks, Orange Municipal Airport became the film’s second shooting location, chosen for its “scope,” Lund said.

“A science fiction film isn’t quite complete unless you have a spaceship arrive,” he said.

Those who saw filming for “First Signal” at the airport might not have known what they were seeing. It would have looked “odd,” Lund said.

Because climactic scenes of a spaceship landing were filmed using special effects, onlookers would have seen men and women alternately wearing U.S. Air Force uniforms or jet-black alien “uniforms” interacting with something that wasn’t there. The actors were instructed on where the “spaceship” would be flying in from above the air field, Lund said, but the final product will be a quite polished and archetypal science fiction scene.

Lund has worked in the entertainment industry for several decades, including as a screenwriter, producer and actor, playing a Nazi officer in 2018’s “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot,” which was filmed in Montague.

“First Signal” is Lund’s second feature film, having previously written and directed the film “Justice is Mind,” another sci-fi movie about future MRIs able to read patients’ long-term memories. “Justice is Mind” had a limited theatrical release in Massachusetts in 2013, and Lund said he is confident he will successfully shop “First Signal.”

“First Signal,” Lund said, is a “conceptual film” and though-provoking — it isn’t the type of sci-fi movie with a lot of violence, and should be enjoyed by people who don’t normally watch movies about aliens or outer space, as well as by hardcore sci-fi fans.

The film is also a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, with some of the plot’s backstory involving that real-life 1969 mission.

In one scene filmed in Orange, a U.S. Air Force officer “receives a very special briefcase, and it’s actually the Apollo 11 plaque that was left on the moon,” Lund said. “Cedric (an alien) is trying to convince her to join them.”

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.




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