Sci-fi movie ‘First Signal’ filming in Orange

  • “First Signal” Director Mark Lund (right) talks with actors Patience McStravick and Paul Noonan during a break in filming on June 22 at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, N.H. Staff Photo/GEOFF FORESTER

  • Film crew talk with actor Paul Noonan on the set of “First Signal” at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, N.H. on June 22. Staff Photo/GEOFF FORESTER

Staff Writer
Published: 7/17/2019 9:55:42 PM

ORANGE — What would we do if we discovered there were aliens from outer space already living on Earth? And what if they looked exactly like us?

That is the key question posed in “First Signal,” a science fiction movie that is wrapping up production by filming final scenes in Orange.

“First Signal” crews filmed some shots at Orange Municipal Airport last weekend, and will return this Saturday and Sunday, as well as Sunday, July 28, according to Mark Lund, the film’s writer and director

“It’s an absolute true science fiction film,” Lund said. “But I think people will like it whether they are science fiction fans or not. I think what is appealing is there isn’t any violence in it. It’s more of a conceptual film.”

“First Signal” takes place in 2014 in Brussels, Belgium. When U.S. Air Force Space Command receives a signal from an alien satellite orbiting Earth, an emergency meeting is called with the U.S. president. However, a conspiracy is ultimately revealed through that meeting.

“The meeting doesn’t go very well,” Lund said. “At one point, it turns into a fight — not a physical fight, a verbal fight. A conspiracy is revealed that the government has known not only about this alien from another planet, but also about aliens already on this planet and that have been here for a long time. The military doesn’t know that.”

Principal photography for “First Signal” was done in Concord, N.H., mainly at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, where crews began filming a variety of scenes in May, including government meetings, a scene in a bunker and another at a space observatory.

Orange Municipal Airport was selected as the second filming location because of the “scope” of the property. Lund said a large area was needed to film scenes with spaceships and special effects.

“The scope of (the property) has worked out perfectly,” said Lund, adding that a scene yet to be filmed at the airport includes a spaceship arrival. He said that scene might look odd to onlookers while it’s being filmed, because the spaceship will be rendered using special effects, and actors will be interacting “with something that isn’t there.”

However, Lund said the final on-screen result will be a polished, dramatic spaceship landing.

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

“First Signal” is Lund’s second feature film, but he has worked in the entertainment industry for several decades, including as a screenwriter, producer and actor — he played a Nazi officer in 2018’s “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot,” which was also filmed in Franklin County.

He previously wrote and directed the science fiction film “Justice is Mind” about future MRIs that can 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” to independent film distributors at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., this November, having already garnered interest from about half a dozen distributors.

Post-production on the film should take about eight months, Lund said, with the plan being to release “First Signal” in April or May next year.

Part of the backstory of the movie’s plot involves the Apollo 11 mission, which Lund said makes his film a timely “celebration” of the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the moon.

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


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