The 3rd Annual Phillip K. Dick Film Festival, created in honor of one of America’s most multi-faceted writers, features extraordinary examples of fantastic and/or supernatural science fiction. The festival will run from January 15th through the 18th with films being screened at The Cervantes Institute, Tribeca Cinemas, and The Producer’s Club (all in NYC).
One of the festival’s recent additions is writer/director Christopher P. Garetano’s long gestating documentary: The Montauk Chronicles; this film details dark legends surrounding the now-abandoned Camp Hero Air Force Base in Montauk, Long Island. While earlier drafts of the film have been screened since 2012, January’s showing will mark the first showing of the completed film, which Garetano calls the “definitive” examination of what some call “The Area 51 of the East Coast”.
The legends of Camp Hero are almost indistinguishable from tales of MK-ULTRA usually associated with the Air Force base at Groom Lake, Nevada, claims that commonly accuse the US Government of conducting mind control experiments with alien technology. But whereas Groom Lake is almost impossible to access, the only impediment to the abandoned base at Camp Hero is a flimsy chain-link fence.
While the first-hand accounts contained in The Montauk Chronicles are absolutely intriguing, the behind the scenes saga of the film’s creation is equally fascinating. Representing over a half-decade of near obsessive research, Garetano began accepting pre-orders for the documentary back in November of 2013; at the time, the film had a projected release date of January 14, 2014. But then something extraordinary happened.
In December 2013, as Garetano was putting the finishing touches on The Montauk Chronicles, he was contact by a man who claimed that, as a youth, he was subjected to experiments at Camp Hero against his will. Known only by his alias, “Mr. Jack Bruce”, he claimed to have specific information about facilities at Montauk. When Garento challenged Mr. Jack Bruce to show him proof, he was able to show the filmmaker something he hadn’t seen in almost 6 years of research—tangible, concrete “evidence”.
The Elusive “Mr. Jack Bruce”
Since this documentary was to be the “definitive” study of Montauk, and Mr. Jack Bruce’s input was definitely relevant, Garetano felt compelled to stop the presses; he made the difficult decision to postpone The Montauk Chronicles’ release date so that he could include aspects of Mr. Jack Bruce’s story into the film. Garetano initially projected a 4-week delay in shipping pre-orders, but re-opening the film actually postponed the completion of the final product by almost an entire year.
I honestly believe that The Montauk Chronicles was worth the wait, as Garetano has produced a singularly compelling examination of one of America’s lesser-known legends. He proves himself a skilled documentarian, never forcing the conversations to fit an agenda, rather giving the subjects free reign to discuss their experiences. Garetano advises his audience to not just listen to “what” the interviewees are saying, but “how they say it”.
In the coming weeks, The Blood-Shed plans on completing an in-depth review of The Montauk Chronicles; we also hope to bring you an interview with Christopher P. Garetano, where we will look at this film’s unique journey towards completion.
You can learn more about The Montauk Chronicles at the film’s Official Website, or on their Facebook Page. Information on The Phillip K. Dick Film Festival can be found: HERE.
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