METAPHYSICS GOES TO THE MOVIES
By Randy Peyser
Stephen Simon, movie producer for, "The Goodbye Girl," as well as the metaphysical classic, "Somewhere In Time," has teamed up with screenwriter, Barnet Bain, to create "Metafilmics," the first major motion picture company solely dedicated to entertaining audiences through metaphysical storytelling.
Their first movie, "What Dreams May Come," stars Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra, and Max Von Sydow in an afterlife love story. Ron Bass, who wrote the screenplay versions of "The Joy Luck Club," "When A Man Loves A Wo-man," and "Rain Man, has written the screenplay. The movie premiered recently.
Stephen Simon and Barnet Bain believe that the public is underserved by not getting a steady diet of films which deliver conscious content. In "What Dreams May Come," Simon and Bain will address the afterlife in a way that hasn't been done before, but will still appeal to a mainstream audience.
"The movie industry is the only major entertainment industry that is behind the times in recognizing metaphysics and the exploration of consciousness as a genre," says metaphysical movie producer Stephen Simon. "Yet as we get closer to the millennium, we sense that there is a worldwide yearning for this type of material.
"Metaphysically-motivated movies give people hope. They allow you to see yourself as something really extraordinary, and as a human being witnessing the potential of humanity," Simon continues. If we do our job correctly, we hope that people will walk out of our movie like they did after Forrest Gump, feeling a little bit better about what it means to be a human being."
According to Simon, metaphysical films tout a higher success rate than any other genre, but are rarely copied or made to begin with. For example, the original "Die Hard" movie led to dozens of "Die Hard" rip-offs, but when movies like "Ghost" or "Forrest Gump" or "Field of Dreams" were made, they were "stand alones."
Ted Field, who owns the production company, Interscope, is credited for financially enabling the vision of Metafilmics to become a reality, as is Polygram who is also responsible for both the financing and the distribution of "What Dreams May Come." After nineteen years of trying to get this film made, Field was the first to offer financing.
Although nineteen years may seem like a long time to manifest one's dream, Simon is quick to point out that he is not attached to the struggle of how long it took, but rather is grateful that the timing is now.
"Amongst other things," adds Simon, "Metafilmics is about us expressing ourselves in a medium that is capable of worldwide impact; impact that is unprecedented around the planet. We now have the vehicle and the platform to deliver a level of impact that we believe will empower people.
Simon is quick to add that these movies are not polemics. Their main purpose is to entertain. "People do not like to be taught anything or be preached to when they go to see a movie. Teaching has become the province of television because it is a much less intimate and vulnerable experience. Going into a movie theater with a group of strangers and sitting in the dark under a fifty- foot screen is an act of intimacy and vulnerability."
Bain agrees. "On the level of story-telling, after a hundred years of filmmaking, the audience has developed an ability to enter into the particular world of a story, identify it, and abide by it in terms of its own rules and its own physics. The audience is able to suspend their understanding of their world, at least for the duration of that presentation, and is able to enter into the film completely."
"Further," says Bain, "When we tell a story that presents a new paradigm and a new physics to an audience that has come to this place in time and space where it can actually enter into that world, this represents a quantum movement in terms of the receptivity of the culture. We're presenting very esoteric ideas. So it is the convergence of a delivery system, our personal passion, and the ability of an audience to accept, in a very mainstream fashion, what were here-to-fore the most esoteric ideas that make Metafilmics ready for the time."
Shortly after the turn of the century, Simon predicts that there are going to be new delivery systems for entertainment that are as inconceivable to us now as laser discs were twenty-five years ago. "The whole future of entertainment is changing and we are going to have technology which will allow the viewer to truly experience a movie in a new way. When that day comes," says Simon, "it is our passionate belief that the experience that people will want is not to have a gun pointed at their heads so that they can see the bullet coming; it will be to go inside and experience the wonders of what we feel in our meditations and in our dreams. That's what we see as the future we can help create in the world through Metafilmics."
Return to the November/December Index page