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BOA : Audio


Robbie Graham

(2 Hours, 23 Minutes)

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BoA:Audio examines the connection between Hollywood, UFOs, and the government with doctoral candidate Robbie Graham, creator of the critically acclaimed and massively popular website Silver Screen Saucers. Over the course of our conversation, we'll discuss how Hollywood shapes the public perception and expectations of the UFO phenomenon and ETs, how pervasive government itervention is in UFO entertainment, and how the DoD & CIA work with filmmakers to advance differing agendas.

Plus, we'll talk about the rise in 'UFO films' in the last decade and ponder what that might mean about the population's mindset on the phenomenon and whether its part of a larger campaign to prepare us for contact. In total, it is an engrossing conversation which peels at the layers of our collective, constructed reality and peers into the abyss of the UFO engima with a profound student of the phenomenon, Robbie Graham.

Full Preview: We kick things off with the standard bio / background on Robbie Graham and find out how he gravitated towards UFOs and their connection to cinema. We then discuss how Robbie is pursuing a doctorate surrounding the connection between UFOs and films, finding out how his proposal was greeted by his university when he submitted it. Robbie also reveals how his initial doctorate proposal was more skeptical about UFOs, but he has the freedom to adjust his findings as the research unfolds. He also details how the piece will be "extremely objective," since it is beholden to the world of academia. We also find out how deeply Robbie's PhD will discuss the potential for government influence over UFO perceptions via Hollywood.

From there, Robbie talks about how Hollywood, either via intentional means or mere cultural process, serves to actualize and fictionalize the UFO phenomenon. On a broader level, he muses about how cinema is a unique entertainment vehicle which serves to "fill in the gaps" about reality for the audience. He also reflects on the recent "alien invasion" of pop culture and why people should be concerned and cognizant of this trend of UFO-themed programming.

We then jump back to a point made earlier by Robbie and get further insights into how prevalent he believes government influence over UFO-themed entertainment truly is. In light of his theories, we look at the longstanding Ufological concept of a "government acclimation program" and ponder how realistic that may be. This segues into some discussion on the idea that the actual UFO acclimation process is more cultural rather than purposely orchestrated by the government.

In looking at a possible overarching UFO narrative that may be playing out in entertainment programs, we speculate as to whether disclosure is now being portrayed in films and TV shows as the 'next step' in the UFO story. Robbie then discusses how Hollywood seems to readily and voraciously adopt certains aspects of UFO lore (such as grey aliens) while also ignoring and discarding other elements of UFO history (like the Nordic aliens). Robbie also reflects on how Expolitics has yet to make a mark in the 'fictional' universe.

Examining the preponderance of 'bad' aliens in movies, we discuss how this serves as a reflection on the culture, since aliens can act as a politically correct 'bad guy' in entertainment. This leads to some discussion about a hypothetical post-disclosure world and how Hollywood would react to their decades-long demonization of aliens as well as the creative vacuum which may be created once ETs are no longer a piece of speculative fiction. From there we talk about how the overwhelmingly negative depiction of aliens in film is already shaping human perceptions to be weary of the 'visitors.'

The conversation then turns toward government cooperation in filmmaking and Robbie notes how there seems to be a theme of the government trying to absolve itself of the UFO cover-up (as seen in Transformers). We then learn how the Department of Defense works with filmmakers and Hollywood studios, including having staff writers who oversee and even tweak scripts. This leads to Robbie detailing how, contrary to conspiracy theories about shaping UFO perceptions, it appears that the DoD involvement in movies is more centered around public relations, portraying military might, and boosting enrolment into the armed services.

We then discuss the CIA involvement in Hollywood, which is far more covert than the DoD. Robbie also reveals how the CIA's involvement in films is usually done "off the books," and not mentioned in the film's final credits. Chillingly, he goes on to explain that this secretive 'help' is the actual overt work done by the CIA, which is also doing even more covert work influencing Hollywood fare. Robbie goes on to detail the work of CIA agent Chase Brandon, who played a hand in numerous entertainment projects, and 'seeded' concepts into shows which came to fruition in real life. Robbie also discusses how the current goals of the CIA in Hollywood are aimed at shaping public opinion on national security issues.

Getting back into the realm of UFOs, we find out Robbie's definition of a "UFO movie" and how it may differ from traditional sci fi fare. We also lament the fact that UFO movies are, more often than not, either patronizing or poorly researched or both. In looking at one of the better UFO films of recent years, we discuss the unique depiction of aliens in District 9. Since Robbie is from the UK, we find out if he has seen any similarities or differences in UFO/ET portrayals from his home country's entertainment offerings. This leads to some talk about the film Paul, which has a unique depiction of an ET. We also discuss the possibility that MI6 is influencing British entertainment, which leads to talk about how despotic regimes often use entertainment to control the mindset of their constituents.

Looking at the massive influx of UFO movies in the last decade or so, we ponder if the increase may be due to cultural factors beyond UFOs, such the economy or terrorism. Robbie talks about his interview with the writer / director of Race to Witch Mountain, who aimed to put serious UFO information into the film. He also talks about the under discussed film The Objective. Robbie also talks about the CIA involvement in Race to Witch Mountain, including the bizarre story of how the CIA designed the alien language used in the film. Robbie then talks about how it is important for people to separate fact from fiction regarding UFOs, especially in preparation for a potential disclosure event. This leads to talk about disclosure and the possibility that it will happen in the near future.

Continuing our look at disclosure, Robbie shares his thoughts on the difficulties of the government revealing their true knowledge of UFOs. He also muses about the aftermath of disclosure when people realize the government has been lying all these years. In light of the many nations that have released their UFO files, Robbie speculates on what may be the motivation behind these timely file releases. Getting meta on UFO research, we talk about how Ufology really hasn't gotten any solid information about the phenomenon in the last 60 years, despite decades-long independent research. Looking at Robbie's overall work, we talk about why it appears the subject of UFO films is under-examined by the UFO research community.

Heading towards the close, we have Robbie give us a thumbnail look at Silver Screen Saucers and what people can find there. Robbie also previews his forthcoming book, also called Silver Screen Saucers, which will detail his work researching the realm of UFO films. And, wrapping up the conversation, we find out what else is next for Robbie Graham as he examines the UFO, Hollywood, and government connection.

Robbie Graham Bio

Robbie Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Bristol for a PhD examining Hollywood’s historical representations of UFOs and potential extraterrestrial life. As a freelance writer and lecturer, his work emphasises the industrial, cultural and political processes by which Hollywood’s UFO movie content is shaped, as well the impact of these movies on popular perceptions of the UFO phenomenon.

He holds a Masters degree with Distinction in Cinema Studies from the University of Bristol and a First Class Honours degree in Film, Television and Radio Studies from Staffordshire University. He has appeared on BBC Radio, Coast to Coast AM and Canal+ TV. Additionally, his articles have appeared in a variety of publications including The Guardian, New Statesman, Filmfax, Fortean Times, Adbusters and the peer-reviewed journal of North American Studies, 49th Parallel.

His website is www.silverscreensaucers.com

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Christopher Balzano & Tim Weisberg

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Veteran paranormal investigators Christopher Balzano and Tim Weisberg join us for a discussion on haunted objects as well as the state of ghosthunting and the nature of paranormal investigations.

BoA : Audio, Season 7 archive