Eve awakes in an unstaffed medical facility, awaiting diagnosis for a mystery illness. With no recollection of how, why or when she was admitted, she joins a group of outcast patients, who are attempting to recall what takes place during treatment inside a terrifying room known as the hole - a psychoactive space where testing takes place and encoded instructions are administered that each patient must follow if they wish to heal.
They cannot leave the locked down facility, for fear of what their sickness will unleash upon their families and the world beyond.
As Eve learns more about the patients, she begins to remember the terrible events that led to her sickness.
Eve’s husband and son are missing and her journal holds the key to finding them.
She writes in an attempt to recall why she was admitted to the facility. An alien world at the edge of her dreams begins to bleed through, compelling her to write the transmissions down. Soon, these visions will consume her.
Is she a prisoner, a patient... or dead?
Winner - Best Sci-Fi Film - MidWest WeirdFest 2022
Winner - Best Director - John Harrigan - Festival of Cinema NYC 2021
Winner - Best Feature Film ‘International Narrative’ - Festival Angaelica 2021
Winner - Best Screenplay - John Harrigan for Lightships - Dreamers of Dreams Film Festival 2021
Winner - Best Feature Film Fiction - International Moving Film Festival 2021
Winner - Suspense - Best Feature Film - Peephole Filmfest 2021
Winner - Best Science Fiction Film - Something Wicked Film Festival 2021
Winner - Best Film Award - L.A. Sci-Fi & Horror Festival 2021
Winner - Best Feature - Sci-Fi - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Director - John Harrigan - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Actress - Lois Temel - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Cinematography - Mark Caldwell - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Producer - Bill Houston, John Harrigan, Lucy Harrigan - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Poster - Paul Jenkinson - Gold Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Writer - John Harrigan - Silver Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Editing - John Harrigan - Silver Award - 1st Quarter - Queen Palm International Film Fest 2021
Winner - Best Sci-Fi Feature Cryptic Award - Crypticon Kansas City Shockfest 2021
Winner - Silver Medal - Best Feature Length Live Action - Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival 2021
Winner - Best UFOLOGY / ALIENS film - Bronze Award - Fortean Film Festival 2021
Winner - Best Mise-En-Scène Award - Brighton Rocks Film Festival 2021
2022 MidWest WeirdFest
2022 Esoteric International Film Festival
2021 The International Film Festival of Wales
2021 Festival Angaelica
2021 Dreamers Of Dreams Film Festival
2021 Sydney Science Fiction Film Festival
2021 Northwest Of NYC Film Festival
2021 International Moving Film Festival
2021 World of Film International Festival Glasgow
2021 Bastalavista International Genre Film Festival
2021 Peephole Filmfest
2021 Catalina Film Festival
2021 Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival
2021 Festival of Cinema NYC
2021 Paracinema Film Festival
2021/2022 Queen Palm International Film Festival
2021 Crypticon Kansas City Shockfest
2021 L.A. Sci-Fi & Horror Festival
2021 Something Wicked Film Festival
2021 Fortean Film Festival
2021 Brighton Rocks Film Festival
Imagination, belief, the sacred and spiritual are all inextricably linked. Where one person experiences a vision, dream or idea, another might believe to be contact from aliens or angels.
Who decides? Should we be permitted to define our own interpretation of reality?
Subjective truth is debated endlessly and consensus reality appears to be slowly disintegrating, dismantled through the new ways in which we interact and experience the world through the prisms of social media and other portals of meaning which we don’t wholly control.
The solid world we once inhabited, now appears as a dream.
Lightships is a film that emerged before the global pandemic, but now in retrospect, it appears prescient. I had no way of knowing when I completed the screenplay in January 2019 just how much of the story would come to shadow our experiences in lockdown during a global pandemic less than one year later. The masks the patients wear are a haunting reminder of the often prophetic power of film and art, to give strange form to things yet to come. Like the visions that make Eve question her reality, Lightships is a fever dream that I don’t fully recall making.
The visions Eve transcribes in her journal are taken from the book ‘Remembrance’ by Maryann Rada, a celebrated UFO contactee. When I was asked to adapt her book, I wasn’t sure it was even possible. As I read ‘Remembrance’ I recalled the conversations around ‘Naked Lunch’ by William S. Burroughs and the debate around if it was possible for Cronenberg to adapt into a film. ‘Naked Lunch’ was once believed to be a book that could never be translated into film. I was also reminded of the quote “If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.” Stanley Kubrick
The aspect of the film that I’m most satisfied with is how the screenplay encapsulates, protects and presents passages from ‘Remembrance’ as the visions Eve records in her journal. This is how Maryann records her own interactions with entities she believes to be alien: through hundreds of journals, she writes and records her experiences of contact and communion, spanning decades. Eve’s journal allowed me to create a screenplay that was respectful to the transcendent nature of Maryann Rada’s work, whilst not being subservient to the source material as gospel. It was important to me as an artist that both the audience and I be allowed to explore the material on our own terms. The power of our interactions with what we believe to be sacred is in our permission to interpret what it means to our lives.
Lightships allowed me to explore and test my own questions on the nature of how humans have recorded their encounters with what they believed to be gods, angels, aliens and the creative idea since time immemorial. Are the sacred and religious nothing more than our dreams run amok, or is the answer even more interesting than the question? Perhaps the truth exists beyond human concepts of true or false.
When we explore the realms of our imagination through creativity, art and storytelling, do we commune with worlds beyond our own?
I’m deeply proud of Lightships. My talented collaborators and I have created a puzzle box; a film that invites our audience to decide for themselves the true nature of Eve’s reality. Like all the best stories, it is a mystery that I’m still unravelling for myself.
Perhaps God is a detective, investigating the true nature of his/her creation on his/her own terms.