[photos by Michael Hanna Photography for SciFi4Me]
What if you could connect your brain to another person anywhere in the world via a wireless “neural” network and instantly become an expert at whatever you wanted? This idea is what the new sci-fi thriller, MindGamers, will explore with its audiences. However, this film’s aims reach past general entertainment and into the scientific realm, where actual neuroscientists are exploring this very concept with the film’s help.
On March 28th, 2017, the film will take the idea of a test audience to a new level by simultaneously monitoring 1,000 people’s emotions as they view the movie in New York and Los Angeles using specially designed cognition headbands. The experiment, called MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live, will be happening one night only and will include a screening of the film. This will be one for the history books, as it is the first time this many minds will be connected to the same neural cloud network at one time. The previous successful experiment only held 22 people. This will produce the world’s first ever image of a “mass mind state” (numerous people experiencing the same event) and help quantum scientists analyze the cognitive state of the crowd through cloud technology and real-time data collection.
Calling itself a “grounded science fiction thriller,” MindGamers follows a group of brilliant young students, lead by The Walking Dead’s Tom Payne, who create a wireless neural network capable of transferring motor-skills from one brain to another, anywhere in the world, via a quantum computer. Though they hope the technology will change humanity for the better, they soon find out that darker forces, perhaps, the trailer hints, led by the great Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), threaten to use it as a means of mass mind control. This film looks visually stunning, and is sure to feel like an episode of Black Mirror on steroids.
On January 31st, cast and crew gathered at the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, CA for a Q&A panel and press junket. In attendance were stars Tom Payne, Melia Kreiling and Oliver Stark along with filmmakers Filmmakers Joanne Reay and Andrew Goth.
Reay and Goth initially got the idea for the film when they heard about a study in which two rats, with their brains connected via computer, were able to share cognitive information. In the experiment, rat #1 took three months to completely learn a maze through trial and error. Scientists then connected rat #1 to rat #2, who has never encountered the maze, and rat #2 was instantly able to complete the same maze in one try. Upon further research, they discovered that once quantum computers are more fully functional and portable, we will be able to connect humans in the exact same way. Not only could people share motor-skills, but also thoughts, information, and emotions. It could be used to help cure PTSD or depression, or advance physical therapy or even search for information without even taking your smart phone out of your pocket. Of course, there are the many concerns about how this technology might be abused, and Reay says they address both sides in the film.
“I think with MindGamers, you get a movie and you get an argument. Because I can almost guarantee that everyone has a different interpretation on the movie. It is as individual as you are, it says a lot about your approach to life and how you look at the world, as to how you respond to the film. Whether you see it as an optimistic film or a pessimistic film.”
Mindgamers is a film attempting to bridge the gap between science fiction and hard science, and I can’t wait to see how this one ends!
MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected Live takes place on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and is produced by Fathom Events and Terra Mater Film Studios. Following the event there will be a LIVE Q & A and the image of the collective mind state will be revealed. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.fathomevents.com/event/mindgamers