With the 50th anniversary of the iconic sci-fi saga Star Trek steadily approaching in 2016, you can bet many Trekkie tributes will be held honoring the culturally influential show. Reportedly, a new Star Trek series will debut in 2017, just a few months shy of the anniversary of the original show that premiered in September 1966.
Truly light years ahead of its time, the “OG” intergalactic series showcased epic battles, memorable special effects and skillfully tackled social issues of the era, such as racial intolerance and war. And who can forget the show’s utopian view of the future beautifully demonstrated through its unforgettable characters? Sadly, one of show’s most iconic half-human, half-Vulcan characters, Mr. Spock, portrayed by the legendary actor Leonard Nimoy, will not see the franchise’s 50th milestone.
On February 27, 2015, the world mourned the passing of the famous Vulcan due to complications from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a devastating chronic lung disease affecting around 24 million Americans. However, just as the famous Star Trek characters tackled universal injustices across the galaxy, Julie Nimoy, Leonard Nimoy’s daughter, is now valiantly educating the world about the insidious disease that took her beloved father through a documentary film set to be released in June 2016 titled “COPD: Highly Illogical – A Special Tribute to Leonard Nimoy,”
THE FILM’S STARFLEET
Julie Nimoy and her husband David Knight joined forces with Biolucid, a technology company specializing in revolutionary digital health platforms, to create the educational and visually stunning COPD documentary. The film pledges to not only be a special tribute to Leonard Nimoy by highlighting his (and others’) courageous battle with COPD with the latest information, advances and treatments about the disease, but also promises to take audiences on a “visually intense journey” demonstrating the devastating impacts of COPD.
I spoke with Julie Nimoy, David Knight and Biolucid’s CEO Lawrence Kiey about the evolution of the documentary, the revolutionary CGI effects in the film, their COPD awareness goals, and finally, some personal backstage insights into the world’s most beloved Vulcan and human being.
TOGGLE: Why did you and David decide to make the documentary?
Julie Nimoy: After my Dad appeared on the CNN/Piers Morgan show announcing he had COPD, this immediately inspired us to the idea that developing a film project on this condition would have a huge impact on people suffering with COPD. We decided to continue my Dad’s mission and message to educate and create awareness.
TOGGLE: How did you come up with the title of the film: COPD: Highly Illogical?
Julie Nimoy: We came up with the title for 2 reasons: We learned that up to 30% of people who have been diagnosed with COPD continue to smoke. In addition, with all of the numerous reports indicating the dangers/risks of smoking, people are still continuing to light up a cigarette. To remind people not to smoke, my Dad would say, “Beam Up, Don’t Light Up.”
TOGGLE: Leonard was a huge advocate for COPD education. What did he feel was the biggest misconception about the disease, and how did he create awareness?
Julie Nimoy: The biggest misconception that he thought about COPD was that he gave up smoking over 30 years ago and still he ended up with COPD. After being diagnosed with COPD in 2013, my dad created awareness and openly discussed it via social media on Twitter. He had over a million followers. Generations of science fiction fans know my father, Leonard Nimoy, as his iconic character Mr. Spock on the starship Enterprise. His message “Live Long and Prosper,” or LLAP, has resonated through the generations and has become a siren call for those of like mind.
TOGGLE: How did you, Julie and Lawrence Kiey (CEO of Biolucid) meet, and how did the collaboration evolve in terms of the film?
David Knight: I met Lawrence through a physician who recommended/suggested Biolucid as one of the top health CGI producers in the country. After meeting with Lawrence and his team, it was clear to Julie and I that their expertise for creating amazing digital graphics would be a huge benefit to our film project.
TOGGLE: What are your goals in using Biolucid’s technology in the COPD documentary? Did you have a medical advisor?
David Knight: Our goal is that viewers will be able to get a better understanding of what’s happening inside the body of a patient who has COPD. Our feeling is that these digital graphics (created by Biolucid) will create more impact along with the information being presented by the health care individuals. Our medical advisor/expert was Dr. Richard Casaburi.
BIOLUCID – VISUALLY GOING WHERE FEW HAVE GONE BEFORE
TOGGLE: Tell us about Biolucid and the collaboration with Julie and David on the film. What can audiences expect from the documentary’s special effects?
Lawrence Kiey: BioLucid is a technology company specializing in digital health. We have a very clear purpose and mission to make health visual and overtime to put the power of this capability in the hands of everyone to revolutionize the way health will be communicated and understood. The better we understand our health, the more engaged and empowered we’ll be to make better choices everyday. When that happens, everyone wins.
Lawrence Kiey cont’d: It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with Julie and David. They’re very passionate about raising awareness about COPD and just as important, they are working extremely hard to connect with as many people as possible so they can be in a better position to either help a loved one or help themselves. David Knight reached out to BioLucid so we could work together to help raise awareness and improve understanding of COPD.
Lawrence Kiey cont’d: The audience can expect a very intense approach to visualizing the impact of COPD, thanks to Dale Park, chief scientific officer (yes, just like Mr. Spock’s position on The Enterprise) at BioLucid and all the amazing employees. By making the visual experience as real as possible, we’ve learned that it captures attention and draws people in. That is the crucial moment when the real learning and understanding happens. It will be a journey that most have not been on before.
BEHIND THE COPD ENTERPRISE
TOGGLE: Who will narrate the film? Any other surprise guests?
David Knight: John de Lancie, (the famous actor, director and voice over artist who portrayed Q, a recurring character in several of the Star Trek franchises) will be narrating our documentary. There will be some surprise guests, but we’re not able to reveal them at this time.
TOGGLE: What’s the documentary’s campaign goal? And with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, will you have a special screening to coincide with the milestone?
David Knight: Our crowdfunding goal is to have the film funded by the end of December 2015. The total amount that we’re hoping to raise is $500K. Currently, we’re over 51% funded thanks to both corporate and private donations. For anyone interested in contributing to our film project, our website is copdllap.com. The expected release date is June 2016, tying in with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. We’re currently speaking with a number of broadcasters that have expressed an interest in airing the documentary. In addition, we’re planning special screenings throughout the country. Dates, times and locations will also be announced on our website.
TOGGLE: Anything else you would like our readers to know about the film and Leonard? What would this film have meant to him?
Julie Nimoy: Our film not only covers Leonard’s story, but will also include interviews with friends, family and his personal physician. It will also feature other patients that currently have COPD, interviews with some of the leading experts on the subject and provide the latest treatments and information about this disease.
In addition to my Dad’s acting career, he was an avid photographer, art collector, poet, philanthropist, and he loved to travel and spend quality time with his family and friends. He cared greatly about people and was always happy to give advice and guidance. As education was very important to my Dad, he made it a priority to create awareness about his disease, and his hope and final mission was to educate people worldwide.
If you’d like to learn more about the film COPD: Highly Illogical – A Special Tribute To Leonard Nimoy and make a donation, please visit copdllap.com. A special thank you to Julie Nimoy, David Knight and Lawrence Kiey for their time and photos. A great family, a great man, a great film – #LLAP, #HighlyIllogical.
All photos/images subject to copyright.