So far we had been filming Douglas Vakoch at the SETI Institute where he held the title ”director of interstellar message composition”. He decided to leave the Institute and start his own organization: METI International. METI stands for Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence and his new journey got a big start in May 2016 in Puerto Rico.

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There had been a lot of planning and stress. The doctor had even told Per not to drink more than one cup of coffee a day because of stomach pain. That’s a hard thing to say to a Swede who is used to drink nine cops of coffee a day. But after all now we where in Puerto Rico, the home of the worlds largest radio telescope (at least it was when we where there in may) Arecibo Radio Observatory.

Director Alexander and Douglas at the Sheraton hotel bar.

Douglas had gathered experts in different fields to investigate what kind of intelligence might be out there, what can we learn from intelligence here on earth and also how to prepare to communicate with another intelligent civilisation. It was a group of lingvists, biologists, philosophers, and so on. It was an amazing opportunity to film, to see this people come together around this subject. Everything taking place during the 2016 International Space Development Conference.

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Douglas and Daniel Ross.

So much was at stake for this filming trip. We needed to capture the starting point for Douglas new journey with his new team -This was also a starting point for the ”Mirror perspective” as Douglas sad it - Searching the universe to understand ourselves.

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The METI International team at a restaurant in San Juan.

We had been promised to be able to follow Douglas and his team for the whole week and after that also Douglas visit to Arecibo to a remote hotel to be able to visit the Radio Observatory and also get to know Douglas more in person. The weeks was intense to say the least. Douglas had a amazing patience with us chasing him everywhere with camera and sound equipment. We were filming from early in the mornings until late in the night almost everyday but his was a lovely way to get closer and get to know Douglas more. He even recorded a videolog throughout the whole trip where he recorded daily observation and personal details. For him it was also important to interview all the participants of METI - to collect information of how and why they could help in the work of METI and the search for ET.

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Douglas making one of the videologs late in the evening.

The location Puerto Rico, combined with this group and the organisations focus was thrilling and very cinematic. It was hard not to think about a strange mix of old adventure films and thought-provoking sci-fi films.

Imagine being chosen, as a lingvist, to speak to another intelligent civilization in the universe - what greater task could a lingvist ask for, sad Daniel Ross (one of the lingvists at Puerto Rico).

One of the most exciting people we met during this time was the lingvist Sheri Wells-Jensen. A blind lingvist who had done a work on what would be the case if the aliens on another planet wouldn’t be able to see. How do you message them? A quite unique take on this mission, and also an example of how this subject can help to open of the imagination, based on peoples own experience and knowledge.

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Douglas doing an interview with Sheri Wells-Jensen.

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On Sheri's last night at Puerto Rico she wanted to go down to the beach to walk around and play her ukulele. She asked if we wanted to join and it was one of the magic moments of the trip.

One late evening close to Arecibo Douglas wanted to change the perspective. With a glimpse in his eyes he had had enough of us, he decided he wanted to be the director and to film us. So we could get better at presenting and talking. No secret that neither one of us directors are very found of talking, presenting or pitching. It was a hilarious experience and a good wake up call how much pain in the ass we can be when we are filming people.

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The new director Douglas Vakoch fully focused behind the camera.

This is our last blog post. The journey with the film continues with exciting things happening all the time. The controversy regarding transmission from earth continues and so are METI International and SETI Institutes quest with us on board! :)

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Directors Alexander Rynéus and Per Bifrost at Arecibo Observatory.

Hope to have you all on board this project! You can follow us further on our Facebook page Earthlings Quest. See you there!

/Directors Alexander and Per


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