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An Interview with Justin R. Romine, Director of Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2014

Films directed by Justin R. Romine on (re)Search my Trash


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Your upcoming movie Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies - in a few words, what is it about?


The overall theme of the project is that, pretty much, our technology has advanced beyond some of our wildest ideas. Our planet could be gone within a few minutes notice, and for what?  In this film Iím blending three of the brightest minds weíve ever known into an alternate history of the making of our first atomic weapon, devised with extraterrestrial technology of course.


With J. Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla, Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies features three scientific heavyweights as lead characters - so how much research did you put in the science side of things, and to what extent are your characterisations based on the actual historical figures?


Iím glad you asked actually. When this idea first came to me, I told myself that if I were to develop this into a film, I wanted to make the characters, i.e. Oppenheimer, Einstein, and Tesla, believable. Most of the time we see these guys, theyíre usually some sort of caricature of themselves and I want to make them feel authentic and human even though the story is fiction. As far as research goes, I put in about 6 months of nothing but research. Originally, I wanted to make like a 5 minute short and for shits and giggles, I figured Iíd try to make it accurate and believable even though itís fiction. So, I started researching Oppenheimer, and with my luck, I discovered links to extraterrestrials with Oppenheimer and Einstein. Iíve always been a little obsessed with Tesla, and he also has connections to extraterrestrials, so, I figured, why not throw these three brilliant minds into a room to make sure the world doesnít blow up when something goes horribly wrong when building the bomb?


(Other) inspirations when writing Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies?


The biggest inspiration that I have in making this film is the extraterrestrial aspect. Without going into much detail, Iíve seen two UFOs in my life, and one of them has some very eerie facts surrounding it, and while Iíve always been more of a horror filmmaker, I always wanted to make an ďalienĒ film and after a very odd vehicle accident I was in last November, also linked to my UFO encounter nearly 12 years ago, Iíve been pondering ideas and what kind of story I wanted to tell. Iíve always been obsessed with alien, UFO culture and now that Iíve had my own encounters, I wanted to tell a story that very well ďcouldĒ be true. I personally believe that a lot of our technology came from reverse-engineering Alien technology.  If we look at things such as fiber optics, lasers, and stealth technology, thereís a story waiting to be told.


With your movie being a period piece set in 1937, where do you see the challenges?


Setting a film in the past always presents a variety of challenges. Luckily this film will be told through two primary narratives: one in present day, the other between the years of 1937-1947. The modern day narrative will play out more like a mystery than a science fiction film, being told through found film footage from the aforementioned years. The biggest challenge is using these three historical figures originally while still holding on to some semblance truth to these characters.


What can you tell us about the film's intended look and feel as such?


Since a portion of the film is told through found film footage, the footage will have to look original and aged. Since the footage will be crude vignettes shot by an amateur, also cutting briefly into important scenes, Iím thinking about shooting all of the footage during those scenes with one wide angle lens. I want this footage to feel authentic, so I feel that using one wide lens will give the impression of a fly on the wall during these pivotal, historical scenes. This is a part of history, alternate or not, we werenít privy to exactly what happened during the planning and building of the bomb.


Both extraterrestrials and the atom bomb suggest their fair share of special effects. So how do you plan to go about that aspect of Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies?


The movie is much more about the atom bomb and extraterrestrials, the challenge lies in telling a story around these two plots. The movie involves the atom bomb, the plans, the making, and the potential for a world nuclear explosion. I never said if the world blows up or not. At the moment in planning, I am having multiple ideas as to how to go about making our alien(s). At the moment I am interviewing special effects artists. One thing that I do plan to do for my extraterrestrials, it will be practical special effects make-up. I donít see having a CGI alien thatís shown on footage from the 1930s. The effects will have to be convincing and original. All artists in the New Mexico area, please contact me.


Anything you can tell us about your cast yet, and why exactly these people?


The majority of the casting is yet to be done, but I did reach out to two actors regarding playing the historical figures in the film. One, a local (New Mexico) actor, by the name of Tom Schuch, just wrapped up a successful one man show where he played Einstein. Iíve spoken with him and he has agreed to play Einstein in the film. Very happy I found him!

The other, Iím pretty jazzed about. I reached out to my friend Bill Oberst jr [Bill Oberst jr interview - click here], who, if youíre into the indie horror world, is in everything right now! I thought about him from the beginning as playing famed physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. He agreed and we are honored to have him. I canít think of anyone better to play him. This also gives Bill another chance at tackling an historical figure. Early in his stage career he played president John F. Kennedy and some years later, he rocked the hell out of Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies!  Bill is a multifaceted actor who can play the creepy guy really well, but he also has a very tender side - dude does Hallmark movies too!  Over the past year Bill and I have gotten to know each other and I helped get him involved in the amazing film Slay Utterly by Stuart Wahlin [Stuart Wahlin interview - click here], in which I will be working as assistant director. I am happy to finally be able to work with Bill, and the production is going to be all the better for it!


As far as I know, Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies is still in pre-production - so what's the schedule, and any idea when and where the film might be released onto the general public yet (and I do know it's probably waaay too early to ask)?


The script will be finished by the end of the month. Then I have preproduction to go through as far as financing and casting goes. We are slated right now to shoot spring 2015, but if we get financed quicker, then, the film will be made quicker. You can probably look at a festival release date around summer/fall 2015. I havenít fully decided if I will release it for festivals or not. In doing so, you usually have to only show it at festivals, and at certain ones at certain times. Iím toying around the idea of releasing it as a webseries, but Iím going to have to explore the options to see if it is financially viable. Stay tuned!


Any future projects beyond Relationships with Inhabitants of Celestial Bodies you'd like to share?


Again, I cannot say enough about Slay Utterly. Inspired by dozens of gruesome murders that shook the Midwest in the early 1900s, Slay Utterly follows a modern-day federal agent on the bloody trail of a ritualistic serial killer who spares no one in his brutal path.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


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x-rated  find Justin R. Romine at

The filmís Facebook is:

Iíll be shooting a teaser for crowdfunding in a few weeks and will have our funding campaigns live. Any of that information will be announced on our Facebook page.

Anybody interested in getting involved, we are looking for producers on every level. If you're interested or have any questions about the film, I can be reached at


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Please support Indie Film!!!! Weíre giving Hollywood a run for their vast amounts of money. Independent Films are fresh and original, we donít waste time on remakes when we can just make movies better. Keep your faith in Indie Film and we will always have faith in you. Support the arts!


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you Michael, I appreciate your time and support!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Tršume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natŁrlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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