Conversation with the Cosmos

: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Post-Production


From the origin of spacetime to the Puerto Rican hills, come explore the invisible worlds of the Arecibo Observatory, the biggest radiotelescope on Earth.


Arecibo Observatory, the world's largest radio-telescope, was built when the US aimed at the Moon and feared the Soviets. While revealing our atmosphere, our solar system, and the nature of space and time, the technological wonder of Puerto Rico searches for other life in the Universe and dangers to life here on Earth.


Sitting in class in a small French country town, the 9 year old Stephanie Joalland heard the story of the Arecibo message being sent to unknown Galactic civilizations. This story stuck with her throughout her life. Years later as a writer/director, she makes movies exploring how adults can maintain the wonder with which we viewed our Universe as children. Together with Mallory Roberts, a working astrophysicist long interested in the public perception of the scientific process, she tells the story of the radiotelescope that inspired her as a child. Arecibo Observatory is an icon of our ability to dream. The fact its survival is in question raises questions we want to explore as filmmakers: How could the most sensitive radio telescope ever built suddenly not have sufficient funds to operate? What happened to the US dreams of space conquest and leadership through science? What happened to the country that once made children all over the world dream of traveling to other worlds? What would we lose if Arecibo was to be closed? Is there something so vital and unique about it that we must keep it open? Through Conversation with the Cosmos we hope to to bring awareness to the fate of the Arecibo telescope and more generally to the fate of US science. Because Arecibo may be essential to our civilization, we hope to realize this documentary in a timely manner so that private funding or extra government support can be found before further degradation occurs. To do so, we want to stress the fact that it is not a "luxury tool producing esoteric results" but an instrument capable of studying threats to our species such as asteroids and global warming.


Mallory Roberts - Producer

 Dr. Mallory Roberts grew up in a small town in Northern California. In between studying for his physics degrees at various universities, he worked as a teaching assistant in local public schools, tutored high school students, taught English to migrant farm workers in California vineyards, and was a student of ancient and modern Japanese martial arts among other things. Since 1992, he has been an observational astrophysicist using radio, X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes to study exotic objects in our Galaxy. After obtaining his Ph.D. from Stanford and research appointments at MIT and McGill University, he moved to New York where he continues his research using data from the world's most advanced telescopes. He also teaches physics at Ithaca College and NYU Abu Dhabi.

Stephanie Joalland - Director

 Stéphanie Joalland began as a reader for the French studios TF1 International and Canal Plus, evaluating hundreds of English language scripts from all over the world, allowing her to gain a deep understanding of storytelling. She then worked for the Youth and Drama Department of TF1 as a story editor, where she developed dozens of international animated shows co-produced between Europe and North-America, amongst which young audience favorites "Totally Spies" and Emmy-nominated "Pet Aliens". She created in Paris an animated SF TV show "Valérian et Laureline" for Luc Besson (Europa Corp) while her genre feature scripts were optioned by the French studios Pathé and Gaumont. In 2008, one of her spec screenplays was selected to be showcased at the prestigious IFP "Emerging Narrative" in NYC during the Independent Film Week. She was subsequently hired as writer and script doctor on numerous English-language feature film such as the multi-award winning Irish comedy "Cup Cake". She has since set up a London UK-based production company, Frenzy Films, to produce and direct her own screenplays. Based out of London and Toronto, she was chosen as the official script consultant for Raindance Canada in 2010. As a writer, she also develops TV series for Paris-based Marathon Images. In 2012 she was one of the 312 filmmakers selected among 4300 applicants from 137 countries to attend the prestigious Berlinale Talent Campus taking place during the Berlin Film Festival.


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