First, you should know that The Fourth Kind was written and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, a 32-year-old Nigerian who got his master's in fine arts degree from Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. That's him conducting the interview in the film and on the right in the photo that opens this post.
Mary Platt, Chapman's communications director, tells Clockwork that early this past summer, Universal asked the university, on behalf of Osunsanmi, for permission to use Chapman University's name in the then-upcoming film. “It was apparent to us (and presented to us) that this would be a kind of inside joke and insider-tribute to our alumnus for his first nationally released major motion picture,” Platt writes in an email.
“We agreed to review the movie's script and the scenes (already shot, at the time) where our name was to appear (scenes showing Olatunde interviewing the supposedly real-life “Dr. Abigail Tyler” about her experiences–the Chapman logo was superimposed in the corner of these scenes, making it appear as if Chapman was the setting for the interviews).”
It was obvious to the university's power brokers that the film would be “a scary-fun paranormal thriller about alien abductions,” and that Olatunde was simply injecting a veneer of “reality” into the proceedings by using something as real as the Chapman logo. University officials were also script saavy enough to deduce that Olatunde was mining the same real/unreal territory as Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast did more than seven decades ago, or The Blair Witch Project did more recently.
“So, we gladly gave permission after careful review of all this–it seemed like a fine salute to our successful alumnus Olatunde, and it seemed like fun!” writes Platt. “Nothing detrimental to Chapman, just a cool inside hat-tip to our guy.”
She adds that many universities, from Michigan to Notre Dame to Oxford, have given permission for their real names to be used in fictional movie or TV plots.
However, what most surprises Platt is that since the film's national release two weeks ago, the unversity has been contacted by people who believe the alien abduction story is real. They want to be connected with Jovovich's character, Dr. Abigail Tyler, or to know if the interviews–which, honest injun, are fictional, folks–were conducted at Chapman and if the tapes still exist.
“I even had one guy criticize my online news archive for not including the crucial news story about the alien-abduction interviews,” Platt writes. “A 'media representative' wrote from Dublin, Ireland, to ask if any of this was real.”
She says she's tempted to tell these people it's all very real that Tyler and the news archives have mysteriously disappeared, “But I'm way too nice. And Universal isn't paying me.”
Platt continues: “What's weird is that these folks obviously went to a whole lot of trouble to search out Chapman University, drill down into our website to find the PR office or the film school, and email us. So they're web-savvy. Why wouldn't it occur to them to go to IMDB.com or see the reviews at Rottentomatoes.com or just Google some articles about the movie, where they would easily find out it's all fiction?”
Because that's what the Master Illuminati Golbal Cover-up Conspiracy wants them to do! No wonder that brave soul Steve Rocco stole a catsup bottle from Chapman's dining hall a few years back. He was obviously intercepting an alien transmitter!
It all makes sense now . . .
Or, does it?
Platt politely shared some of the correspondence Chapman has received since The Fourth Kind hit the multi-plex:
>> My apologies if I am contacting the wrong person. I recently saw the advanced screening of The Fourth Kind and noticed that Chapman University was used as part of the interviews with the (fake) Dr. Abigail Tyler. Given the movie claims the people, case studies, and archived footage is real, and these are clearly lies, the film seems it could have an ill-effect towards the university. I know Olatunde Osunsanmi was a student, so I was also curious if the university actually approved the name's use in the first place.
I apologize if this seems like an odd question, but film study is a big hobby of mine and this has been a controversial topic that I have started researching and I had to ask.
Thank you for your time. — Dan>>
* * *
>> Name: Michael Cassidy
I am a reporter for a media company in Dublin Ireland and wanted to follow up on a film documenting your college in a film by universal studios entitled 'Fourth sense'. Can you give comment or provide actual evidence of the events and acts, people this film portrays that use your college emblem and title in interviews between 2 doctors of phycology? Supposedly these videos are live recorded footage of 2 persons.>>
* * *
To whom this may concern:
I have a real quick question which I hope you can shed some light on. As fellow college individuals I know we are taught extensive researching techniques. However, I have had a rough time finding out whether or not those archival footage tapes in The Fourth Kind are real. Is there some way you can let me know if they are real to the best of your knowledge? If you could look into that it would really help me as I am writing something on that movie.
Thanks Again, Michael T. Hill >>
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.