Major Paul Smith is many things. He is an artist, musician, veteran of the Persian Gulf War, devout Mormon, a philosopher (with a PhD from University of Texas), a devoted family man, and my father. However, he is best known for his time serving in the US Army’s top-secret psychic espionage program during the Cold War.
During the 1970s, the CIA began a top-secret program investigating the use of psychics for intelligence gathering. The program was moved to the Army where it successfully functioned throughout the 1980’s. The ESP process, which anyone can be taught, is called Remote Viewing.
In his time since retiring from the Army, Smith has become one of the most prominent voices of the Remote Viewing and wider ESP community.
Through intimate verite, archival footage, animations, and re-creations, American (ESP)ionage interweaves the historical story of Paul’s participation in the US Army program with the contemporary story of Smith’s efforts to legitimize Remote Viewing among the wider public. Paul faces strong resistance from skeptics as well as ‘true believers’ who sensationalize ESP and the Remote Viewing -often as a way to make a profit.
We follow Paul as he endeavors to bring to light many of the experiments and operational sessions he participated in during his 8 years as one of the core members of the Army’s formerly classified Stargate program. He finds himself up against misinformation, false accounts, and skeptical claims that often counter the mounting scientific evidence supporting the existence of ESP phenomenon.
This film is not meant to convince the audience that ESP is real (though that may be a possible consequence) but rather to force the audience to confront their assumptions about ESP and the nature of reality. American (ESP)ionage also challenges the audience’s preconceived notions about the limits of human potential, which necessarily has implications for religion, world peace, and the greater human condition.
Artist, philosopher, musician, devoted family man, Mormon, psychic spy.
Artist, philosopher, musician, devoted family man, Mormon, psychic spy.
Paul H. Smith became a psychic spy in 1983, when he was recruited for the Army' s remote viewing psychic espionage program -- a program he never knew existed up until the moment he was invited to join. He was one of the longest-serving remote viewers in the military program. During his seven years in that program, he studied under the legendary Hal Puthoff and Ingo Swann, served as a first-line operational remote viewer doing thousands of training and live operational RV sessions, wrote the official manual on controlled remote viewing ('CRV' -- a more disciplined form of remote viewing which was used as the primary remote viewing method during the second decade of the military program), and taught CRV to new remote viewer candidates. Among his students are included now-famous remote viewers such as Lyn Buchanan, Mel Riley, and David Morehouse. Paul has briefed and demonstrated remote viewing to senators, admirals and generals, and other senior military and government officials. A Desert Storm veteran, Paul retired from the US Army in 1996 at the rank of major from his final duty position, chief of intelligence and security for the Military District of Washington.
For three decades now he has immersed himself in consciousness-based skills. He has dedicated his life to changing society' s attitudes towards applied consciousness through the powerful leverage of teaching, speaking, and writing about -- and organizing around -- remote viewing. Since 1997 he has been president and chief instructor of his own commercial full-service remote viewing training company, Remote Viewing Instructional Services, Inc., and is a founding director of the non-profit International Remote Viewing Association, of which he is past president. He has chaired and organized seven of IRVA s annual remote viewing conferences since the organization 's founding in 1999.
Paul is author of the book "Reading the Enemy s Mind: Inside Star Gate America s Psychic Espionage Program " (Tor/Forge 2005) which was the Book Bonus Feature and Editor s Choice Selection for the March 2006 issue of Reader s Digest. He is also co-producer of the acclaimed DVD-based "LearnDowsing" training program. He has a bachelors degrees from Brigham Young University, a masters of science degree from the National Defense Intelligence College, both in Middle Eastern studies, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin, writing on consciousness, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. He has spoken on the subject of remote viewing and parapsychology at various national and international conferences, and appeared on numerous national and regional broadcast media programs.
Link to Paul's website: Remote Viewing Instructional Services
Christopher Smith’s first feature documentary, "TINY: A Story About Living Small," premiered at SXSW in 2013 and has screened at more than 40 film festivals around the world including Hot Docs, DOC NYC, Napa Valley, and Mountainfilm in Telluride. "TINY" has won several awards. US TV rights were acquired by Al Jazeera America, and it was released in June 2014 via First Run Features on Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes where it has become one of the more popular documentaries with millions of views.
Christopher is in post production on his second feature, “Current Sea.” In addition to his documentary work, Christopher produces branded content for nonprofits and causes, garnering millions of views and helping to raise over $200,000 via crowd funding platforms. Christopher has worked as an editor on the documentary by Jason Zeldes titled "Romeo is Bleeding," and “State & Union” (forthcoming). His work has been featured on such media outlets as CNN, ABC, UK Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Canada AM, Al Jazeera, The Denver Post, among others.
Jane Houle is an independent film producer based in Los Angeles. Recent films include narratives “Transpecos” (SXSW 2016) and “Come Down Molly” (Tribeca 2015, Best Feature Narrative, Port Townsend 2015) which will release nationally in theaters Spring 2016. American ESPionage is her first documentary film.
Additionally Jane is a professionally trained photographer starting her career in New York City in 2005. Her production career began in stills photography, working with major editorial magazines and commercial fashion brands.
Nancy Schafer is a producer who works in independent film. She is the Executive Producer of the documentaries “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” (Sundance 2014) and “Frame by Frame” (SXSW 2014) and “American ESPionage”. She is Producer of the fiction films “7 Chinese Brothers” (SXSW 2014), “Transpecos” (SXSW 2016), and Glass (in production).
Schafer worked at and ran the Tribeca Film Festival from inception until July 2012, a period of 11 years. She was the Executive Director of Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) and the Executive Vice President of Tribeca Enterprises (TE). Through TE she began and ran Tribeca Film, Tribeca’s film distribution company. As a consultant Schafer continues to work with Tribeca as well as other established and start-up film businesses and filmmakers.
Prior to joining Tribeca, she created and ran the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW Film) in Austin, Texas for eight years. Along with her festival experience, Schafer has worked on several films including two from director John Sayles (”Sunshine State,” “Limbo”); two from director Robert Byington (”Olympia,” “Shameless”) and began her film production career on “The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Schafer lives in Manhattan.