Nicola Telsa: Let There Be Light
series pilot for “Marvelous Encounters

Concept: A ‘what if’ drama about inventor, visionary, and very eccentric NicolaTesla at a crucial turning point in the later years of his life, revealing his accomplishments, struggles, flaws, humanity and humor.
Genre: Broadcast one hour real-time, fact-based/enriched fiction.
Tone: Seriocomedic, minimalist, character-driven.

The most eccentric, misunderstood and humanistic physicist of the 19th and early 20th Century who invented most everything, but got credit for virtually none of it. An immigrant self-taught inventor from Serbia, Nicola Tesla came to the US to create his visions for world wide electricity and machines that would transform the world into a utopian paradise for rich and poor alike. Tesla was nominated for the Nobel Prize but lived the last 20 years of his life in poverty, ignored by the world and ridiculed by his competitors (e.g., Edison) who, to the very end, did whatever they could to discredit, humiliate and steal from him.
In “Let There Be Light’, it is a few years after the 1929 Crash on Wall Street, two decades after he was the toast of the world scientific community and nominated for the Nobel Prize. He is currently living in poverty, his only trusted friends being the pigeons, with no funds to continue his work, and no one who will believe his wild, but scientifically valid, theories and suggestions for new ‘wonder machines’. ‘Old Man’ Nicola’s greatest inventions have been stolen, discredited, ridiculed or used for destructive purposes. His position in the scientific community or any other ‘legitimate’ community is not helped by his ‘non-American’ poetic nature, his ever-increasing obsessive compulsive disorders, and his honestly relating that the Visions he has for great inventions got to him through extra-terrestrial sources. He has also had all his notes confiscated by the US government, twice, a knife that digs in hard since Tesla gave his adopted country all he had.
Finally, Nicola has given up, no new ideas about anything coming into his mind, or Soul. Tesla is about to jump off the roof, since ‘when the singer has no more songs to sing, the singer must be no more’. Then, fate intervenes. He is visited in the latter part of his life by an aspiring female journalist/scientist (Virginia Millhouse), with whom he shares his most innovative discoveries, and his innermost secrets. Nicola spots in Virginia a silver-spoon socialite who wants to give the world much more than the world will accept, a genius who has been put into a ‘slot’ of a commoner, or an unwelcome agitator. Virginia becomes ‘Teslaized’, inspired to be her own person, and all she can be. The Old Man entrusts her with his latest, and very private, scientific notes. His faith in humanity is renewed by the knowledge that his new student, and biographer, will carry on his work. He goes up to the roof, his mind and Soul inspired to continue inventing, even though the world will not understand it. He realizes that doing the work is what matters, when or if the world picks up on it is up to ‘a Higher Wisdom’.
Virginia is touched, inspired and terrified when leaving Tesla’a apartment with the notes entrusted to her. She’s on her own, finally. Then, she is startled by Edison.waiting in the wings, having sent her to Tesla as a spy to get the last of his ‘naïve competitors’ ideas in exchange for Virginia to get a coveted research position in his multimillion dollar laboratory. Virginia hands over the notebook to her new boss, Edison, according to the arrangement then asks for them back to ‘fill in details, while they are fresh in her mind’. She walks away, leaving a heartfelt note to Tesla that reveals her inability to be his student, or protégée, but keeps the notes out of Edison’s hands, choosing the honorable, lonely path rather than the safe, ‘connected’ one. She is her OWN person after being inspired by the most rugged (and perhaps deluded) individualist of 19th Century Science.
To this day, Tesla’s inventions remain hundreds of years ahead of ‘modern’ science, many of those inventions secretly under lock and key by governments on both sides of the former Iron Curtain which sought (and perhaps still seek) to use them for their own national interests. Tesla’s inventions were, and still are, quite earth shattering, including a car that runs without engines, wireless transmission of electricity on a world scale and, yes, a machine that can (and did) make the earth shake. He lived in seclusion for the last 30 years of his life, a lull in his inventions occurring during the early 30s, revived afterwards. He died in 1943, still alone, and still fighting.
Tesla understood so much about Nature and the way science can be used to serve humanity, but the poet-scientist knew so little about the basic ‘condition’ of humans.their capacity for cruelty and greed.

One-off drama and potential series pilot with tailor-made host introductory, middle and concluding segments.

Tape available upon request. Regional CBC airing, 2005.

The Kilburns

Set in the modern day West, this family drama follows the Kilburn family in its struggle to keep their ranch, their way of life and their family all in one piece in the face of a new banker who unexpectedly calls in the loan extension owed by the head of the household, cowboy “Red”.   Seeking all possible routes to get he money within 24 hours, Red finally has to connect to his roots.   They include a mystical tie to his pioneering departed Grandfather, the Native spirituality which said grandfather embraced upon his arrival a century ago, and Red’s own family, who he finally re-discovers as economic tragedy looms overhead.

Donnelly Rhodes (DaVinci’s Inquest, Danger Bay) and Linda Darlow (Newhart, The Commish, Cold Squad)

48 min. Aired, 2001 (CBC).  I See U Productions/Tripod Productions.

In Search of Grafittiman


A cracked team of psuedo-intellectual ‘beautiful people’ journalists do a documentary about a graffiti problem in their fair town.  Is it vandalism that needs to be halted with the firm hand of the law?  Or is it art, social commentary in code, made by a misunderstood underground artist-genius, AKA “Grafittiman”, inspired by fire in the belly, friends from Outer Space, or.perhaps, a very rich trust fund derived from his ‘respectable’ alter ego?

“This is Spinal Tap” meets “Roger and Me”

46 min. Hollywood North Productions/Long Rider Productions

Produced, 1999.  Zed tv version on line.


Mindless Love

A young, kind, nerdy First Nations science genius/social misfit (Fred), with his female science buddy (Donna, who wants to be more than that) get hold of a scientifically-formulated (and largely untested) love potion.  The source of the magic elixir is Fred’s estranged, ex-scientist-now-Traditional-healer Uncle John.  The experiment works, Fred finding himself ‘loved’ by the super-hot babe he has lusted after for years, and seems to be accepted by the ‘cool-to-be-cruel’ in crowd.  But the ‘experiment’ backfires, Fred’s rescue from the ‘happiness’ he thinks he has requiring Donna to extend herself in ways she was afraid to, and Dr John facing his own dilemmas about love, and the woman who still holds a candle for the head-heavy loner who is terrified of intimacy.

A modern-day fairy tale about the conflict between mind and heart in the lives of scientists and animal healers that reveals the REAL story about the ‘L’ word (love, that is) which we all experience.

Ascent Films, Inc.

46 min.  Airing, 2005, Citytv.  Funded by CHUM television, episode in ’13 Stories About Love’.  All broadcast rights in CND reserved until 2009

Of Lions and Lambs
by M.J.Politis

Athena “Atti the Hun” Nichololias is the most hyper-intense, ultra-cynical, super-intelligent, and chronically-misunderstood comic duking it out on the B-minus level comedy circuit in Vancouver.  The only one who really understands this middle-aged social-reformer gag-girl and her special life mission is her father, Nikos, a Greek Revolutionary who is pulled closer and closer to the grave every day by a debilitating neurological disease, ghosts from his past, and a Computer Age incarnation of evil, “Ralph Reaper”.  Only Reaper and Nikos know Atti’s real purpose, struggle and the unfinished business about the child she gave up for adoption in her lost teen years.
Enter into Atti’s life ‘Johnboy’ Smith, naïve New Age Bible-thumper 20-something farm kid from Iowa.  Through a series of ‘accidents’ and numerological prayers, hyper-optimistic John comes to the conclusion that his calling is to be a stand up comic, and that Atti is his Extra-terrestrial Angelic Spirit Helper.
Against her better judgment, Atti takes on the wayward pilgrim. A friendship develops amidst the cultural tension and romantic under-feelings.  But the Comedy Camelot is destined for disaster—unless Atti can beat Reaper at the game he started—and is so good at.

Adapted for the screen and aired as a CBC television drama, 2002.
Comment:  Liked by women, particularly those who value their independence, despite hard-edged language in the book, and some technical flaws in some printings.

Kefi’s Garage

An old, eccentric Greek-Canadian environmentalist-cowboy  holds onto his plot of unplowed prairie land containing a special medicine Wheel (porthole to the Realm of Light) against all odds so he can pass the land, the fire and the porthole (before it closes forever) onto his Nephew, a tragically-hip, wise-mouthed Yuppie-in-training.  A Quixotic tale with a contemporary Western Canadian setting and Greek flavor.

72 min.  Aired CTV, 1992.

Michael Derbas co-producer, featuring Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of the Fall, North of 60).

A rapidly-aging, senile, yet-still-defiant backyard inventor (Michael O’Brien) is spending his last Christmas on the frozen Canadian Western Prairies, far from his homeland 2500 miles East in Newfoundland, yearning for the Golden Age when his Viking Irish Ancestors ruled the seas, the skies, and their own destiny.  ‘Old Mike’, who was always a thousand years ahead of his time and a hundred years behind the ‘real’ world, is fading away fast, fluctuating between semi-comatose periods of being ‘here’ and energy-infused stretches where he wears his Viking helmet, sings Wagner and has conversations with a stuffed bear head.  His two-way discourses with ‘Winchester’ are about old WWII Yukon stories with his friend Pete, physics, philosophy and religion, particularly his ongoing arguments with God.

It’s a matter of distress for his ‘stay-at-home’ son Jack, a devout and obedient Catholic who was afraid to leave the homestead after his mother died a decade ago, staying on to take care of his father.  But the real reason is that the lad was afraid to face the world outside his small Prairie town and the bosom of Mother Church.   Mike’s other (and favorite) son, Jim, has ‘made it’ in the world as a lawyer in the big city of Toronto, or so he says in the very brief and highly infrequent phone calls back home.  The cynical, atheistic and (by some definitions) immoral Jim is as terrified to return home as Jack is scared to leave the nest. But Jim DOES come home, to face his father, and the brother who he left in charge of the parents he loved, but could never really get close to.  Old Man Mike’s final wish is to see his sons united again, but there are other things on his ‘must-do-before-I-die’ list.

Top item is to ride the winged bicycle that he built to enable human muscle to make man mobile in the skies, to relive at magical 37-second aerial flight he had 30 years ago with his buddy Pete. Pete’s ghost beckons him to come out his warm house into the frigid snow and go for one last ride, to fly up to the heavens and shake his fist at the Creator in anger, and shake His hand in friendship, according to the Viking vision of Valhalla, a place where everyone does  battle during the day, ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ honoring each other at night at the Mead Hall with, of course, Newfoundland Screech (a rum that’s almost pure alcohol).    But.when to take that final ride..?
At the height of Jim and Jack venting out their angst, each championing their conflicting agendas to make their father’s last Christmas a fulfilling one for the Old Man, Mike takes the plunge, leaving the warm house, mounting the winged bicycle and making it fly!  Straight up to the Heavens, then, a few seconds later, smack into the roof, where Mike’s foot is stuck.  His boys rush up to save him, but their father knows he is dying, and accepts it, wearing his Viking helmet, his Screech in hand.   He asks his sons to have a final drink with him, James still believing in the Catholic God, Jim believing in the God of human perseverance, and Old Man Mike affirmed in his belief in the Nordic God of his Irish Ancestors.

As they have one last drink together, bonded more closely than ever, the camera pans out to a road sign outside the house reading “Entering Valhalla, population three”.

A Prairie-Christmas homecoming story with an edge, and metaphysical heart.

46 min. Christmas drama, Aired, CTV (Canada) 1989.paradoxically, the same week the Berlin Wall came down.

In the tradition of ‘Being Human’ and ‘The Fountain’, a male and female soul exchange roles as student and teacher, abuser and abused, loved and betrayed, in various incarnations throughout the ages, their relationship forged and tested by a Third Wheel soul whose identity only becomes known when the couple reach full circle with each other.
We begin when a hyper-intelligent, slick but very lonely female humanoid ET crash lands on ‘colony’ Earth and forms an uneasy alliance and love affair with a slow-witted but kind caveman in which the Farces of Nature take over, as well as the intervention of a silent ‘friend’ just when it hurts most.

Next — Ancient Athens.  The noble experiment of democracy is already failing. Our male soul seeks answers from the gods through the familiar-looking Oracle of Delphi to save his city, country and world.  But he discovers more about her and the gods than he wants to, and has to ‘grow up’ very, very fast.

Up next—female soul incarnated as a gifted Jewish Earth Healer to be burned for Witchcraft in 1500s Europe, her counterpart a Church-funded scientist/scholar who feels drawn to her.  Trust and betrayal haunt their alliance and friendship, and mutual desire to save the world, each in their own ways.

Next stop in the Incarnation Express, New Orleans, 1820. The male soul is a  failed music composer from Europe trying pass himself off as the toast of Europe to a neuvo-rich ‘uncultured’ America.  ‘Maestro Ludwig’ is hounded by extreme self doubt and economic problems.   All can be turned around if he can teach the ‘Countessa of New Orleans’, a fat cat’s daughter, to play the violin in a winner-take-all bet.  But the wager is harder than he can ever imagine, her survival and his hanging in the balance.

Then– 1930s New York. The male soul is incarnated as Visionary/Inventory Nicola Tesla, the most intelligent physicist and most free thinking, compassionate scientist of his time.   But Nicola’s been put out to pasture, stolen from, ridiculed, or ignored by the scientific community, most particularly the ‘great American’ Thomas Edison.   With no one to pass his ideas on to, Nicola decides to end it all, but is stopped by a female reporter (blue-blood expatriate Virginia Millhouse) who wants to do a story on him.   In the process of doing the interview, Nicola sees himself and his struggles in the female reporter who wants to, and can be, a great scientist.   But there are hidden agendas on both sides of the student-mentor line.

Finally, our two souls meet as archeologists, discovering the portraits they drew of themselves thousands of years ago, and coming face to face with an all too familiar soul they both recognize, and fear for very good reason.

Directed and Written by:  MJ Politis.   CoDir/CoWriter:  Robert Goss.  Starring:  Willy Gaw, Robert Goss, MJ Politis, Marina Seretis, Tiina Valk..   Dir of Photography:  Jiri Bakala.  Music: Trevor Field, Sergei Romanoff, Judy Baker/Ja-el.   Editor:  Jiri Bakala, Craig Langley.

A Long Rider Productions Film
First aired, Global Television (CND)
copyrighted, 2007.   103 min.

MJ Politis, Ph.D., D.V.M., H.B.A.R.P. (human being, aspiring Rennaisance person) 

(250) 587-6325 or (250) 212-1435

2228 Dunn Lake Road, Box 114, Clearwater, BC VOE 3L0 Canada