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Arts & Culture

Jewish Film Fest Hosts San Diego Premiere Of 'For The Love Of Spock'

Leonard Nimoy, in a photo from the 1960s, and his son Adam Nimoy, who has completed the documentary "For the Love of Spock."
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Leonard Nimoy, in a photo from the 1960s, and his son Adam Nimoy, who has completed the documentary "For the Love of Spock."

Adam Nimoy presents doc on his father

The San Diego Jewish Film Festival is hosting the San Diego premiere of the documentary "For the Love of Spock" with screenings on Sept. 21 and 22. Adam Nimoy will be at both screenings to talk about making a film about his famous father Leonard Nimoy.

Anyone could make a documentary about Leonard Nimoy and Spock, the character he created on the original "Star Trek" TV show. But not everyone would have the intimate access and unique perspective of Adam Nimoy, Leonard’s son. Adam Nimoy began making "For the Love of Spock" with his father. Originally the film was designed to look solely to Spock and the character’s enduring legacy.

But when Leonard Nimoy died in February of last year, his son decided to shift the focus of the film. The result is a warm and insightful documentary about Spock, the actor who gave him life, and a father and son relationship.

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Adam Nimoy went through family archives to add wonderful material to the film.

"It was just a nice way to process kind of the grieving I was sort of going through and getting used to my life without my dad," Adam Nimoy said.

The documentary includes interviews with both original cast members of the 1960s TV show as well as actors from the new J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" movies. There are also great archive clips like this one where Leonard Nimoy reads the Variety review of the "Star Trek" TV show.

"It says, '"Star Trek" with William Shatner, Leonard Nomoy… "Star Trek" won’t work.' That’s the opening line. Then it says, 'an incredible and dreary mess of confusion, trudged on for a long hour with hardly any relief from violence, killing, hypnotic stuff and a distasteful, ugly monster.'"

The film reminds us that "Star Trek" was not an instant success with everyone. Leonard Nimoy even recounts how the publicity department retouched photos of him as Spock in order to straighten out his eye brows and removed the Satan-like tips from his ears because the network was worried that Middle America would not take to a character that looked like the Devil. Adam Nimoy has some fun with this and finds a clip from the show where Spock's appearance is addressed.

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The film's playfulness is also on display when it uses a clip of a novelty song that Leonard Nimoy recorded and has the clip run on the bridge of the Enterprise where a startled crew reacts. I include the video but be forewarned, its one of those goofy musical pieces that can get stuck in your head!

Leonard Nimoy, 'The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins'

"For the Love of Spock" also allows the actor to speak seriously about his craft and about how the character of Spock evolved. During an interview with Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the new movies, Adam Nimoy opens up about his sometimes troubled relationship with his dad. The film moves smoothly from pop culture exploration of Spock to a very personal story of a father and son coming back together after estrangement.

"For the Love of Spock" screens Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre in La Jolla.

I will be hosting the Q&A after the screening on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Carlsbad Village Theatre at 7:00 p.m.

Listen to Cinema Junkie Podcast 91 for a full interview with Adam Nimoy.

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