Firelight (partially found Steven Spielberg film; 1964)
Firelight is a 135-minute science fiction film from 1964. It was Steven Spielberg's (then aged 17) third ever directorial effort, released independently. Spielberg also wrote the script for the film and said that it inspired his 1977 feature Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The film was created on a budget of just $500 and was only publicly screened once, at his local Arizona theater (then known as the Phoenix Little Theater) on March 24, 1964, to an audience of 500. He sold 500 tickets at 1 dollar a piece, and would've broken were it not for one audience member who decided to pay double, bringing the total profits to a single dollar.
Firelight centers around a group of scientists in the fictional town of Freeport, Arizona who witness strange lights in the sky, before a plethora of bizarre disappearances take place (animals, humans and inanimate objects alike). Firelight's twist ending sees three aliens (represented only by shadows) descending on the Earth, revealing their plans to abduct the entire town of Freeport, for the purpose of creating a human zoo, back on their home planet of Altaris.
While job hunting in Los Angeles, Spielberg lent two of his master reels for the film to a producer, in order to showcase his abilities. However, just one week later, the production company in question went bankrupt, and Spielberg's reels were never returned. To this day, the missing reels have not been found, and the film remains viewable only in an incomplete state. Some of the surviving footage has become available online.
- Wikipedia article on Firelight. Retrieved 18 Mar '16.