SDCC 2018: Documentary ‘From the Bridge’ Explores the History of Fandom

From the Bridge is documentary from director Spencer F. Lee that was a four year labor of love. The film documents the rise of fandom from the days where nerds hid away their interests to the geek boom we’re witnessing today. Franchises like Star Trek were born in a time where it was not cool to be a nerd, but thanks to individuals like Kerry O’Quinn (creator of Fangoria magazine, among others) nerdom eventually won. 

Fans at San Diego Comic Con got the first sneak peak of the film through a sizzle reel and official trailer. The documentary showcases Kerry O’Quinn, Nichelle Nichols, Stan Lee, Bryan Fuller, Neal Adams, and others as they discuss their observations on the rise of the nerd. The panel was equally star studded, including some of the above actors and creators featured in the documentary. 

It was a wonderful experience getting to hear from these nerdy titans who played such an important part of creating booming spaces like San Diego Comic Con to celebrate popular culture. Kerry O’Quinn kicked off the panel discussing a little bit of his personal history, the rise of geek magazines, and his desire to “let people know they are not the only freaks in their neighborhood.” 

Nichelle Nichols, in what is likely her last San Diego Comic Con appearance, shared a bit about her experience on Star Trek. She almost left the series early on for broadway but was eventually convinced to stay and ended up making history. 

Rod Roddenberry shared stories about his dad and the original vision he had for Star Trek. That vision still echoes through the franchise and people’s lives today, including Rod who has carried on his family legacy. 

Tom DeSanto spoke at length about the rise of fandom, sharing that when he was young he had to hide his geek life from the people around him. Now? He says everyone knows who Thanos is and that is a testament to the fact that geeks have finally won. 

He went on to encourage new creators, too, in light of the long history of nerdom. DeSanto said that “nostalgia can lead to creative death” and that it was the job of those who came before to encourage new creators to put their ideas out there. That’s how nerdom will continue to grow – by looking forward instead of always looking back. 

Director Spencer F. Lee spoke a bit about the process of putting the film together. It took four years and he said he learned more than he thought he would along the way. There were a lot of people to talk to, a lot of information to absorb, and I can only imagine the editing process must have been hard. Trying to cut down the words of those showcased in the film must have been nearly impossible. 

At the end of the panel, Nichelle Nichols was presented with Comic Con International’s Inkpot Award for her contribution to the realm of comics, science fiction, and nerdom. 

We’re looking forward to catching the full documentary soon and will hopefully have a review for everyone once we do. Until then, anyone interested in learning more can check out the From the Bridge website