Daniel Land


Daniel LandDaniel Land_2Daniel Land is a filmmaker and visual artist, living in Detroit since 2001. He completed his first feature-length motion picture at age eighteen, since then directing music videos, commercials, and an array of narrative, documentary, animated and experimental short films. As a visual effects supervisor, and entrepreneur through his Unit Circle Ltd., he has led teams of artists to design and deliver purposeful VFX imagery for television and Hollywood feature films.

Land, with artist Gabriel Hall, also explores the medium of projection-mapping. They created ‘Knowledge Is Power’ on the Detroit Public Library for Dlectricity 2012, and their ‘Peralux’ installation was voted into the Top 20 at ArtPrize 2014 after debuting at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. He has performed as a VJ at the SXSW festival, Black Rock City, and (annually since 2009) at the Movement Electronic Music Festival. A lifelong space enthusiast, Land spent two weeks in April 2012 as the journalist of a mission simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, and lectured at the subsequent Mars Society Convention on the challenges of that experience. He is currently directing a documentary feature, America You Kill Me, exploring the work of midwest gay rights pioneer Jeffrey Montgomery.

To see more work by Daniel Land, visit www.dland.tv.

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The Space Race is over, the Shuttles have all landed, but a New Space Age is well underway.

Come cheer the past, present, and future of humans working together to defy gravity. This event is a multimedia exploration of our reach beyond the Earth, and Detroit’s official entry into the World Space Party — also known as Yuri’s Night (for the April 12th,1961 anniversary of the first man in space). The evening is linked to hundreds of nearly simultaneous parties spanning all seven continents in dozens of countries.

Guests will enter an immersive, educational all-ages party experience transforming the Rocket Garden of the Michigan Science Center with cutting-edge narrative visuals, interactive exhibits, themed cocktails, special guests, live DJ and an experimental musical set by Audra Kubat. See the two-story Saturn V rocket and Space Shuttle models rumble to life and launched via projection-mapped animation by New D Media Arts.

The centerpiece of the evening will be Planetarium preview screenings of an original narrative short film depicting life on a new frontier. This hard sci-fi vision of survival in the first sustainable city on Mars is meticulously researched and shot on location in the deserts of the American West.

Come represent the D to the rest of the world, join the global celebration of achievements that forever changed — and continue to change — our lives down here.

WHY WE GO: 54 Years of Humans in Space

On the 54th Anniversary of the day Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space, the Michigan Science Center will feature an all-ages multimedia presentation on the reasons we study and explore space, past and present. On a walking tour through the Rocket Garden, we will discuss the evolution of rockets, the Cold War Space Race, life in space aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, and the new Commercial ventures leading into the future. Guests might even see a special “Yuri’s Night” message recorded by astronauts currently in space. Several video screens will illustrate the path our species has flown these last 54 years, in both robotic and human craft, and a special short film screening will explore the future.

“BRAVE RED WORLD: Life on Mars”

What might life on Mars be like? Beyond the first missions to the first permanent settlement. Who would go? Why? What would they build? How? The questions raised are personal, political, economic, social, and existential. This presentation will involve a behind-the-scenes filmmaking process exploring the research and development of a Martian cinematic odyssey. Daniel Land will chronicle the experience of living at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah on a simulated Mars mission, with documentary video taken during his stay. Storyboards, props, and costumes will be on display, the struggle for scientific accuracy will be detailed, and Visual Effects secrets will be revealed. This presentation will culminate in the a special preview screening of the resulting short film project.


My work has always drawn inspiration from what lies beyond the Earth, and for several years I’ve been studying the proposition of what life on Mars might realistically resemble. Not the first missions, but the first permanent settlement. Who would go? Why? What would they build? How? The questions raised are personal, political, economic, social, and existential.

There’s an undeniably sweeping romance to the exploration of space, beginning with our first urges to leave the savannahs over 50,000 years ago and leading ahead towards the mysteries that still confound us. The risks demand our collective problem-solving and courage to even attempt, and this forces our civilization to grow. Understanding our place in the universe matters in both poetic and practical terms. Artistically speaking, the allure of new vistas is irresistible, and I’m fascinated by pushing humanity into a hostile environment, fully dependent upon nothing but our ingenuity and fragile technology for survival.

I first attended a Yuri’s Night event in 2007 at the NASA Ames Research Center, and was amazed at a party atmosphere that brought burners, club kids, and government engineers together to celebrate the cosmos. It was educational, substantive, and beautiful. For three of the last four years I’ve hosted Detroit’s official branch of this global event, modest parties around town, but I’ve longed to take it to the next level. Art X Detroit happens to occur at just the right moment to do so, and allows me to create a context around this preview of my Martian short film project.

It’s much harder to see anyone as ‘foreign’ or ‘other’ when you remember we’re all in this together on a pale blue dot in a vast dark sea. This is the real theme of a world space party. We’re all on the same team, and it’s worth looking Up.


CinetopiaCreated for the people of southeastern Michigan, the Cinetopia International Film Festival showcases the best feature-length dramas, comedies, and documentaries from the world’s best film festivals. Local talent shines in the short film competition “Detroit
Voices”. During the 10 day festival, the international film community engages with everyone from filmmakers to critics to even the most casual movie goer with lively Q&A’s and panel discussions. Discover your next favorite at Cinetopia.