The truth was out of the corner of Mulder Avenue at Scully Way in Orléans

OTTAWA — Two decades after FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully began investigating the paranormal, X-philes still want to believe.

More than 100 diehard X-Files fans braved a fall-like night as cold as the cases their favourite agents were tasked with solving Friday night to celebrate the science fiction show’s 20th anniversary.

Veronique Turpin, 25, was only a child when the X-Files started its nine-year run on Sept. 10, 1993. Turpin said her parents wouldn’t let her watch the show because she was too young for the eerie conspiracies Mulder and Scully investigated.

“When it would come on, I was told to go upstairs and go to bed. I would sneak back down and try to watch it from between the railings in the stairs,” she recalled.

Turpin, who was visiting Ottawa from Montreal when told of the block party and outdoor movie screening in honour of the cult classic, said the show was an integral part of growing up for her, leading her to discover similar interests like surrealist movies by filmmaker David Lynch.

“It opened doors for me to see other weird things that were around,” she said.

It was the abnormal that enticed viewers to follow the series, said fan Lisa Higgs, who organized the event.

“It’s special, it’s spooky, it’s out there. It had great relationships between the characters. I was a show that really stood out from anything else out there in the mid-’90s,” Higgs said. “If you were a geek, you kind of only had one option, and that was Star Trek. Then X-Files came along and suddenly there was this whole other side to being a geek that really appealed to people.”

Higgs discovered a fellow fan, a builder, had created a Mulder Avenue at Scully Way intersection in Orléans about five years ago. When she realized the show’s 20th anniversary was approaching, she decided to throw a community-wide event with the help of her employer, UsedOttawa. Higgs initially planned to screen the second X-Files movie, 2008’s X-Files: I Want to Believe, on the small grassy space at the intersection, but concerns from City of Ottawa councilors about safety forced a venue change to the field behind South Fallingbrook Community Centre.

The intersection was instead set up for a photo shoot. For an hour prior to the screening, X-philes were able to get their pictures taken under the street signs, with props like life-size blow-up aliens and cut-outs of actors David Duchovny (Mulder) and Gillian Anderson’s (Scully) heads.

In an ode to Mulder’s favourite snack, movie viewers were offered free sunflower seeds. The 300 bags of Spitz were a gift from X-Files executive producer Chris Carter and production company Ten Thirteen Productions, who got in touch with Higgs after reading about the event in the media.

Higgs said there was a lot of squealing when she opened that particular email.

“My first thought was, ‘Holy crap, Chris Carter knows my name.’ ”

Carter also sent a video message thanking fans for their dedication, which played before the film. Ainslie S. Wiggs, who worked as an assistant location manager on the X-Files when it filmed its first five seasons in Vancouver, said she wasn’t surprised by Carter’s interest in the event. No show like the X-Files had ever been done, said Wiggs; the unprecedented series was a labour of love, with Carter at the helm.

“There was nothing else on television like it and there’s never been anything since. It was based on a lot of reality, in a sense that there were real X-files in the F.B.I.,” she said. “Chris Carter pushed our limits week after week after week about what we could achieve. When we pushed back, he had this enigmatic smile and his surfer boy tan and his white hair and he would just look at us and say, ‘You can do it,’ and we were like, ‘OK, we can do it!’ ”

Wiggs, an Ottawa native, brought with her two autographed photos of Duchovny and Anderson. She gave the photos to Higgs to auction off as part of a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, and planned to stick around to experience the show with the rest of the X-philes.

“It was really exciting to be a part of an amazing history in television and movies, and I just thought I really wanted to be here to share it with other people that really loved the show.”

FONTE: Ottawa Citizen (CAN)


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