Nuneaton director’s anger over sci-fi thriller used to spread fake news about Ukraine conflict


A director from Nuneaton has expressed his anger after a clip from a science fiction film he directed was used to spread false information about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Simon Cox was shocked to find that what appeared to be a clip from his film Invasion Planet Earth had gone viral – but not for the reasons he wanted.

The clip, which was filmed in Birmingham in 2013 and showed hundreds of panicked people running through the streets during a fictional alien invasion, was being used in Russia to spread the message that the country was winning the war in Ukraine and that people were fleeing. in fear.

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Further inspection revealed that the footage that had been seized and misused was a snippet from the current shoot, which had been made by one of the assistant directors and posted on YouTube.

In the clip, Simon can be heard shouting “action” as more than 900 people marched through Victoria Square in Birmingham in a scene for Invasion Planet Earth.



A still from the YouTube clip of an Invasion Planet Earth scene being filmed

Simon said he discovered the misuse of his work while checking the publicity surrounding his film last weekend.

The film was recently released in Spain and he was specifically looking for any media coverage surrounding it.

He said: “My film has just been released in Spain and I was keeping an eye on its development.”

Then he discovered bizarre tweets containing the images.



A photo of Invasion Planet Earth
A photo of Invasion Planet Earth

“It was everywhere and in many different foreign languages,” he said.

“Some people were saying it’s fake news and some people were saying ‘this is what’s happening in Ukraine’.

“Someone in Russia took it and said ‘those are screaming Ukrainians’.

“They even had an anti-aircraft siren on it.

“I think it was to try to show the Russian people that they were in control.

“I was really annoyed when I saw it taken out of context.

“If that’s the kind of stuff Russians see, it’s pretty scary.”



Promotional material for Invasion Planet Earth
Promotional material for Invasion Planet Earth

Simon said he spent a considerable amount of time responding to hundreds of people who retweeted the fake news clip, explaining where it came from.

“What I did was I went to the majority of the tweets and said ‘this is my film, made in Birmingham in 2013’ and people started talking about it.”

Following the misleading use of his film, Simon spoke to a number of journalists and fact checkers across Europe who contacted him, in an effort to counter misinformation.

The reality of the clip couldn’t be further from the truth.



The Nuneaton filmmaker has 30 years of industry experience

The clip of the clip, so to speak, was not even in Ukraine and entirely fictional.

As noted above, it showed a scene for Invasion Planet Earth filmed in Birmingham city center in 2013.

During the scene, around 900 people are filmed fleeing from alien invaders.

While it may sound like a big-budget blockbuster, the reality of Invasion Planet Earth is somewhat different.



Promotional material for Invasion Planet Earth
Promotional material for Invasion Planet Earth

“It’s a very low-budget film that I spent almost ten years making,” Simon said.

“A lot of people there in that big scene had contributed ten to be there.

“It came out in 2019 and did really well. It even got into cinemas here.

“It’s a movie made with love but it’s available to stream on Amazon alongside all the big-budget, multi-million dollar sci-fi movies.”

The film was originally called Kaleidoscope Man but the name has been changed.

Simon said: “The film is now called Invasion Planet Earth. We have changed the names for distribution reasons.

“It was a crowd-funded film and was in UK cinemas at the end of 2019.”

Planet Earth Invasion can be watched on Amazon Prime here.

Simon is currently filming a new sci-fi movie titled Of Infinite Worlds, details of which can be found here.

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