After her brother, Adam Nimoy, successfully raised more than $600,000 in donations to make a documentary on their famous father, Julie Nimoy wants to do the same thing. Except she's looking to tackle a much more serious topic: COPD.
Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek" series, died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease nearly a year ago. It was a condition he was first diagnosed with in 2013.
COPD, Julie Nimoy wrote in the Huffington Post, "literally takes a person's breath away. It makes the simple act of breathing, which most people take for granted, difficult and painful."
It's estimated that COPD affects nearly 30 million Americans, Nimoy said. "Sadly, over a third of these people suffer the symptoms of the disease without ever being diagnosed. This, as Spock would say, is 'highly illogical,' since early detection and treatment can reduce suffering and save lives."
But how can early detection take place? Nimoy sees the future, just as she said her father did, in the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, the $10 million competition encouraging companies to develop a medical tricorder similar to what DeForest Kelley's Dr. McCoy used in the Star Trek series. Some of the devices entering the competition can not only give instantaneous vitals for someone, but some even track them on a regular basis and don't even require the user to do anything to keep maintaining those readings.
That inspired Julie Nimoy to make her first major foray into filmmaking, following in the footsteps of her father (who directed films such as "Three Men and a Baby" as well as a pair of Star Trek features), as well as her younger brother Adam.
Julie Nimoy is working on a documentary called "COPD: Highly Illogical," and is looking to raise $150,000 for the project on Indiegogo, so far raising just over $15,000.
The tricorder, Nimoy said, "effectively diagnosed the vital signs of all beings, not just humans. The tricorder's ability to read those life signs, as well as Mr. Spock's frequent encouragement to both friend and foe to 'live long and prosper,' can be viewed as fictional engagements with the idea that illness does not discriminate, and all beings have a right to lead healthy lives.
"The concept of the universality of well-being, and the drive to make it a reality, are the inspiration for the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize," Nimoy added. "They also are a major motivation for my film."
Joining Nimoy on the project is her husband David Knight, who has a brief background in making medical documentaries. The couple already have raised $300,000 through corporate sponsorship, and are looking to raise the remaining $150,000 to help with computer-generated graphic images, to obtain licensing rights for the Spock and Star Trek properties and other post-production needs.
Like many crowdfunding ventures, money given to projects like this are a donation and are not an investment. There are no guarantees that the project advertised will ever be made, and those participating in crowdfunding should fully explore the project and the people behind it before deciding to donate money.
Julie Nimoy hopes that not only can she share her father's optimism on a better future for everyone, but highlight how people are getting together to make that happen.
"He set out to use the influence of his personality to educate the public about the silent killer that is COPD," Nimoy said of her father. "He passed on before he got to see his goal realized, but that does not mean it will not be realized. I have taken up his resolve to help learn about COPD, and deal with it logically."