“The Emissary” World Premiere

“Koyper,” played by Door County artist Peter Ciesla, in his spaceship. Submitted photo.

“Part of my mind has always been in the rest of the universe and what lies out there, what could be out there and all the mysteries that remain.” ~ Tim Erskine, Door County filmmaker

The night sky has been an integral part of Tim Erskine’s life, whether through his childhood interest in stars, the company name for his artistic undertakings (Night Sky Ventures), and most recently, the backdrop for his second soon-to-be-released Door County film, The Emissary.

In 2010, Erskine released his directorial debut, The Case of the Tainted Cheese Curds, which he affectionately refers to as “training wheels” for his feature film. A year later he began writing the script for The Emissary, which will celebrate its world premiere at the Door Community Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 27.

The basis for the science fiction comedy is a colony built thousands of years ago by a small team of aliens. The colony is in orbit around the sun and is now populated with 30,000 humans and few aliens. These do-good humans, appropriately called “the emissary,” serve as intermediaries (representing all cultures and major languages) who visit Earth and interact with Earth-dwellers without causing alarm.

The film opens with the sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.

The greedy Exuflux Energy Corporation steals the alien generator. (Left to right) Kay Allmand, Mark Moede, Holly Erskine, Joel Kersebet. Submitted photo.

“You see that a small alien ship was somehow involved and also was damaged in the course of the sinking,” Erskine said. “The next day, some wreckage from the ship washes up in Jacksonport and a poor dairy farmer finds it and drags it back to his farm. He discovers that it’s a power generator that can generate unlimited amounts of power.”

A flash-forward to present day shows that “poor dairy farmer” with a thriving farm. But the problem soon becomes clear: the 35-year-old generator sends out a warning signal that it is going to explode, causing the colony to dispatch an emissary to prevent the generator from blowing up the peninsula. While landing, the spaceman is seen by a group of individuals who team up with him to find and diffuse the time bomb.

During the course of the film, the group takes part in all the warm weather activities that bring thousands of visitors to Door County every year – riding go-carts at Johnson Park, playing miniature golf, visiting a library, diving to the shipwreck in Hedgehog Harbor, and visiting Renard’s Cheese.

“It’s kind of sharing my love for the place and my love of a good story and a good laugh with people,” Erskine said. “And also my love of science.”

A spaceship over Newport state park. Submitted photo.

Along with writing and directing the film, Erskine did the special effects, built the spaceship generator, and stars in the film as one of the main characters. The film also stars Peter Ciesla, Joel Kersebet, John Wilson, Mark Moede, Paul Erskine, Pat Palmer, Kay Allmand, Jess Holland and Tim’s wife, Holly (who donned different wigs to play three different characters and served as assistant camera operator). Artist Ram Rojas created The Emissary movie poster.

Though her on-camera contributions were integral to the film, Holly considers supporting her husband to be her biggest role.

“I feel responsible for pushing this and for encouraging him to do it,” Holly said. “I’ve been continually giving him feedback. That’s my biggest role.”

As for local jewelry and clothing designer Peter Ciesla, who plays spaceman “Koyper” in The Emissary, the long days and nights of filming introduced him and his character, who he describes as someone “that a lot of humans would strive to be,” to many experiences he otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“How often do I get to spend a night at Newport State Park? I wouldn’t and this was actually stunning,” Ciesla said. “ … Most of the time it really didn’t feel like work. We had so much fun doing this. A lot of it was like a hilarious party. It was a great crew of people who were very much fun working with.”

“The Emissary” Director Tim Erskine. In the back is the 9-foot-long alien spaceship generator that he created in his garage.

The final product, which took three years of filming and post-production work, is a family-friendly piece that gives insight to Erskine’s love of astronomy, comedy and Door County.

“I want to inspire young people and give fun and laughter to as many people as possible, for sure the people who already know and love Door County,” Erskine said. “But I’d like to share the beauty of Door County with everyone around the world.”

While international access to the film via the Internet is still in the works, Erskine is proud to announce that The Emissary will open the 5th annual Green Bay Film Festival on March 6.

The world premiere of The Emissary will begin at 7pm on Friday, Feb. 27 at Door Community Auditorium, 3926 Hwy. 42 in Fish Creek. Tickets are $5 and all ticket sales will benefit the Door County YMCA, Door County Humane Society, and the Friends of Gibraltar Schools. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit,, or