An Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival last year was a stellar start for “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future“, the first-ever film about “The Father of Space Art,” Chesley Bonestell. Since then, however, the film has gone on to know even greater success, winning two Best Documentary awards, including one at Comic-Con 2018 and a second at the 44th Boston Science Fiction Film Festival in 2019. So who was this man credited as a quiet force behind the creation of America’s space program? On July 15th and 16th – 50 years from when Apollo XI carried two humans to the Moon – Los Angeles-area audiences will have a chance to know this nearly forgotten but influential artist a lot better.
“Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future” will have its Southern California Theatrical Premiere with eight simultaneous screenings at four Laemmle Theatres.
“We’ve screened this film at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe and now we’ll be in Southern California where Chesley Bonestell lived for many years.” said Douglass M. Stewart, Jr, the film’s producer/writer/director. “It was while living in Hollywood that he produced his most famous painting of “Saturn as seen from Titan.” As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of landing on the Moon, this is the story of a person who helped get us there, not with technology, but with a paint brush.”
As both artist and architect, Bonestell’s astounding career included collaborations on a surprising number of historical projects as well. He helped design the Chrysler building in New York. When he turned complicated and confusing blueprints into beautiful paintings, he helped get the Golden Gate Bridge built. As a matte painter, Bonestell created movie magic for films like “Citizen Kane” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” along with sci-fi classics like “When Worlds Collide” and “The War of the Worlds.”
“There isn’t an artist painting today in the science fiction fantasy field who didn’t start with Chesley Bonestell” says legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury in the film’s trailer.
The 96-minute documentary features rare interviews with Bonestell, along with perspectives from numerous others who knew Bonestell or were influenced by his art, including Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Star Wars veterans Ben Burtt, Craig Barron and Richard Edlund. Additional insights come from astronomer Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, Dr. Catherine Newell author of the new book “Destined for the Stars,” space artist David Aguilar, Bonestell protégé Don Davis and many others.
“Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future” will have its Southern California Theatrical Premiere on July 15th at four Laemmle Theatres: the Royal Theatre (West Los Angeles), Playhouse 7 Theatre (Pasadena), Town Center 5 Theatre (Encino) and Claremont 5 Theatre (Claremont). Showtimes at all theaters are at 7:30pm on July 15th and 1pm on July 16th. Post-film Q&A’s are scheduled at the following Laemmle locations; Royal (7/15) and Town Center (7/16) with award-winning producer/writer/director Douglass M. Stewart, Jr; at the Playhouse (7/15 and 7/16) with film participant, rocket engineer Rocco Lardiere; at the Town Center (7/15) with the film’s Associate Producer Christopher Darryn and Editor Kristina Hays and at the Claremont (7/15) with the film’s principal director of photography Timothy Branning.”