The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, (SMPTE), is producing a documentary on the history of motion-imaging technology to celebrate the society’s centennial anniversary in 2016. SMPTE has named creative visionary Randall Dark as producer. Howard Lukk, former vice president of production technology at The Walt Disney Studios, will serve as director. Chris Kenneally, who is best known as the writer and director for the acclaimed documentary Side by Side, produced by Justin Szlasa and Keanu Reeves, already has completed the initial treatment for the film.
“For this project we specifically selected a team with both production expertise and firsthand knowledge of the innovations and inventions that have influenced the art and science of the motion-imaging industry ecosystem,” said SMPTE documentary committee chair and past president Peter Ludé. “I am excited that the unique personal perspective that Randall and Howard bring to the project will bring this exciting story to a large general audience, as well as cinema buffs, history enthusiasts and industry experts.”
The documentary, which goes by the working title Moving Images, will explore the excitement surrounding the development of motion-imaging technology from the turn of the 20th century through the present while inquiring about what the future has in store. Through interviews with top filmmakers, historians, entrepreneurs and engineers, the documentary will investigate the influence that art and science have on one another.
“SMPTE has played a vital role in the advancement of movies and television for nearly 100 years,” said Dark. “I’m so honored that I get to help tell the story of the people who literally invented the technology that I’ve built my entire career.”
The film will expose the human element behind epic engineering feats and technological achievements, examining the ways it has advanced the artistic element of content creation. The documentary will serve as a celebration of the ingenuity, invention and personalities that are responsible for many important works of art while demonstrating how SMPTE’s important work on industry education and standards has guided the technology.
“Technology inspires, thrills, and defines us. It teaches us to dream and helps us communicate,” said Lukk. “Through this film, we will honor those engineers and technologists who have enabled producers and directors to tell their stories and push the boundaries of their craft.”
The SMPTE board of governors has authorized initial funding for the project, which has included Kenneally’s treatment and Dark’s initial production work. The intent is to produce a 90-minute theatrical feature, as well as an abbreviated television version.
SMPTE is now seeking supporters to underwrite the project. The society has set up a crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo. Contributions to the campaign will be processed by FirstGiving and may be tax deductible.
For more information, visit http://igg.me/at/smptedoc.