- Part 1 -

From Doug Stewart, somewhere in the Tasman Sea!

Last year, Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With the Future, had its premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF), and it was a wonderful honor to be given the Audience Award for Best Film in the category of Art, Architecture and Design. Just a few months ago, NBFF Founder and Executive Director Gregg Schwenk called me and asked "have you ever heard about the Newport Beach Film Festival at Sea?" He explained how NBFF offers an annual cruise with a special presentation of selected films. Produced in collaboration with Celebrity Cruises and Costco, the NBFF at Sea would be traveling this year around New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. When Gregg told me he would like to include not only our film as a part of the program but also our thirteen Bonus Features, I eagerly replied, “I’m in!”

The Celebrity Solstice- home of the 2019 Newport Beach Film Festival at Sea

One port-of-call on our ship’s itinerary would be in Wellington, NZ. That’s the home of filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson, who played a huge role in turning New Zealand into a motion picture production powerhouse with blockbuster films like The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, King Kong, and many others.

Along with his creative partners, Sir Peter has created ancillary companies like Weta Workshop, Weta Digital and Park Road Post Production that are providing Oscar-winning visual and special effects and post-production services for films around the world.

An idea came to me to see if I could screen Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With the Future for the artists and technicians at Weta. I turned to my friend, producer Phil Savenick, who has been a long-time supporter of my film, and he got in touch with Wingnut Films collaborator, producer/director Michael Pellerin. Weta was very enthusiastic about hosting a screening, and Executive Manager Ri Streeter set the date for December 6th.

Our ship, the Celebrity Solstice, would dock in Wellington for about 8 hours. Would that be enough time to travel to the studio, screen the film and get back on board? Everybody crossed their fingers. On the day we docked, Gregg, his wife Vanessa and I briskly headed down the gangplank and navigated our way to the studio a half an hour away.

(L to R) Gregg Schwenk, Vanessa Schwenk and Doug Stewart in the lobby of
Park Road Post.

Once at Park Road Post, we were greeted by Administrative Assistant 
Rhiannon Flavell and Projectionist Paul Harris. After touring the beautiful English-style Arts and Crafts building with Head of Marketing Vicki Jackways, we were escorted to the famous Weta Cave and Weta Workshop, where a good bit of the studio’s creativity is nurtured.

Doug, Gregg and Vanessa in front of a troll guarding Weta Cave.

At noontime, a group of twenty curious and eager technicians and artists took their lunch hour to come see the film. I was a little nervous about how this “doco” about an American artist would be received by a group of super-talented “Kiwis,” as New Zealanders like to call themselves...

My concerns were all for nought because the film was most enthusiastically received. The inspiring story of Chesley Bonestell really resonated with this audience! I fielded some wonderful questions during the post-film Q&A. Weta Workshop Special Effects Artist and Visual Designer Warren Beaton had this to say about the film:

"You have no idea how excited I was to have had a chance to see your documentary on Chesley Bonestell and to hear how you made it. I've seen Chesley's work all my life, and his paintings have been so inspirational to me as an artist. He's the reason I chose a career in the field of motion picture special effects!"

Doug with Warren Beaton and his special friend at Weta Workshop.

After the screening, we had time for a quick lunch with Artist Keri-Mei Zagrobelna and Concept Designer William Bennett, who commented, "It was truly special to watch your fantastic film and be treated to the incredible imagery you captured!"

Racing back to the ship, we unfortunately didn’t get to see much of Wellington. We are all looking forward to returning here someday to see what we missed, and I will be especially happy to drop in again on the new friends made at Weta. Sharing our film with them was such an extraordinary privilege, and I am so grateful to everyone there for their warm hospitality! As they say in the language of the Maori - the original New Zealanders - “Kia mihi!” (Thank you!).

Postscript- New Zealand was in the news recently about a devastating volcanic explosion on White Island that took place on December 9. Just days before visiting Wellington, Gregg and Vanessa had visited the island but encountered no harm during their journey. How fortunate they were! 

More about the Newport Beach Film Festival at Sea will be coming in our next newsletter!

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles...

In late November, Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future screened at Loscon 46, LA's longest running science fiction fan convention. It's put on by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. This annual event allows science fiction and fantasy fans to gather together to share their passion. We are so grateful that their passion includes Chesley Bonestell!
The Dealer's Room at Loscon 46.
Our film's Co-Editor Kristina Hays attended the screening and got the chance to meet some wonderful people. She was also on a panel discussing Chesley Bonestell with author John DeChancie and moderator Nick Smith. Thanks so much to both of them for an engaging discussion!
(L to R) Science Fiction Author John DeChancie, Co-Editor Kristina Hays, and moderator Nick Smith.


Feb. 12, 2020
5:15 PM
San Francisco Public Main Library
100 Larkin St.

San Francisco, CA 94102
Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future will screen at San Francisco's Public Main Library on February 12th, 2020. The screening will be part of their McComas Science Fiction Exhibit Series, which runs from February to April of 2020. There will also be a Q&A after the screening. This event is free and open to the public. More details will be made available at a later date.
Visit our website for the latest in screenings!
Copyright © 2019 Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp