Hi Ho, It's Off to Holland We Go!
By Doug Stewart, Producer/Writer/Director

It was with great excitement that we learned a few months ago that Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future was made an Official Selection at the InScience International Science Film Festival, held in the quaint city of Nijmegen, Netherlands. One mission of this year’s festival was to bring increased awareness of the enormous impact genetic engineering will be playing - for good or bad - in years ahead. Purple bananas anyone?

InScience is one of the biggest science film festivals in Europe. It offers a broad program of film screenings with Q&A’s, informative meetings, and exhibitions featuring the cutting edge of science and art. Film Programmer Rob van den Bergh told us how perfect our film was for this festival. “This is an essential story about the meeting of art and science,” he said. “It’s so inspirational and it makes you want to start designing the future.”

Film Programmer Rob van den Bergh and Doug Stewart in front of a poster for the InScience Film Festival in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

There were two screenings of our film on separate days. The initial one was on November 7, which was moderated by Anne Giesen, a Dutch investigative journalist. As this was the first screening that I've attended with an audience whose native language is not English, I was a little concerned about how the film would be received. It was shown without dubbing or Dutch subtitles. The official language of the festival was English, and I was assured that virtually everyone in the Netherlands speaks it fluently. I found this to be true many times when I had to turn to strangers to point me to the right street or the correct train platform!

Doug Stewart and Anne Giesen at the film's first screening.

The audience really liked what they saw (and laughed in all the right places!). There was only one person there who was familiar with Chesley Bonestell’s art, so everyone else got their first, eye-opening introduction that day. From the smiles on the faces I saw, I could see that nothing was “lost in translation."

One of the toughest questions posed from the audience was “Why isn’t Chesley Bonestell more well-known?" My answer: "Chesley’s visionary paintings were eclipsed by dazzling real-life accomplishments in space exploration. With all these remarkable achievements, we've unfortunately forgotten how it all started. One of the purposes of this film is to put the well-deserved spotlight back on Mr. Bonestell."

Susan Dullink, Doug Stewart and Dr. Etienne Augé.

A second screening took place on Saturday, November 9, near the end of the festival. This time, the moderator was Susan Dullink, a Dutch art historian. We were joined by the distinguished Dr. Etienne Augé from France. Dr. Augé is the principal lecturer in Media and Communication at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. In 2015, he started the Community for Histories of the Future (CHIFT), a platform dedicated to the study and promotion of science fiction.

After seeing the film, Dr. Augé told the audience that the world needs more science-fiction writers who can inspire people positively about the future in the same way Chesley Bonestell did with his art. He said: "In French, there is a great expression: 'décrocher la lune' (literally 'catch the moon') and that's what Bonestell did. Our world looks too much to the past for answers, but in this case, it is high time to remember Bonestell, who was shooting for the stars and helped us get to the moon."

Susan Dullink, Dr. Etienne Augé, and Doug Stewart at the second screening's Q&A.
Being a part of the annual Inscience Film Festival was a wonderful honor, both from an experiential point of view but also from a nostalgic one. When I was eleven, my father’s business took us to the Netherlands where we lived for three years in a beautiful town called Wassenaar, just outside The Hague. I loved every minute there.

Here are some highlights from the last day of the festival!
InScience 2019 | Day 4 -  Video courtesy of Almichael Fraay and Christa van Vliet.

A Train Ride to Mars:

On one of the days between the screenings, I journeyed to Amersfoort, a Dutch city about 90 minutes by train from Nijmegen. At the impressive Kunsthal Kade, a cultural center dedicated to art exhibitions, I met up with Menno Dudok van Heel, the Assistant Curator. Menno had contacted me some months ago about an amazing exhibit they were putting together called “One Way Ticket To Mars.”
Using art installations, patrons would be able to experience what pioneering visitors to Mars might find on a visit to the Red Planet. The exhibition got its interesting name because currently, there is a way to get to Mars…but no practical way to return home to Earth.
Doug Stewart and Assistant Curator Menno Dudok van Heel. On the screen behind them is a Bonus Feature from the film featuring NASA Project Manager Brian Day.
There, among the many installations on display, is a special area devoted to Chesley Bonestell, where you can see a video and other depictions of Chesley’s art on the walls, such as the cover of Sun Ra’s 2016 recording of “The Space Age Is Here To Stay” featuring Chesley’s "Exploring Mars" (1954).
During the planning stages of this exhibition, Kunsthal Kade’s Guest Curator, Govert Schiller, told Menno how important it was to include Chesley Bonestell in “One Way Ticket To Mars.” Menno did some research and came across Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future. It turns out I had just what he needed: an unreleased Bonus Feature about one of Chesley’s Martian paintings.
Click this image to watch an excerpt from the Bonus Feature!
Hosted by NASA’s Brian Day, this video shows the amazing prescience Chesley had about the geology and meteorology of Mars in a 1969 painting called: “Martian Landscape.”
"Martian Landscape" (1969) by Chesley Bonestell. Courtesy Bonestell LLC
One of the remarkable features of this painting is the depiction of crescent-shaped Barchan sand dunes and “dust devils,” something not known about Mars until their discovery by the Mars Orbiter and Rovers. Somehow, long ago, Chesley knew they were there.
Barchan sand dunes found in McLaughlin Crater (NASA-2016).
A dust devil on the Martian plains (NASA-2016).
This particular installation is serenaded by a recording of Gustav Holst’s "The Planets," which makes everything seem even more dramatic. All in all, Chesley does indeed seem right at home here in Amersfoort. If you want to experience “One Way Ticket To Mars,” make it over to the Netherlands before this exhibit closes on January 20, 2020. Highly recommended and no worries...you will be able to get back home!
Learn more about "One Way Ticket to Mars"

Very special thanks to the many great people I met and worked with in connection with this trip to the Netherlands, including InScience Festival Creator and Director Johan van de Woestijne, and his terrific associates: Matthijs van der Laan, Charlotte Horn and Kunsthal Kade’s Curator Judith van Meeuwen. A nod must also go to my friend Walda Bosman-Kok from Nijmegen, who helped me spice up a speech with some appropriate Dutch phrases. Congratulations to InScience on their fifth anniversary and we look forward to more of their gatherings coming next year and beyond!

More International News:

The InScience Film Festival was actually the second international screening of Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future. The first occurred just days earlier in Nantes, France on October 31 at the Les Utopiales Festival de Science Fiction where audiences could see the film with French subtitles. Although none of the stateside members of the Chesley Bonestell team could attend Les Utopiales, here is an excerpt from a terrific review posted on the website Unification France:

"An excellent documentary about Chesley Bonestell's incredible career and fascinating imagination that has inspired so many men and women to go into space...The feature film is exciting and beautiful and pays tribute to a pioneer of the space image whose name is, unfortunately, a little forgotten."

Read the Full Article
Closing Observations:

As 2019 begins to come to a close, it’s been a wonderful discovery to find that our film about Chesley Bonestell knows no international boundaries and his cosmic creations still have a fascinating and timeless appeal.
- Doug


Monday, Nov. 25, 2019
6:00 - 9:30 PM
Griffith Observatory
Los Angeles, CA 90027
For those of you in the Southern California area, another special screening paired with an exhibition of Bonestell art is coming your way in just a few weeks. The Friends of The Griffith Observatory (FOTO) are hosting a fundraising evening on November 25 at the Griffith Observatory. On display will be the Observatory’s collection of Bonestell art, including some of the largest panoramas ever done by the artist. It’s been decades since this collection was shown to the public and 60 years since Bonestell originally painted them.
A portion of the Titan panorama, created by Chesley Bonestell for the Griffith Observatory in 1959. This panorama and others will be on display at the screening.
We’ll be screening a special edition of the film and the Bonus Feature “Days of Future Passed,” which is a brief look at what happened when Chesley's art collided with the future. The evening will be moderated by the Observatory’s Don Dixon. On hand for a Q&A afterwards will be Doug Stewart and Co-Producer Melvin Schuetz. For more information and to purchase tickets, click the button below.
Buy Tickets
Friday, Nov. 29
4:00 - 6:00 PM
Loscon 46

Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel
5855 W. Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
A special 60-minute version of Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future will be showing at Loscon 46, LA's longest running fan convention. Loscon is run by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS).

Following the screening, there will be a panel with the film's Co-Editor Kristina Hays. Joining her will be Science Fiction Author John DeChancie, Filk Songwriter Nick Smith, and Tom Khamis.

This screening is only available to people with membership to Loscon 46.
Purchase Membership to Loscon 46

Chesley Bonestell is Headed "Down Under"!

December 2-14, 2019
Newport Beach Film Festival at Sea
South Pacific Ocean
In 2018, Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future was given an Audience Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival for Best Film in the category of Art, Architecture + Design. This year, the film has been selected again by the NBFF to be a part of the 3rd Annual Newport Beach Film Festival at Sea.

This announcement appears in the November issue of the Costco Connection.
Come join us on this very special opportunity to cruise around New Zealand and Australia. Join filmmaker Doug Stewart and NBFF Executive Director Gregg Schwenk for special screenings of both the film and its 13 Bonus Features. For more information about the cruise and to purchase tickets, please click on the button below.
Learn More
Visit our website for the latest in screenings!
Copyright © 2019 Chesley Bonestell: A Brush With The Future, All rights reserved.

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