Vintage Tomorrows | 2016 Seattle International Film Festival
USA | 2015 | 67 minutes | Byrd McDonald
Dive deep into the world of steampunk, the subgenre of science fiction inspired by 19th-century technology and aesthetics, in this documentary featuring appearances by authors William Gibson, China Miéville, and Cory Doctorow.
Director Byrd McDonald, Producer Alan Winston scheduled to attend
A futurist and a historian walk into a bar. They both order a steam beer and wind up with beer goggles. Just kidding. This is serious business. James Carrott and Brian David Johnson reserved a table in the back of Seattle's Dahlia Lounge and invited some of the country's leading experts and practitioners of Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction inspired by 19th-century technology and aesthetics. Or as one participant calls it, retro-futurism: "the science fiction of the future that never happened." By surveying these intellectuals and creators—novelists, game designers, costumers—they hope to gather enough material for their new book. Vintage Tomorrows acts as a fly on the wall at this meeting, and also travels to the events, conventions, and workshops that power the movement, examining Steampunk's origins, explosive growth, and cultural significance. With appearances by authors William Gibson, China Miéville, and Cory Doctorow, along with expo founders, photographers, and concert-footage snippets of the post-apocalyptic band Abney Park, this film explores some fundamental questions: What can playing with the past teach us about the future? Is the Steampunk movement a homogenized, privileged subculture that worships an era marked by colonialism and oppression, or a reclamation of technology from the hands of Silicon Valley? Most important, who can make the coolest-looking death ray?
Byrd McDonald began his career working in development for director Jonathan Demme. He directed the feature documentary Haunters, produced the features Film Geek and The Auteur, and directed the short Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.
Sponsored by SubSeattle Tour, 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, CityArts, Seattle Weekly