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Guest: Douglass Stewart: Topics: Chesley Bonestell, his space art and story, plus the documentary film "Chesley Bonestell: A brush with The Future."
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We welcomed independent film producer Douglass Stewart to the show to discuss his excellent documentary movie "Chesley Bonestell: A brush with The Future." Having seen the film at the recent NSS ISDC conference, I was so taken by this film that I invited Doug to be a guest on the show to discuss all aspects of Bonestell' s art and life with a focus on his space art. During this one segment 72 minute program, not only did our guest take us through the life and art of Chesley Bonestell, but the same for documentary film making, distribution and film festival issues plus lots more.
We started our program with an introduction to Chesley and his work. Born in San Francisco in 1898, he passed away in Carmel, CA at the age of 98. Chesley Bonestell was active his entire life having never retired. Doug talked about his earlier career which including matte paintings in classic movies such as Citizen Cane, Destination Moon, The War of the Worlds and Men in Space plus 2001: A Space Odyssey. He also talked about the work Chesley did with the famous Chrysler Building in NYC.
Doug talked about the inspiration for future space professionals as well as advocates given his visionary and futuristic space art which proved to be highly accurate once we got photos of the planets, the Moon, and launched real rockets. You don't want to miss this discussion. Note what our guest said about the 1947 Life Magazine series on the tour of the solar System." You can see many of his solar system images here: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS474US474&q=Life+Magazine+tour+of+the+solar+system+b+Chesley+Bonestell&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjGvIrYv7jkAhW7FjQIHZ5lBnsQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1025&bih=572#spf=1567645817353 Doug also spoke about his classic painting, "Saturn As Seen From Titan."
Our guest addressed Bonestell' s education and early art plus his interest in space since childhood. Listeners wanted to know if there were Bonestell prints available from museum stores and the like. Surprisingly, for the most part no but listen to all of what Doug said in response to these questions. When Doug was asked about painting aliens and ETs, our said that his focus was on terrestrial issues and the surface of planets. He also talked about his art being from the Hudson River School of Painting which he described in detail. Doug frequently mentioned that much of what we talked about regarding Bonestell was also included in his film. In addition, Doug mentioned many space artists today plus others that were key to helping to make the film or in Bonestell' s life. I'm sure you will find it interesting as did how just how these folks were made part of the film story and this documentary. Doug referenced many of these people multiple times in telling the Chelsey Bonestell story. He also gave multiple shout outs to his co-film associates, Ron Miller and Melvin Schuetz.
Later in our discussion, I asked Doug to tell the listeners about his Golden Gate Bridge work and the finding of his work years later in boxes stashed away in the GGB offices. The story includes taking them to Carmel to show them to Chesley and also to have him sign one of the paintings that he had not signed decades ago. Note the reaction of Chesley with his Golden Gate Bridge paintings. By the way, all of this is documented in the movie.
Our guest was asked about Bonestell and NASA, the astronauts and our Moon program. You might be surprised by what Doug said in response to these questions. Especially those asking if he did any lunar astronaut paintings. Later as we were approaching the end of the show, Doug was asked how Bonestell might have portrayed the new commercial space development push, the private spaceships and rockets being built and flown, plus commercial lunar rovers and even possible private commercial Mars missions. Doug had interesting ways of seeing Bonestell and his visionary work in today's world so do pay attention. Let us know what you think about Bonestell and his visionary work and what it might have been like with space today and tomorrow.
Doug fielded several questions about making an indie documentary. For example, how long did it take him to make the film? What about getting it into film festivals which he has done. Note he has received many film festival awards as well. Doug talked about his future plans for the film, how to find a showing near you and the eventual big screen distribution, then small screen distribution.
Doug's film website is www.chesleybonestell.com. You can contact him through the Contact link at the top of the home page. For those in the Los Angeles area, he did say there might be a special Griffith Observatory program around the film and Bonestell later in November. Check the Griffith Observatory site for more information plus The Space Show will do its best to keep everyone updated on this possible and exciting event.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program. In addition to reaching our guest through is film website, you can reach him through The Space Show email address.