“Tim’s Vermeer” — an incredible journey in art exploration and discovery

Short-listed for an Academy Award though it wasn’t nominated, Tim’s Vermeer was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy Awards). So instead of Closing Night for BIFF (The Boulder International Film Festival) at the Boulder Theater, the star of the film, Tim Jenison and the producer, Farley Ziegler were with Penn and Teller–in London!


A crowd-pleaser, Tim’s Vermeer is also an eye-opening experience about art and technology.  Here we have Tim Jenison, a man with a passion for technology.  An inventor that created the Video Toaster and other programs to digitize video; Tim became interested in the possibility that the 17th Century Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, may have used some pretty complex science to create photo-realistic paintings.  His friend Penn Jillette was intrigued enough to convince his friend and entertainment partner, Teller, to direct the film.  Teller’s painters were painters but Tim Jenison had never painted an oil painting…could he learn to paint like Vermeer?

The film follows what became a five-year exploration of the intersection of art and science.  Tim Jenison builds a studio, travels to Amsterdam, interviews art historians and creates a series of remarkable paintings recorded by 3 cameras that captured 2400 hours of footage.  Expertly edited into this 80-minute documentary, Tim’s Vermeer not only enlightens but also entertains.

After a screening in Los Angeles, Farley Ziegler, the producer, had an interesting comment about the film: “That Tim Jenison could look at this 350-year-old painting that had been studied for 350 years….and because of his skill set being different, he was able to see something different…something that no one else had ever seen; the “seahorse smile”…I find that so astonishing and liberating and I wonder what other results might be revealed by others looking with a new viewpoint?”

A unique documentary about an experiment that turned into a five-year obsession and the artists who saw it through with passion and persistence to discover that it’s not a matter of whether it’s art OR science; it’s both.  What matters most is not how the art is created, but how you respond to that art and what it makes you feel in your heart.

Rating: 4 glasses of Renaissance mead, sipped while listening to lute music

Passes the Bechdel Test

Letter from Teller to film-goers:  http://www.landmarktheatres.com/letters/timsvermeer.htm

BIFF 2014 Award Winners

Best Short Film: Saturday Girls Best Editing: No No: A Dockumentary Best Colorado Film: High and Hallowed: Everest 1963 Best New Filmmaker: Alan Hicks, Keep On Keepin’ On (a work-in-progress) Special Jury Award for Documentary Film: Mistaken for Strangers Best Feature Film: Le Week-End Best Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier Best Call 2 Action Film: Documented Catalyst Award: (and a $10,000 donation from the Red Empress Foundation to the Music and Memory Foundation): Alive Inside People’s Choice Award: Keep On Keepin’ On (a work-in-progress)

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