Bonestell Film Gains Momentum Throughout the Summer

  • bonstell film
    (Left to right) Space artist Don Davis, Co-Producer Melvin Schuetz, rocket engineer Rocco Lardiere and Producer/Writer/Director Douglass M. Stewart, Jr. join in on discussions following the screening of "Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future" at Spacefest IX in Tucson, Arizona. (Spacefest IX)
  • bonestell2
    (Left to right) Space artist Don Davis, Co-Producer Melvin Schuetz, rocket engineer Rocco Lardiere and Producer/Writer/Director Douglass M. Stewart, Jr. join in on discussions following the screening of "Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future" at Spacefest IX in Tucson, Arizona. (Spacefest IX)
Aug. 8, 2018

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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by Liesbeth Powers, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (August 8, 2018) – The space paintings of American designer and artist Chesley Bonestell have come to life in the form of the documentary, “Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future,” and are reaching new heights this summer.

The film debuted on May 1 at the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, California, where it received an Audience Award in the category of Art, Architecture & Design. For film co-producer and lifelong Bonestell enthusiast Melvin Schuetz, assistant to the curators for Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library, seeing the film in a crowded theater was thrilling.

“Seeing the film on a large screen for the first time was almost like seeing Star Wars for the first time. I felt a great deal of anticipation and excitement,” Schuetz said. “Of course, I had seen the film on a computer monitor already, but there was no comparison between the two.”

Since its premiere, the film has been screened at Spacefest IX in Tucson, Arizona, the NASA Exploration Science Forum at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, the Long Beach International Film Festival in Long Beach, New York, and was an official selection for the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival in San Diego, California, where it was named Best Documentary.

The variety of events seems fitting to Schuetz, as Bonestell had varying artistic careers. He first worked as an architect, creating projects like the Golden Gate Bridge, and later became a Hollywood motion picture matte artist, working on films like “War of the Worlds” and “Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“His last career was as a space artist, illustrating books and magazine articles,” Schuetz said. “It is for that work that he is most remembered today. Because his artwork was not limited to one genre, the film likewise appeals to many people, having a wide range of interests.”

Most of the screenings were followed by a question-and-answer session. While audience sizes varied, attendees showed a keen interest, Schuetz said.

“At Comic-Con, people kept wanting to ask questions afterward, while the room monitor kept raising her sign over and over that our time was running out because another film was scheduled to show in the room immediately following ours,” Schuetz said. “Those discussions then continued in the foyer, outside the screening room.”

Schuetz hopes that Bonestell’s work is an educational and inspirational force for all who see the documentary, especially for younger viewers.

“I hope that many of the young people who see this film today will be as inspired by Chesley’s artwork as I was when I first saw it in the third grade, and perhaps some of them will go on to be the scientists and the astronauts of the future, taking us to Mars and the outer planets of the solar system,” Schuetz said.

The film is set to be screened later this month at WorldCon76 in San Jose, California, and in September at the annual conference of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in Rohnert Park, California.

“My appreciation of the film gets greater after every new showing that I attend,” Schuetz said. “I think that is from the feedback I get from each new audience and how they respond to the film, both during the showing and afterward.”

Schuetz and his team hope to release a DVD version of the film as well as make it available on cable and streaming services.

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