Filmmaker Gary Hustwit has become the Francis Ford Coppola of design documentaries (I expect a vineyard soon). His documentaries on type (Helvetica) and industrial design (Objectified) are glorious, intimate sources of visual inspiration. Now, he’s taking his quest to release a third film on cities to Kickstarter. And while Kickstarter seems to be the “it” site of this bootstrapping economic dip, the pitch is pretty good. First, Hustwit on exactly where he came from:

In 2005 I began work on my first documentary, Helvetica, which looked at the worlds of typography and graphic design through the eyes of one loved/hated/ubiquitous little font. I wasn’t a designer, or even a filmmaker, just a design geek who really wanted to see a movie about fonts! After Helvetica was released in 2007, I had the idea for a second film, Objectified, which focused on industrial design and product design, and our relationship with the manufactured objects that surround us. But I realized there was more to explore, and had the initial ideas for a third film that would also examine how design affects our lives. So I began thinking of the films as a “design trilogy”.

The third documentary in this trilogy is about the design of cities. Urbanized looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design, featuring some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. I’ve teamed up once again with cinematographer Luke Geissbuhler, and we’ve been traveling around the world interviewing people and filming specific urban design projects that represent the issues facing cities today. The world’s population is in the midst of a massive migration to urban areas, and the design solutions our cities implement in the next 20 years will be critical.

Aside from tickling our inner design fetish, I think that question – how design and visual culture will interface with cities – is central to interactive and live visuals, too, themselves an urban art form.

And all of this is an excuse to mention that, if you do have the cash for backing, you can get exclusive advanced video clips, audio, and importantly, special and exclusive editions of the new film. For $100 or more, you can get the three-disc box. (Apparently, Tired = PBS pledge drives and tote bags. Wired = Kickstarter and digital premiums. American readers know what I mean. Where’s Ken Burns when you need him?)

Now, surely there’s some upcoming holiday for which our loved ones can buy us this set. St. Patrick’s Day? Cinco de Mayo?

Start the countdown until one of the never-ending documentary production on VJing starts a Kickstarter project. In five… four… three… two…

Urbanized: A Documentary Film,
Project by Gary Hustwit