Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Plastic Bakelite Documentary Highlights Adirondack Connection

all things bakeliteThe Indian Lake Theater is set to show the documentary All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic by John Maher, a provocative story about the “father of modern plastics.”

Belgian-born chemist and inventor Leo Hendrik Baekeland invented Velox photographic paper as well as what is considered the world’s first synthetic plastic which has been used for everything from jewelry to communications equipment.

Baekeland’s 1907 invention ushered in an explosion of new man-made materials that helped mark the beginnings of the modern industrial age, and changed our way of life.

What is less known is that Baekeland had a major connection to and fondness for the Adirondacks.

In the early part of the 20th Century, the Adirondacks was the ultimate getaway for Leo Baekeland. He and his son, George, hunted and fished from a cabin located on Bear Brook, which flows out of the Blue Ridge Wilderness south of Route 28 and into the Marion River between Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes.

Using original sources, including 62 of Baekeland’s personal hand-written diaries, the film explores his life, his scientific genius and his creative entrepreneurship, in detail. The filmmakers also used historical re-enactments, rare archival footage, photos, first-person accounts, interviews with scientists, historians, and artists, and musical performances to capture both the wonder and the curse of Baekeland’s alchemy.

All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic was edited by Craig Mikhitarian. The original score is by Marty Fegy.

The Indian Lake Theater is set to show the documentary on August 22 at 7:30 pm, followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers. The theater is located at 13 W. Main St. in Indian Lake.

Producer/Director John Maher, of JEM Films, is an award-winning filmmaker whose previous works include the independent documentaries, Throw It Down, A Georgetown Story, and Visions of Iron. Maher has an extensive background in the production of television commercials, entertainment specials, dramas, sports, music videos, broadcast network news and features.

You can see a trailer for the film on YouTube.

The event is part of the Theater’s Fantastic Films Series which is made possible with the funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the arts supported by New York State and administered by the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts.

More information about the Indian Lake Theater is available on their website.

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One Response

  1. I’m thrilled to show our film at Indian Lake so close to the camp Céline Baekeland, my great grandmother purchased in 1923.
    Her husband and son, George found isolation and recreation in the area and four generations later, my family and other descendants enjoy the same qualities today.
    I hope lots of ADKers will have the opportunity to view my documentary about the good and bad of Plastics and the man who made it all happen.
    Thank you Sue Montgomery.Corey and the Board for hosting this event. And thanks to Ben Strader for introducing us.
    See you there.
    Hugh

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