About this project
Our Kickstarter campaign is over now, thanks to everyone who backed the project! If you missed it, you can still get more info about Urbanized and support the film at our official site.
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.
We've already spent over a year and some substantial production costs making Urbanized, with over 100 people involved in the film thus far. We're knee-deep in the editing process now with Helvetica editor Shelby Siegel, but we still have several more filming trips to make this spring, and then we tackle post-production tasks like sound editing, color correction, and other tech work before completing the film this summer.
Urbanized is a totally independent project: we don't get government funding or grants. And while we've been honored to have PBS and the BBC broadcast our films, they don't produce them or help us make them, they license broadcast rights to the films after we finish them. So Urbanized is being funded mainly by revenue from my previous two films. Please join us in helping to finish Urbanized, and you'll get some nice goodies as a reward. I'm especially excited about The Design Trilogy limited-edition box set, which will include the debut of Helvetica Neue. It's the director's cut of Helvetica (this time Arial shoots first).
Thanks to everyone who has supported these films, on behalf of all of the people who've worked on them. We really appreciate it.
PS: The soundtrack of the video above is our old friends El Ten Eleven, it's the song "Anxiety is Cheap" from their new album.
PPS: As a special bonus for our Kickstarter backers, we'll be releasing exclusive video clips and soundtrack MP3s over the next few months as we're finishing Urbanized. These clips and songs will only be available to our backers. You're helping us finish this film, so you deserve an exclusive first look at the footage as we're shooting and editing it!
The Design Trilogy limited-edition box set, designed by Build, only 1,000 copies. Definitive editions of the three films on all-region DVD or Blu-ray, in a slipcover case with a hardbound art book (and some extra surprise goodies). Each copy signed by director Gary Hustwit:
The Urbanized limited-edition screenprints designed by Build, representing mobility, housing, public space, and infrastructure. Numbered edition of 100 prints:
Urbanized T-shirt design by Build:
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