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How to Build a Time Machine

Saturday, May 7, 2016 - 9:00pm
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 2:30pm
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How to Build a Time Machine

Jay Cheel  | 
Canada |
 2016 | 
82 minutes

Part of our Spotlight on Borders and Boundaries this year, Jay Cheel’s remarkable new film explores what is perhaps the ultimate boundary, the 4th dimension, time itself. Since humans first walked the planet, they’ve been searching for a way to conquer time. Thus far, the only means of doing this existed in the realm of science fiction novels, comic books and, of course, movies. But as Cheel discovers, scientists are drawing ever closer to this fabled quest.

The film focuses on two different men, each uniquely obsessed with time travel. When animator Rob Niosi was seven years old, he and his brother were promised an outing to see the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine. During an afternoon playing by the creek, the brothers lost track of time, and the chance to go to the movies. In desperation, Rob blamed it on the fact that he didn’t have a watch. Their parents relented, the kids got to see the movie, and as Rob recounts, later that week they also received their first time machines — wristwatches. This early experience became the seed for Niosi’s decade-long quest to build a scale model of Wells’s time machine, right down to the last exquisite detail. Physicist Ronald Mallet’s obsession with time travel was also rooted deeply in childhood. When Mallet lost his father at an early age, he embarked on a lifelong quest to conquer both time and death. Mallet’s discovery of Einstein’s theory that time could be altered, started him on his ultimate ambition to build a real live working time machine. He is getting very close to bringing this idea to reality. -DW


Jay Cheel

Jay Cheel is a documentary filmmaker from St. Catharines, Ontario. His feature debut, Beauty Day, premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of their Canadian Front programming series. The film was also an official selection at the Hot Docs international film festival and was nominated in the ‘Best Documentary’ category of the 2012 Genie Awards. In addition to being a filmmaker, Jay is also the co-host of the Film Junk Podcast. How to Build a Time Machine is his second feature documentary.