Stamford’s Avon Theatre is hosting a free screening Saturday morning, March 28, of “All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic,” the story of the “Father of Modern Plastic,” Leo Hendrik Baekeland. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.
In 1907, the Belgian/American chemist and entrepreneur made one of the most transformative discoveries of the 20th century — the first wholly synthetic plastic, which he called Bakelite. This invention was integral to the beginning of the modern industrial age and ushered in a myriad of plastics that have improved our lives and support critical advancements in the automotive and aerospace industries, construction and electrical engineering, medicine and design, according to an Avon press release.
The film explores Baekeland’s life, his scientific genius and his creative entrepreneurship, all in intimate detail in the 59-minute documentary, with reenactments, rare archival footage, photos and entries from personal handwritten diaries.
Interviews with scientists, historians, professors, artists, as well as satirical musical performances, capture both the wonder and curse of Baekeland’s discovery. While the film celebrates Baekeland, his invention and its descendants, it does not shy away from the global plastic problem. In the end, it offers a view into essential solutions.
“All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic” is for all audiences interested in the human drama that underlies history, science, business and art. The film has aired on public television stations across America and continues to be screened at historical societies, museums and industry conferences here and abroad.
The film’s executive producer, Hugh Karraker, a great grandson of Leo Baekeland notes: “His invention had a huge impact on our lives, but little is generally known about him. His peers were the likes of Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers and Henry Ford. I believe his story will inspire present and future innovators.” In 2007, Karraker founded The L.H. Baekeland Project, which celebrates the life and achievements of his great grandfather and promotes the history, science and art of Bakelite.
Producer/director John Maher, of JEM Films, is an award-winning filmmaker, whose previous independent documentaries include, “Throw It Down,” “A Georgetown Story” and “Visions of Iron.” Maher has an extensive background in television commercials, entertainment specials, dramas, sports, music videos and broadcast network news.
Craig Mikhitarian edited and the original score is by Marty Fegy.
“All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic” is a co-production of JEM Films, LLC and The L.H. Baekeland Project, LLC.
To learn more about the history and purchase a DVD, visit: www.AllThingsBakelite.com