Helvetica (film)

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Helvetica
Helvetica-film.JPG
Directed by Gary Hustwit
Produced by Gary Hustwit
Swiss Dots
Veer
Edited by Shelby Siegel
Laura Weinberg
Release date(s) September 12, 2007
Running time 80 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Helvetica is an independent feature-length documentary film about typography and graphic design, centered on the typeface of the same name. Directed by Gary Hustwit, it was released in 2007 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the typeface's introduction in 1957 and is considered the first of the Design Trilogy by the director.

Its content consists of a history of the typeface interspersed with candid interviews with leading graphic and type designers. The film aims to show Helvetica's beauty and ubiquity, and illuminate the personalities that are behind typefaces. It also explores the rift between modernists and postmodernists, with the latter expressing and explaining their criticisms of the famous typeface.

Helvetica premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2007. The film toured around the world for screenings in selected venues, such as the IFC Center in New York, the Institute of Contemporary Arts London, the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, and the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco. Helvetica was nominated for the 2008 Independent Spirit's Truer than Fiction Award.

Bands and musicians that contributed to the documentary's soundtrack include Four Tet, The Album Leaf, Kim Hiorthøy, Caribou, Battles, Sam Prekop of The Sea and Cake, and El Ten Eleven.

An edited version of the film was broadcast in the UK on BBC One in November 2007, as part of Alan Yentob's Imagine series. It aired in January 2009 as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS in the United States.

The film was released on DVD in November 2007 by Plexifilm.

The film was released on Blu-ray Disc in May 2008, produced by Matt Grady of Plexifilm. The limited (1,500 copies) edition includes Gary Hustwit's autograph. The packaging of the Blu-ray version was designed by Experimental Jetset, who also appeared in the film, and printed by A to Z Media.[1]

Interviewees[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Sun editor Steve Dollar claimed the odd details and vocal asides made the movie more compelling than might otherwise be imagined.[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

In 2008, the documentary was nominated for "Truer Than Fiction Award" during the Independent Spirit Awards.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Helvetica / Blu-ray". Experimental Jetset. April 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  2. ^ Dollar, Steve (2007-09-12). "The Typeface To End All Typefaces". The New York Sun (TWO SL LLC). Retrieved 2009-05-19. 

External links[edit]