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Douglas Gayeton

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Douglas Gayeton presenting at Cusp Conference 2008, Chicago, IL

Douglas Gayeton is an American multimedia artist, filmmaker, writer, and photographer with ties to farming in Sonoma County, California and photography in Pistoia, a medieval Tuscan town in North Central Italy.

He is the author of Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town[1][2][3][4] and LOCAL: The new Face of Food and Farming in America.[5][6]

Gayeton's noteworthy film productions credits include: 'Delta State', 'Johnny Mnemonic: The Interactive Action Movie', Know Your Food,[7] a film series on food and farming produced for PBS, Growing Organic,[8] a docuseris on organics in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture. Gayeton is also the creator of Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey.

Early life[edit]

Douglas Gayeton received his BA in Literature and Writing from the University of California, San Diego in 1983, where he studied under dramatists Adele Edling Shank and Alan Schneider. Under the guidance of Reinhard Lettau he also founded the literary magazine Birdcage Review, which featured contributions from a mix of students and notable composers, writers and artists, including Ernst Krenek, Eleanor Antin, Robert Creeley, and David Hockney (who provided artwork for the Fall 1982 cover).[citation needed]


Prior to 2k[edit]

Gayeton directed La Entrada, a full-length documentary on the lives of Mexican migrant workers traveling to the US. The film was produced by [9] and later aired on KPBS. A transcript of interviews the filmmaker conducted with key immigration figures in the US and Mexico while making the film were cited by Congress and read into the Congressional Record during the drafting of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Gayeton abandoned his Masters at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1985 to start a production company called Brass Ball after receiving startup funding from Quincy Jones's Qwest Records (ironically, he later returned to the school as a Visiting Professor).

A series of experimental films made with Italian music group Minox led to Gayeton signing with Satellite Films, a division of Propaganda Films in 1992. His making of a music video for the band Semisonic is comically detailed in So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star[10] by Jacob Slichter.

In 1993 Gayeton directed Tomorrow, the first documentary about interactive television. The film featured interviews with Bill Gates, John Malone, Barry Diller, Sumner Redstone, Geraldine Laybourne and others.

Gayeton ultimately left Propaganda Films in 1994 to start his own media consultancy, Gayetonstudio, where he created interactive projects for dozens of clients. Most notable are: "Plug In", precursor to the first teen channel on AOL with Bart Decrem (1995); "Vanishing Point", first original content acquisition for MSN (1996); "Yahooligans", animated series for web and television for Yahoo and Fox (1996); "Plug in", first teen channel on AOL France (1997); "Zap!", first kids channel on AOL France (1997); "Very Small TV" and "Very Small City" (later renamed www.yafoule.com), online community for Vivendi (1999).

Gayeton provided creative support to Electronic Arts, Viacom, Sega, Intel, and National Geographic. An in-depth survey of Gayeton's interactive work is featured in The Interactive Writers Handbook by Jon Hamsel (ISBN 1885452039, 9781885452030).[11]

With William Gibson, Gayeton wrote and directed the 1995 CD-ROM-based game Johnny Mnemonic, the first interactive CD-ROM-based movie, for Sony Imagesoft.[12] He then wrote and designed a CD-ROM sequel to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four with Media-X and designed an interactive version of Einstein's Dreams with writer Alan Lightman.

From 1997 to 2000 Gayeton worked with Alphanim, a Paris-based animation company, where he developed a number of animated television series, the most notable being Delta State (TV series), a project based on his graphic novel of the same name. Purchased by Canal +, it received a Special Award for a TV series at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and the Frames 2004 Award for best Asian Production. The fourth episode of his series Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator was included in the Animation Show of Shows.

Following Gayeton's experience making Molotov Alva he joined MTV to work on their virtual world projects. This was followed by a brief stint as Chief Creative Officer of Millions of Us LLC, where he developed content for a variety of social network and virtual world platforms including Gaia, Habbo Hotel, Scenecaster, Zwinktopia and most recently Sony's PlayStation Home, the world's first high definition virtual world.


In 2002 Gayeton was hired by Scripps Networks Interactive to explore new forms of "enhanced television", namely programming that allows viewers to migrate from television to the Internet and back again. The result was "Lost In Italy", a 26 episode interstitial series for the Fine Living Network.[13]

In 2003 Gayeton was commissioned by PBS and POV to document Italy's Slow Food movement. He focused on the lives of people from the town of Pistoia, Italy. "PBS ultimately premiered "My Shoes are Caked with Mud[14]" as part of "Borders", a web-based series. It was awarded a Webby for best broadband site of 2004.[15]

In 2007 Gayeton created the first machinima documentary made in a virtual world: "Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator: A Second Life Odyssey". The American broadcast rights were purchased by HBO Documentary Films in August, 2007, marking the first time a US television network purchased a series which premiered on YouTube. The groundbreaking film has been profiled in two books, The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World[16] by Wagner James Au and I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life[17] by Mark Stephen Meadows.

Slow Food Nation[18] unveiled a retrospective of Gayeton's photographic work in 2008.[19]

In 2009, Gayeton released his first book, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town,[20] which tells the story of the Slow Food Movement in Tuscany through a combination of photographs he took and essays.[21] The intro to the book was written by chef Alice Waters and the preface, by the founder of the movement, Carlo Petrini.[21]

In 2013, Gayeton directed a short film, called The Story of an Egg, which investigated the claims of "cage free," "free range" and "pasture raised" on eggs.[22][23]


Selected music videos[edit]

Other appearances in films[edit]

  • "Seagull"  – writer (2004)
  • "Forever is a Long, Long Time" – actor (2004)


  1. ^ Tabori, Lena (March 18, 2010). "It's A Book, It's A Restaurant Movement: "Slow: Life In A Tuscan Town" (PHOTOS, VIDEO)". HuffPost. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  2. ^ "Petaluma's Douglas Gayeton left a film career to return to his family's agrarian roots". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. November 27, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Lexicon of Sustainability: Q & A with Filmmaker Douglas Gayeton". KQED. May 15, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Gayeton, Douglas. (2009). Slow : life in a Tuscan town. Waters, Alice., Petrini, Carlo., Fried, Katrina. (1st ed.). New York: Welcome. ISBN 978-1-59962-072-5. OCLC 303041911.
  5. ^ Gunther, Marc (March 25, 2014). "Information artworks are using words to change the world". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  6. ^ Gayeton, Douglas (June 10, 2014). Local : the new face of food and farming in America. New York. ISBN 978-0-06-226763-4. OCLC 869802014.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ "The Lexicon of Sustainability: Episodes List". www.pbs.org. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  8. ^ "Growing Organic - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  9. ^ Steve Reiss
  10. ^ Slichter, Jacob. (2004). So you wanna be a rock & roll star : how I machine-gunned a roomful of record executives and other true tales from a drummer's life (1st ed.). New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-1470-8. OCLC 54371667.
  11. ^ Wimberley, Darryl; Samsel, Jon (1996). Interactive Writer's Handbook. Carronade. ISBN 188545211X.
  12. ^ Carless, Simon (October 23, 2007). "Q&A: Douglas Gayeton On Johnny Mnemonic's CD-ROM Wetware". Game Set Watch.
  13. ^ "Lost in Italy - Fine Living Network". PressPort. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  14. ^ "POV's Borders . Environment . Talk | PBS". archive.pov.org. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "8th Annual Webby Awards Winners Announced -- The Webby Awards". Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Au, Wagner James. (2008). The making of Second Life : notes from the new world (1st ed.). New York: Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-135320-8. OCLC 155715254.
  17. ^ Meadows, Mark Stephen. (2008). I, avatar : the culture and consequences of having a second life. Berkeley, CA: New Riders. ISBN 978-0-321-53339-5. OCLC 190873071.
  18. ^ "Gayeton photowork". Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008.
  19. ^ "The Lexicon of Sustainability • Slow Food USA". Slow Food USA. June 23, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  20. ^ Gayeton, Douglas. (2009). Slow : life in a Tuscan town. Welcome. ISBN 978-1-59962-072-5. OCLC 303041911.
  21. ^ a b "Life in the Slow Lane". Zagat.com. November 3, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "UNAFF 2013: Films: The Story of An Egg". www.unaff.org. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  23. ^ "WATCH: What 'Cage-Free' And 'Free-Range' Actually Mean". HuffPost. March 12, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2022.