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Douglas Trumbull's "Silent Running" screens in Bradford

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Lisa Brook, Widescreen Weekend Coordinator Date: 03.10.2015
We are pleased to announce a last minute addition to our festival schedule at 2pm on Saturday 17th October. This is of course included in your Festival Pass and many thanks go to Douglas Trumbull for arranging this with us at short notice. This is in replacement of Leslie Caron’s Screen Talk. "Gigi" will screen at 16:15 as mentioned in our previous update.

Dir. Douglas Trumbull USA 1972 89 min
Original Format: 35mm 1.85:1
Projection Format: DCP 1.85:1 Flat Screen
Cast: Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, John Rifkin, Jesse Vint
Film source: Universal
Saturday 17 October at 2pm

As a very special addition to
Widescreen Weekend 2015 our keynote guest Douglas Trumbull presents his directorial sci-fi masterpiece "Silent Running", offering an in-depth introduction to this much loved classic. In a future where Earth’s vegetation is extinct the last examples of plant life are cultivated in eco-domes aboard vast space craft Valley Forge. When an order comes to abandon the project botanist Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dearn) dramatically intervenes to save his beloved plants from destruction. Accompanied by the now famous (and highly influential) robot drones Lowell embarks on a lonely and perilous voyage into the unknown. A contemplative and haunting story of a man faced with an awesome decision, Silent Running has come to be regarded as a key film in the Sci-Fi genre, with deep space effects as impressive as those in "2OO1: A Space Odyssey".

Editors note: "Silent Running" was screened in 70mm in: Sweden, London and Mexico (maybe more places)
More in 70mm reading:

Widescreen Weekend, Bradford, England

Doug Trumbull Gets an OSCAR

Douglas Trumbull - A Conversation

70mm, Cinerama and Cinemiracle shown in Sweden

70mm Film Presentations in London, England 1958 - 2014

Curiosities from Mexico

Internet link:

National Media Museum
01274 203006


The beginning of "Silent Running"

Wolfram Hannemann and Douglas Trumbull in conversation, 2012, Germany

Wolfram Hannemann: Let’s talk about "Silent Running". Your first job as a Director – how did the project come about?

Douglas Trumbull: Well, it came about through some relationships I had with friends at the Studios, and agents; and there was a very interesting moment that happened at Universal where this movie called "Easy Rider" came out. "Easy Rider" surprised everybody – it was a very profitable, low-budget independent film that no-one understood. The Studios just didn’t have any idea how to do this. So they decided to experiment with five or more films – one-million-dollar independent films. I can’t remember all the other films, but there was a Kurt Vonnegut film you probably remember, then there was "The Last Picture Show", there was "Silent Running"...I can’t remember the others. But anyway, the whole objective was that the Studio would experiment with making five or more one-million-dollar movies, and not have anything to do with them – they would put up the money but they wouldn’t see the script, they wouldn’t have Final Cut, they wouldn’t do anything.

So I had this amazing experience on "Silent Running" where I got complete control, as long as I stayed within budget. So it was a really great experience; it was a very simple movie, it was a very low budget movie, it was made with a very small crew, and shot in 32 days. Shot on board this aircraft carrier, airplane hangar, with a lot of miniatures – I kind of learned how to direct during the making of that movie.

Read full Douglas Trumbull conversation
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Updated 21-01-24