On April 19th, 2013 The Fine Arts Library at The University of Texas at Austin hosted a screening of “The Typewriter in the 21st Century.” In conjunction with the screening, the FAL launched an exhibit of classic typewriters and ephemera in celebration of the film.
The film “The Typewriter in the 21st Century” — by filmmakers Christopher Lockett and Gary Nicholson — features 30+ interviews with authors, collectors, journalists, professors, bloggers, students, artists, inventors and repairmen (and women) who meet for “Type-In” gatherings to both celebrate and use their decidedly low-tech typewriters in a plugged-in world.
The film features authors Robert Caro and David McCullough, combined winners of 4 Pulitzer Prizes, 3 National Book Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and both avid typewriter users. They provide fundamental commentary about process and the value of slowing down, writing actual drafts and revising in a world of instant, draft-less editing.
The film was inspired by a May 2010 article in Wired magazine called “Meet The Last Generation of Typewriter Repairman.” Director Lockett and producer Nicholson discussed the importance of the typewriter in 20th century literature, their conclusion being that every great novel of the 20th century was written on one, and if typewriters are in their final days, they deserved to be celebrated one last time.
Funded largely through a Kickstarter campaign, the film eventually featured not only typewriter people — the aforementioned technicians, collectors, bloggers, users and fans — but famous typewriters as well. The film features machines once owned by Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Sylvia Plath, George Bernard Shaw, John Lennon, Joe DiMaggio, Helen Keller, the Unabomber, John Updike, Ray Bradbury and Ernie Pyle.
Photos and design by Mark Doroba