Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Expo: Magic of the White City Release Recap

On September 13, 2005, Expo: Magic of the White City narrated by Gene Wilder was released on DVD. It has since been broadcast on PBS HD nationwide as well as standard definition television and received dozens of great reviews from all over the country.

"A dazzling trip back to another time."
- Bill Diehl, ABC Radio Network

Expo: Magic of the White City narrated by Gene Wilder

We had a release "weekend" in Chicago where the fair took place, only we were 112 years late! Expo: Magic of the White City is a fun documentary film that I produced and directed about the World's Fair of 1893, which is also known as the Columbian Exposition. It was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus discovering America (one year late of course) and debuted many of America's greatest inventions like the Ferris Wheel and Cracker Jack and set the stage for AC Power to be our power of choice. Gene Wilder narrates the film and gives an entertaining tour of the fair, of life in 1893 and the dramatic events that happened at the World's Columbian Exposition.

Chicago as seen from the Navy Pier

Chicago as seen from the Navy Pier. It was an exciting few days in Chicago as I had several radio interviews and television interviews. We toured the city, met lots of people and ate tons of good food. I've been to Chicago before but this was the most time I've spent there and everyone was very nice to us and showed us a great time.

Expo Screening as Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

On release day we showed Expo: Magic of the White City to an audience at the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park in Chicago. This was especially fitting because the museum is housed in the only remaining building from the World's Fair, originally called the Palace of Fine Arts. Constructed in 1892 & 1893 the Palace of Fine Arts (aka Gallery of Fine Arts) was unique in that it was the only building constructed for the fair that was built to be permanent in order to get insurance for all of the irreplaceable artwork held inside. Most of the buildings at the fair were quickly constructed and covered with "staff" to make them look like marble. The Palace of Fine Arts was made of brick, iron and real building materials.

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

The one thing that I remember clearly from our screening day is that it was unseasonably hot for September. I was wearing a suit (which I never, ever, ever do) and was unbearably overheated. My natural habitat is 40 degrees and raining, good Pittsburgh weather.

However the screening was successful in that 200+ people seemed to enjoy it, stayed through the entire film and did not throw any tomatoes or rotten fruit at me afterwards during a Q&A session. It was a great time. Thank you again to The Museum of Science and Industry and everyone who helped to set up the event, manage the event, hand out popcorn and help run the projecting equipment. This was the rare chance for viewers to see what the film looks like in its native HDCAM 1080i High Definition format on a huge screen. I think it looks amazing and detailed but I'm somewhat biased. You can clearly make out peoples' hats, shoes, bags and eyes in high definition.

Mark giving a radio interview, not playing Mr. Bungle

There's a picture of me doing a radio interview in Chicago on WGN 720. I really enjoy doing radio interviews because it reminds me of the radio show that I used to host in college on WVBU 90.5 FM at Bucknell University. I frequently angered a lot of people for doing things like shredding J-Crew catalogs on air, playing Mr. Bungle or giving fake news stories... which I did not do on WGN 720.

A special thanks to Rick Kogan who bought me a beer at the Billy Goat. That was a good beer too... in fact I think I had 2 of them. Billy Dark i believe. If you ever come Pittsburgh I'll buy you a Penn Weisen.

You can read some good reviews of Expo here to see what other people are saying:

Review of Expo at HERE
Review of Expo at HERE
Review of Expo at HERE
Review of Expo at HERE

And of course a big thank you to all the customers who gave us high marks. Its always good to see people enjoying a film that we spent 2-3 years working on. Expo: Magic of the White City at

EXPO: Magic of the White City was filmed in Chicago, Illinois and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was 100% produced, filmed & edited in America.

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