Gary Hustwit making doc about designer Dieter Rams

The Helvetica and Objectified filmmaker has turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund the first feature-length doc on German industrial designer Dieter Rams (pictured).
June 22, 2016

Gary Hustwit is turning his lens on German industrial designer Dieter Rams (pictured).

The Helvetica documentarian is making the first feature-length doc about the reclusive 84-year-old, who is best known for his consumer product designs for the company Braun and furniture firm Vitsoe.

Hustwit has been granted exclusive access to Rams, whom he first interviewed in 2008 for the documentary Objectified. He has already spent two weeks filming Rams and is crowdfunding US$200,000 on Kickstarter.

The money will be used to cover another year of shooting on the doc – entitled Rams - as well as the preservation of Rams’ personal design archive, which includes drawings, photographs and other material spanning his 50-plus-year career.

“The documentary will include in-depth conversations with Dieter, and detail the process behind some of his most iconic designs. We want to get past the legend of Dieter, and get into his philosophy, process, inspirations, and even his regrets,” Hustwit wrote on the Kickstarter page, which at press time had 638 backers.

“One of the most interesting parts of Dieter’s story is that he now looks back on his career with some regret.”

Hustwit has so far shot the doc at the designer’s home and studio outside Frankfurt and at Vitsoe in London. He plans to conduct more interviews and will announce the list of subjects featured in the film later in the year.

“At 84, Dieter is as brilliant, playful and focused as he’s ever been,” Hustwit added. “He’s energized by the idea of passing down his knowledge to future generations of designers through this film.”

An advocate of sustainable and functional design, Rams has designed hundreds of household objects and authored “The Ten Principles of Good Design.”

Hustwit has made several design-focused documentaries and recently launched the virtual reality content studio Scenic, which will fund and produce original VR doc shorts and series. Read an interview with Hustwit about the VR studio here.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.