Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world’s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Shulman, who passed away in 2009, captured the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California’s modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.
VISUAL ACOUSTICS won the Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Documentary at Palm Springs International Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary at Austin Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Lone Star International Film Festival, and Outstanding Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking at Newport Beach Film Festival. The film screened with much acclaim at Los Angeles Film Festival (world premiere), Kimbell Art Museum, Festival International Du Film Sur L’Art, Harvard University, and Apple (Cupertino). VISUAL ACOUSTICS was distributed by Arthouse Films in the U.S. and ran in theaters across the country from October 2009 – March 2010. The film currently screens on Sundance Channel and is available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
ABOUT JULIUS SHULMAN (1910 – 2009)
Photographer of architecture, naturalist, educator, and commentator on urban form. One of the leading architectural photographers of the 20th century, Shulman developed close association with the modernist architects, principally those active in Southern California such as Gregory Ain, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, and R.M. Schindler. Shulman’s images played a major role in crafting the image of the Los Angeles and “Southern California lifestyle” to the rest of the nation and world during the 1950s and 1960s. A prolific author, consultant, lecturer, exhibitor, and editor of his own vast archive, Shulman remained active up until his passing away in July of 2009.
REMEMBERING JULIUS SHULMAN
I consider Julius Shulman my mentor and friend. Few people have had such a profound impact on my life. Two things were apparent to me upon my initial meeting with him in the spring of 1999. First, the photography created by the man is nothing short of astounding. Second, Julius himself is as equally distinctive as his work.
The true defining characteristic of a Shulman photograph is that vibrant energy that transcends the two-dimensional space. When viewing one of Julius’ “constructed views,” I am reminded of the potential for greatness inherent within each individual. I am then usually driven to a state of bewilderment knowing that within the Shulman archive are 8000+ projects dating back to 1927 when Julius started photographing with a Brownie Box Camera.
The photography however is only half the story; Julius himself is the other. Distilled to its barest essence it is this: Julius Shulman is a humanist. His genuine love for people, culture, and the arts preserves my 98 year old friend as an eternal youth.
The above compelled me to create a documentary film on Julius Shulman and Modernism. It is an honor and privilege to work on a project possessing such depth and significance. It is my hope to have created a cinematic experience that impacts and inspires as many people as it can possibly reach.
Eric Bricker, Los Angeles, September 2007
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
It is a combination of coincidence and a lifetime of preparation that led Eric Bricker to Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman.
Active in music and acting in St. Louis, Missouri combined with a grandmother who took him to countless films, Eric knew that Los Angeles was an inevitable move. However, before moving to Los Angeles, he went on to graduate from Indiana University where he received his B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Theatre. After graduation, Eric spent the next few years acting with the California Repertory Company and the Utah Shakespearean Festival.
Upon settling in Los Angeles, Eric turned his focus toward film and television production where he worked with such notable talent as Jerry Seinfeld and Alec Baldwin. In addition, he explored his affinity for playing percussion with the likes of Lula & Afro-Brasil and Perry Farrell at Coachella Festival. It was during this period that Eric decided producing and directing his own film projects was the most conducive route for his creative expression.
As his passion for filmmaking grew so too did his art consultation firm, Artistic Designs Unlimited. Developing an understanding of clients’ spatial needs and translating those specifics into original works of art enabled Eric to develop a greater visual vocabulary and sense of design.
It was in 1999 when in need of vintage photos of San Francisco that Eric was led to Julius Shulman. At the outset, an enduring friendship between the two began. Recognizing the extraordinary amount of humanity and profundity Shulman and his work possessed, Eric put into motion his inspiration for Visual Acoustics.
Visual Acoustics garnered multiple Outstanding Achievement and Best Documentary awards in its festival run including awards from the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Lonestar Film Festival, and Newport Beach Film Festival. In addition, the film screened with much acclaim at the Los Angeles Film Festival (world premiere), Festival International Du Film Sur L’Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum, Apple World Headquarters (Cupertino), along with various festivals and museums around the globe . Visual Acoustics was distributed by Arthouse Films in the U.S. and ran in theaters from October 2009 – March 2010.
Based in Austin, Texas, Eric currently has several other projects in development, including both documentary and narrative feature films.