Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker based in New York and London. He has produced eight feature documentaries, including the award-winning “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” about the band Wilco; “Moog,” the documentary about electronic music pioneer Robert Moog; and an experimental feature film with the band Animal Collective. Hustwit worked with punk label SST Records in the late-1980s, ran the independent book publishing house Incommunicado Press during the 1990s, was Vice President of the media website Salon.com in 2000, and started the indie DVD label Plexifilm in 2001.
In 2007 he made his directorial debut with “Helvetica,” a documentary about graphic design and typography. The film marked the beginning of a design film trilogy, with “Objectified,” about industrial design and product design following in 2009. “Urbanized,” about the design of cities, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011. The films have been broadcast on PBS, BBC1, and other television outlets, and have been screened in over 300 cities worldwide. Hustwit was nominated for a 2008 Independent Spirit Award for “Helvetica.”
“Helvetica” is a feature-length documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007 – and is the primary typeface used on ShawnSwanky.com) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. “Helvetica” has been shown at over 200 film festivals, museums, design conferences, and cinemas worldwide.
“Objectified” looks at the world of industrial design, and the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets.
“Urbanized” is about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers. Over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth, others are shrinking. The challenges of balancing housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.
Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.