Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Difficult to categorize, R. Buckminster Fuller was an extraordinary man with a vision. Growing up during a time when anything seemed possible, given the great inventions that were taking place around the turn of the century, Bucky had a few ideas of his own. He was extremely concerned about the population explosion and felt his revolutionary ideas about housing and transportation could help solve society’s growing problems. He made sketches, built models, and tried to convince anyone who would listen that his Dymaxion house was an inexpensive, easy-to-assemble, and ecologically sound solution. Shunned by fellow architects, perhaps for being too revolutionary, he switched his focus to transportation, namely an omnidirectional car. The auto looked like no other; it had only three wheels, held eleven passengers, and got great gas mileage. The car made quite a splash at the 1938 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Was this man ahead of his time or too unconventional to be taken seriously? Generation after generation was exposed to Fuller’s ideas as he continued to share his views while touring the lecture circuit for many decades. Indeed his efforts still have an impact on many designers and thinkers of today. Award-winning directors Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon have crafted a wonderfully engaging biopic. Archival footage of Fuller’s lectures and numerous interviews are seamlessly intercut with commentary from friends and colleagues, topped off by Spalding Gray reading from Fuller’s writings. Whether you classify Fuller as a creative genius or a misguided eccentric, it is indisputable that he was a man who left his mark.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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