A documentary about the Bay Lights is premiering later this month in the NYC area. Created by Burning Man Director – and Disorient founder – Leo Villareal, the $8 million Bay Lights Project is the world’s largest ever electronic art installation.
IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT reveals the drama and the daring of artist Leo Villareal and a small team of visionaries who battle seemingly impossible challenges to turn a dream of creating the world’s largest LED light sculpture into a glimmering reality.
On March 5th, 2013, San Francisco’s skyline was transformed by an amazing sight: 25,000 LED lights that, for perhaps the first time save the 1989 earthquake, caused people to consider the Bay Bridge instead of her iconic sister.
How did this happen? Who was behind the eight-million-dollar installation? How in the world did they pull it off?
The story behind the making of THE BAY LIGHTS—a project whose very “impossibility made it possible”—answers these questions, revealing the drama and the daring of artist Leo Villareal and a small team of visionaries who battle seemingly impossible challenges to turn a dream of creating the world’s largest LED light sculpture into a glimmering realit
The Bay Lights is an iconic contemporary art sculpture by internationally renowned artist, Leo Villareal. It features 25,000 LED lights strung along the 1.8 mile Western Span of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. In 2011, I stumbled into the unbelievable concept of turning an entire region’s traffic workhorse into a stunning, abstract light sculpture that changes an entire city’s skyline every night from dusk ‘til dawn.
I first met Ben Davis, the man with this not-so-simple idea, at a charity event. He was there trying to convince people on the possibility of The Bay Lights. The idea was brand new and no one had yet thought to document such an historic achievement. I basically nudged my way in, begged them to let me bring my camera, and never looked back.
In the beginning, when the installation was still an idea, I couldn’t conceive of how they would do it. That immediately made me interested. On one side, you have paperwork, permits, and all sorts of government agencies with endless red tape. On the other, you have a massive engineering structure meant to provide a very practical service to the region, which is now being viewed as an abstract canvas for contemporary art. And on top of all that, there is the very real need for millions of dollars to appear out of thin air. All kinds of questions immediately entered my mind and suddenly the project just spoke to me; I absolutely had to witness it first-hand.
I started this project because I thought it would be amazing to chronicle the process of turning a crazy idea into a stunningly beautiful reality. Along the way, I grew to appreciate and love the often-overlooked bridge itself. For the past three years I have come to know the Bay Bridge intimately. I have climbed up, crawled under, and hung off the side of this significant structure. I’ve also been busted for breaking a few traffic laws along the way.
IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT explores what we as human beings are capable of when obstacles seem insurmountable. It’s about the human spirit of collaboration and finding a way to make the impossible possible.
CAST & CREW BIOS
DIRECTOR/ WRITER/PRODUCER/CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/EDITOR
– Jeremy Ambers
Jeremy Ambers is a video editor by trade and a filmmaker by passion. He graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2000 and spent much of his early adult life working for a small production company in midtown Manhattan. In 2009, Jeremy married the love of his life and moved across the country to San Francisco. While trying to build a steady flow of freelance editing work, his wife encouraged him to pursue his lifelong goal of becoming a filmmaker.
In 2011, he bought a Panasonic HVX-200A and a questionable wireless lavelier mic and caught the very early musings of lighting the Bay Bridge by complete coincidence. Jeremy spent three years obsessing over the bridge, Leo Villareal and the iconic sculpture now known as The Bay Lights, capturing its beauty and inspiration. The result of his endless dedication can be seen in his first feature length documentary film: IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT.
ARTIST / SUBJECT OF IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT – Leo Villareal
Leo Villareal received a BA in sculpture from Yale University in 1990, and a graduate degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program. Recent exhibitions include, a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States.
He has completed many site specific works including, Radiant Pathways, Rice University in Houston, Texas; Mulitverse, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Diagonal Grid, Borusan Center for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey; Stars, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, and the recently installed Hive, for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan. Villareal is a focal point of the James Corner Field Operations design team that will renew Chicago’s Navy Pier, and commissioned installations at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and The Durst Organization in New York City, will be in visible public spaces. Villareal’s work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
SUBJECT OF IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT – Ben Davis
Ben Davis is the visionary behind THE BAY LIGHTS and the creator of Pi In The Sky. He is founder and CEO of Illuminate the Arts, the non-profit that aims to alter the arc of human history through the creation of transformative works of public art. He is currently championing major art installations in San Francisco and beyond.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ‘IMPOSSIBLE LIGHT’
Official Website: www.impossiblelightfilm.com
Twitter: @baylightsfilm #findaway
Theatrical Screening Events:
- AMC Clifton Commons, Clifton, NJ (October 27, 2014)
- AMC Loews Shore 8, Huntington, NY (October 29, 2014)
SF Urban Film Festival, San Francisco, CA (November 7, 2014)
- Opening Night Feature-Length Film
- San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA (November 13, 2014)
Napa Valley Film Festival, St. Helena, CA (November 14, 2014)
* For a full list of upcoming screenings, visit www.impossiblelightfilm.com/events