What We Do

Design OnscreenThe Initiative for Architecture and Design on Film is a non-profit foundation dedicated to producing, promoting and preserving high-quality films on architecture and design.

Founded in 2008 by Denver documentary enthusiasts Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III, Design Onscreen has seven completed films to its credit, with one more currently in production.

Design Onscreen:

  • distributes its programming widely, via multiple media formats and public screenings, to national and international audiences;
  • promotes a greater general understanding and appreciation of post-World War II architecture & design;
  • informs and elevates the ongoing “conversation” among professional architects and designers;
  • works in a collaborative manner with museums, schools, universities, professional design groups, film societies and other educational organizations; and
  • supports only the highest quality programming utilizing the most creative minds in film production.

Design Onscreen distributes its programming as widely as possible, via multiple media formats and channels, to national and international audiences.  Since 2008, Design Onscreen has co-presented Architecture & Design Film Series in both Palm Springs and Denver, attracting thousands of attendees.  Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler had its European premiere at the Architecture Film Festival in Rotterdam, Holland in November 2009 and Design Onscreen’s latest film, Contemporary Days: The Designs of Lucienne and Robin Day has toured festivals worldwide including London, New York, Chicago, Moscow, Glasgow, Cape Town, Newport Beach and Montreal.   At all of these events, we continue to find new and enthusiastic supporters.  In December 2010, Design Onscreen expanded its audience further by co-sponsoring and curating the first-ever Moscow Architecture Film Festival (in partnership with the State Museum of Architecture.

Design Onscreen’s activities inform and elevate the ongoing “conversation” among professional architects, designers and the design community.  In the Spring of 2009, Design Onscreen co-sponsored What Was Good Design? MoMA’s Message 1944-56, a fascinating exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  Design Onscreen’s support enabled the conservation and display of two recently discovered historical 35 millimeter film clips of MoMA’s Good Design exhibitions from the early 1950’s.

Design Onscreen works in a collaborative manner with museums, schools, universities, professional design groups, film societies and other educational organizations. The Design Onscreen film Hella Jongerius: Contemporary Archetypes was launched in conjunction with European Design: Shaping the New Century, a major design exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The thirty-minute film explores the creative process of the Dutch designer and her relationship with manufacturers such as Vitra, Maharam and Royal Tichelaar.  In May 2009, the film screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Art and Design in New York and went on to tour festivals and museums worldwide.  Both Jongerius and Director Amie Knox joined the New York screenings for conversations with curators and audience members.  Design Onscreen is grateful to the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, for their generous grant in support of this film.

Design Onscreen supports only the highest quality programming utilizing the most creative minds in film production.   For Contemporary Days, our 2010 film on the influential UK designers Robin and Lucienne Day, Design Onscreen commissioned noted Scottish director Murray Grigor and Cinematographer Hamid Shams (the team responsible for 2008’s festival favorite, Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner).  We continue to build relationships with outstanding film makers, such as Sam Douglas, director of Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio, as we produce more films and present more festivals around the world.