Edison may have stolen the Kinetoscope, but it is his rival Nikola Tesla who is stealing the spotlight in a new film about one of history's most ambitious experiments for humanity. Called Tower to the People, the documentary tells the little-known story of Tesla's dream to provide free wireless energy to the world using a strange, massive tower built on the east end of Long Island, NY.
Yes, before the car, there was another Tesla who innovated the world, first by inventing the induction motor and polyphase method of electricity that made alternating current practical for the masses. Afterwards, the scientist pioneered inventions like radio, remote control, fluorescent bulbs and a myriad of other ideas, the credit of which went to others. And although Nikola Tesla, the master of lightning, is among a pantheon of Geek Gods, most people are still in the dark about the genius's accomplishments, despite rarely appearing in pop culture, such as David Bowie's portrayal as Tesla in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige.
Tower to the People sheds light on one of his most mysterious and important works at a laboratory called Wardenclyffe. The poignant and moving tragedy of Tesla's struggle to realize his dream of borderless wireless power evokes strong emotions as the story unfolds through a series of vignettes, historic letters and rare photographs from the archives of the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. Embattled by financier J.P. Morgan, and rivals Edison and Marconi, the plug was literally pulled on Tesla's idealistic Wardenclyffe project. According to some accounts, Morgan had remarked about the difficulty in metering wireless energy as being the main motivation for sabotaging Tesla's tower of power. Back then, in 1917, corporate titans could crush big ideas silently and avoid public outcry.
But that was before the internet.
Fast forward to 2012, when the disintegrating Wardenclyffe site would be saved by Tesla enthusiasts worldwide through an indiegogo campaign started by the Oatmeal's Matthew Inman, allowing the tragic episode from history to transform into an inspirational tribute to the nearly-forgotten hero. Tower to the People wonderfully captures both the atrocity and redemption, making certain that Tesla's dream, imagination and innovative spirit will never be forgotten. The eye-opening work, a result of over 15 years of research, is a recent addition to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences prestigious Core Collection.
Take a look at the trailer for Tower to the People below!
MOVIEPILOT EXCLUSIVE: Behind-the-Scenes Video!
To further the goal of raising awareness of the great inventor, Tesla activist/ indie filmmaker Joseph Sikorski is following up his award-winning documentary with a narrative feature called Fragments from Olympus. One can almost sense the unease emanating from Edison's grave. You can get a sneak peek below of the Wardenclyffe tower prop they've built for the upcoming film. As the video teases, in a small way Tesla's tower will rise again. At last!