Transcendent Man Film To Be Released in February, Digitally in March (trailer)

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Transcendant Man Release

Almost two years after it premiered, Transcendent Man is finally making its way to widespread distribution, though maybe not in the way we expected. Barry Ptolemy’s look at the life and beliefs of Ray Kurzweil is a documentary film that explores concepts of digital reincarnation, personal hubris, and most importantly, the Technological Singularity. Ptolemaic Productions recently announced that the film will be making a tour through major markets starting February 3rd, with a return to New York City. From there the movie will proceed to San Jose, LA, DC, Boston, London and Toronto. Kurzweil will be on hand at each destination, giving a talk about his belief in the Law of Accelerating Returns. While a seven city tour isn’t shabby, it’s too bad the movie won’t receive widespread theatrical release. For most of us the first chance we’ll have to see the film is its digital distribution on iTunes and OnDemand starting March 1st, or its eventual DVD release on March 24th. It’s unclear if Transcendent Man is the vehicle that will bring the concept of the Singularity to the mainstream, but it’s still a great film that’s well worth watching. Check out the trailer below.

I reviewed Transcendent Man in detail when it was first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in the spring of 2009, so I won’t do a formal review here. Suffice to say the documentary takes a fairly balanced look at Ray Kurzweil, his espoused beliefs, his life, and his detractors. The man not only has made exciting predictions about the future, he’s drawn the lion’s share of the criticism from those who dismiss continued exponential growth in technology as a childish dream. We cover his predictions, and their critiques, fairly regularly on this blog. Often I lament the role that Kurzweil has adopted (or been forced to play) as the figurehead for the Singularity, but watching Transcendent Man the first time filled me with a great sympathy for his steadfast adherence to his futurist convictions. It will be interesting to see if I feel the same after I buy the DVD and watch it a few times more. Even if you have zero interest in the Singularity, I recommend you check out Transcendent Man on its tour, or through its digital distribution. Whether or not you believe in Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, his life story makes for satisfying cinema.

For those who live in the tour destinations, here is the current listing for the dates and locations:

  • February 3, 2011 (Thursday) — New York: TIME/Life Building, 1271 Avenue of the Americas (at Sixth Avenue), New York, NY 10020
  • February 13, 2011 (Sunday) — San Jose: The Tech Museum, The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater, 201 South Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113
  • February 16 -17, 2011 (Wednesday-Thursday) — Los Angeles: Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • March 10, 2011 (Thursday) — Washington, D.C.: Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
  • March 21, 2011 (Monday) — Boston: The Coolidge Corner Theater, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446
  • April 4-5, 2011 (Monday-Tuesday) — London: London Science Museum IMAX Theater, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD, United Kingdom
  • Toronto, Canada: Dates TBA

And some posters too!

Transcendent Man poster

transcendent man poster

[image credits: Transcendent Man]

[source: Ptolemaic Productions press release, Transcendent Man Facebook page]

Discussion — 11 Responses

  • Lonecretin January 12, 2011 on 11:27 pm

    Crackpot.

  • Anonymous January 13, 2011 on 11:04 am

    Why can’t this movie just be uploaded on youtube? Is Ray Kurzweil trying to make money on it? If he thinks it is important for everyone to know about the singularity the movie should be distributed in a way so that everybody could get access to it.

    • Alexanderxerxes January 13, 2011 on 5:11 pm

      Hjalmarsen, Ray Kurzweil didn’t make the movie. Barry Ptolemy and his partners did. Ray is only the subject.

    • Gregory January 13, 2011 on 7:37 pm

      OMG, somebody is trying to make money! Quick, run and hide.

      • Hjalmarsen Gregory January 13, 2011 on 8:57 pm

        I try making money myself. Every day :-). It’s just that this sounds more like the kind of movie I’d like to watch at some documentary-channel on TV rather than on the cinemas. I can’t imagine why I would watch this in a movie theatre. …are the visual effects stunning, or is the acting fabulous??

        • Olu Hjalmarsen January 14, 2011 on 2:42 pm

          ill only watch it in the theater if its in 3D! otherwise itll have to be a download!

  • Anonymous March 10, 2011 on 8:38 pm

    It is not just that human and constructed minds will merge and that it will make the total mind power on earth so much greater. It is also that minds are connected to each other. Parallel and intertwined at the same time. What will evolve of the noosphere as it gets magnified and gels?
    I am interested in the religion that will come from this. Religion defined as that which guides us to be our highest and connects us to other with the same value. http://1u1us.com