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Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Art-World Mystery Doc 'Tim's Vermeer,' Directed by Teller of Penn & Teller Fame

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 29, 2013 at 1:04PM

Sony Pictures Classics has snapped up worldwide rights to documentary "Tim's Vermeer," directed by Teller of illusionist duo Penn & Teller. The film centers on Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor who sets out to solve one of the art world's great mysteries: How did 17th-century Dutch painter Jan Vermeer paint photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?
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Jan Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"
Jan Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"

Sony Pictures Classics has snapped up worldwide rights to documentary "Tim's Vermeer," directed by Teller of illusionist duo Penn & Teller. The film centers on Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor who sets out to solve one of the art world's great mysteries: How did 17th-century Dutch painter Jan Vermeer paint photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?

Jenison's research project ultimately brings him to Delft, Holland, where he uses 17th-century technology, made up of lenses and mirrors, to recreate a technique that may have been used by Vermeer. What results is a theory as "extraordinary as what he discovers," per SPC's press release.

The film is produced by Teller's stage partner Penn Jillette and Farley Ziegler. 

SPC is eyeing a 2014 stateside release date. Check out Dave Itzkoff's NY Times' Arts Beat piece on the documentary here.

This article is related to: News, Sony Pictures Classics, Documentary, Documentaries


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.