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Documentary - Completed 2021

"Laserium" is a feature length documentary that explores the history of Laserium and the pioneers behind creating moving laser images to the sounds of music.

    • Year of production
    • 2021
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Duration
    • 86 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Bjorn SCHALLER
    • Producer(s)
    • Shawna BACA
    • Synopsis
    • Award winning feature length documentary explores the history of laser light shows and the pioneers behind creating moving laser images to the sounds of music. We follow the evolution of laser entertainment: Ivan Dryer and the rise and fall of Laserium over 50 years, the first laser show that started in Los Angeles and conquered cities all over the world. 20 million people saw a Laserium show, 40 million still want to see one, over 100 million people are looking at laser entertainment every day today.

      In the early 70's filmmaker and amateur astronomer Ivan Dryer saw a laser art experiment at USC by Dr. Elsa Garmire. He then had a vision to create a laser show performed live to music. They hosted their first live "cosmic laser concert" in 1973 inside the planetarium at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California and the rest is history. It was a show and technology like no one had ever seen before.

      We visit Dr. Elsa Garmire, the first lady of lasers, and she shows us what she showed Ivan back in 1970s - that's what started it all. The artistic venture launched a new form of entertainment and a 70's trend they coined as Laserium. They created a show for Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and countless others for the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rush, U2 and more - these shows played at the Griffith Observatory for 28 years, which is the longest running theatrical attraction in the history of Los Angeles. They toured with some of the biggest artists in the music industry such as Alice Cooper, Tangerine Dream, and Rush. In more than four decades, they created laser effects for studio movies, television shows, commercials, live events and choreographed shows for planetariums around the world. More than 20 million people have experienced a Laserium show.

      We meet the people running the "live" shows, the "Laserist". They are live artists performing on a unique piece of equipment, a "light-synthesizer", developed by Ivan and his team. We get to visit the lab and see how it works behind the scenes.

      Ultimately we get to experience the "very last" Laserium show, when the last original location in LA closes. Now Laserium lives on - in every laser show produced, from EDC to all over the world.

      ILDA (International Laser Display Association) honored producer/director Bjorn Schaller with a rare "ILDA Special Achievement Award" in November 2020.

      From the citation: " 'Laserium - The Gods of Light' was screened for a closed, private audience of ILDA members. Many who had lived through the events were misty-eyed at seeing their passion finally captured on film. It is an artistic and technical achievement, that covers the evolution of a unique art form by following the pioneering company whose name is synonymous with laser light shows."