Press for "As the Earth Turns"
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Film Wonk Podcast Episode # 150 SIFF Roundup ' Alice', ' Pigeon Kings', ' Fight Fam', ' As The Earth Turns'
Reviews for "As the Earth Turns"
July 19, 2020
Not to be confused with the 1933 novel and 1934 film of the same name, As The Earth Turns (1938) is an independent sci-fi thriller directed by Richard Lyford. Thanks to 8th Sense Productions, As The Earth Turns has been restored and released for the first time since its creation over 80 years ago. As The Earth Turns also comes with a completely new soundtrack thanks to composer Ed Hartman. Though it is certainly not a perfect film, As The Earth Turns (1938) is a fascinating look at the early days of independent filmmaking and a surprisingly intuitive antiwar film.
By Bobbie LePire
June 17, 2020
As The Earth Turns was written, shot, and edited by 20-year-old Richard Lyford… back in 1938. Lyford is probably best known for his work at Disney, such as being the assistant director on Dumbo and his Academy Award-winning documentaries. But, he was also an experimental filmmaker, churning out several avant-garde films that were never released. Many of them were believed to be lost until they were recently discovered in the long-time Seattle resident’s old home.
This is where this 46-minute silent heady, sci-fi-thriller enters the scene. As The Earth Turns follows journalist Julie Weston (Barbara Berger), who is chomping at the bit to be put on a “real story.” The editor humors her and sends her to an army base to pick up any news transmissions from ships that update to that location. He knows that only one or two ships do that, so it should prove a dull job.
But, as Julie awaits news at the base, a mysterious message is received. The message is about how the mysterious sender, known only as Pax (Richard Lyford), has watched humans destroy the Earth and each other and now demands they make peace, or else. To prove that he, she, or it has the power to make good on those threats, Pax increases the day’s length by five minutes. Now, Julie and the armed forces need to discover the identity of the maniac holding the world hostage.
Lyford died in 1985, so knowing precisely how he wanted the final form of As The Earth Turns to look. While the released version is a bit long, there is plenty to enjoy. First, there are one or two too many long scenes of the characters’ searching for Pax’s hidden location. It throws off the momentum the first 15-minutes carefully builds and that the final ten pays off well.
By Megan Williams
June 15, 2020
‘As The Earth Turns’ is a silent film that was originally released in 1938, and was written and directed by Richard.H.Lyford. After receiving warning messages from someone called ‘PAX’, the warnings of apocalyptic disasters are ignored. However, as they get worse, a reporter and soldier go to investigate, and find out who is sending the messages.
This was the last film of this genre that Lyford made. Considered an ‘indie’ filmmaker, Lyford would end up working at Disney. Before this, he created 50 plays, and 9 award winning films, all of which were never released for public viewing.
This film is an example of achieving what you can with very little, and the result is inspirational. The film industry had moved on from the silent era almost 10 years before this film’s release, with the release of ‘The Jazz Singer’ in 1921. Therefore, the decision to make this silent was presumably due to costs; Lyford used his own equipment, and the disaster sequences are displayed by using models, e.g.: trains and planes, as well as creating establishing shots via pencil drawings. The latter, especially, makes the film stand out and gives viewers a unique perspective on a shot that they are used to seeing.
The film draws in similar themes to ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’, a film that would come out around 13 years later, as well as the character of PAX drawing a similar vein to that of Andrew Ryan, from the horror game ‘Bioshock’; if this film influenced those two properties in any way, that would come as no surprise to me. Lyford plays PAX, the German scientist who was appalled at what the Germans were doing during the First World War and exacts revenge on humanity because of this. He brings a glimpse into the Silent era furthermore; while the other lead actors act through the film as realistic as possible, aside from a few comedic scenes, Lyford plays PAX like the theatre actors before him, and gives the character an overdramatic feel, which suits the character.
‘As The Earth Turns’ was digitally restored by GT Recordings in 2019 and the restoration is impressive. Care has been taken to make sure this can be viewed in the best quality as possible without damaging any of the film reel. Furthermore, a musical score has been added, composed by Ed Hartman (‘KillJoys’ and ‘Lucifer’), that elevates the film. Despite being composed recently, the score blends in perfectly with the visuals, and sounds like it belongs in the same era.
‘As The Earth Turns’ is overall enjoyable. The digital restoration is an impressive piece of work and the new score adds to the visuals. ‘As The Earth Turns’ is also inspirational to any film-makers wanting to create their films, but are unsure of what steps to take.
By Steve Joyce
May 31, 2020
I consider this an incredible effort both by Mr. Richard Lyford who shows lots of talent here and by Mr. Ed Hartman who provides excellent music and was key in the film's restoration / distribution.
Lyford directs the film and also acts in it. Part of his style reminds me very much of that of Abel Gance insofar as the quick cutting effect to make a visual montage. His acting role is a precursor to Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still. The story is a poignant one.
As the Earth Turns shows the potential of a budding professional rather the attempts of a raw amateur. Parts of the movie already display the energy of a future brilliant (and award winning) film-maker. Some footage may ~ upon first impression ~ seem amateurish (for lack of a better word) until you realize the creativity that was utilized with a very tight budget. That cuts to the very a-r-t of film-making, no?
This is not an Ed Wood film! Think rather The Ghost of Slumber Mountain before Willis O'Brien's work on The Lost World or King Kong. ... or maybe George Lucas when he made the student film THX 1138 4EB well before Star Wars (or even the professional film similarly named THX 1138)
A rare treat insofar it's a silent film well after the silent film era, As the Earth Turns comes very highly recommended here.
By Rene A. Henry
May 9, 2020
Rene A. Henry is the author of ten books including Communicating In A Crisis, a book used as the text by some universities. He also writes on customer service and many of his articles are posted on his website www.renehenry.com He is a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He has also created and produced award-winning films and videos.
I just watched a movie that was 80 years in the making. “As the Earth Turns” was thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend this film. I especially recommend it for devotees of silent movies, sci-fi fans, movie historians, and those who loved Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie” in 1976 and “The Artist” that won five Oscars in 2012 including best picture.
Thanks to Kim Lyford Bishop this once silent film has become a reality with outstanding music. The story about her family and how she brought this film to screen is as interesting as the movie itself. Her great uncle, Richard H. Lyford, was an award-winning movie maker in Seattle in the 1930s. When she acquired the rights to all of his film archives, she found this movie, in particular, that was thought to be lost. She then had the old 16mm film digitized but then took no other action.
A couple of years later she decided to take drum lessons and went to Edmund Hartman who taught had taught her son. When she learned how Hartman had added music to a number of old films and contemporary videos, the two collaborated to add music and finished her great uncle’s movie. Hartman not only wrote and scored but performed the music which is outstanding. Bishop and Hartman also are Seattle natives.
“As the Earth Turns” is a story is about a slightly mad scientist who was obsessed with seeking world peace and to end a war in Europe. Named Pax, the scientist built a machine to cause severe climate change including flooding the Sahara Desert and creating earthquakes in every nation around the globe. He sent advance warnings to the president of the U.S. to take leadership action and warn the other world leaders that there were would be severe climate change until there was global peace. When Pax’s wireless messages were dismissed by the White House as a hoax he responded with a snowstorm in July in Washington, DC. The viewer will have to see the movie to see how it continues and ends.
Bishop said her uncle was well-read and adapted his movie theme from a 1915 book “The Man Who Rocked the World” by Arthur Train and Robert Williams Wood. The book warned of nuclear war and the U.S. involvement in the first World War. The authors even predicted the second World War.
As a filmmaker, Lyford did everything: producing, filming, editing and directing, and even playing the character of Pax in the movie. He also designed and built a futuristic airplane and created all of the title sequences. He did all of his work in his basement and had a complete workshop where he built the models and miniature sets and also created small explosions. In the 1930’s he had no computer to help with special effects so he created many using double and triple exposures. His accomplishments as an independent film make producing nine films in that era was remarkable.
This film was Lyford’s last effort. Since there was no film industry in Seattle he moved to Southern California and went to work for Disney. Among the many films, he worked on were “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” and “Dumbo.” The story about Lyford and his family is as interesting as his films.
The rights for the movie and all of Lyford’s archives from the 1930s to the 1950s were transferred to Bishop’s company 8th Sense Productions, LLC, by his son Christopher. They met at the memorial service for her father who was killed in a vintage car race. Christopher, who lived in Kansas, was aware of her interest in his father’s work. Since then Christopher Lyford and Ed Hartman have been collaborating on telling Richard’s story and Bishop has transferred her production company and all rights to the films to Hartman.
“As the Earth Turns” is now in distribution. Be sure to put it on a “must see” list when it comes to your city. It has been featured in 121 film festivals and received 135 awards and nominations including 34 for best score for the music.
As the Earth Turns
by Mike Haberfelner
"It's war in Europe, but Julie Weston (Barbara Berger) is a lowly secretary at a New York newspaper with dreams of one day becoming a first-class journalist. But when he begs her boss to assign her a story, he pretty much sends her off to a radio operator, just to get rid of her. But she's there when the operator receives a message from someone calling himself PAX (Richard Lyford), claiming to be the dictator of the world and demanding world peace. Of course nobody takes him seriously, nobody but Julie, who's laughed off though by her boss when she suggests to print the PAX story. However, PAX soon proves to everyone how powerful he is, by things like halting the earth's rotation by five minutes, by causing tidal waves and flooding the Sahara. The world leaders begin to take him seriously now, but still cannot come to a peace agreement even in the eye of destruction.
Rather by accident, Julie and her boyfriend/colleague Arthur (Alan Hoelting) stumble upon Pax's airplane making an emergency landing, and when Julie proves to be too nosy, PAX takes her captive and abducts her to his secret headquarters. However, she manages to drop the location of these headquarters to Arthur, who with befriended scientist professor Banks (Edwin C. Frost) hijacks a plane in order to free Julie. At PAX's headquarters, Arthur and the professor run into PAX, who turns out to be a bona fide pacifist and brilliant scientist - who has been so taken in by his own powers and possibilities though that his self destruction seems to be only a matter of time … " MORE
By Michael Rechtshaffen
"Had Steven Spielberg been a 16-millimeter camera-toting teen in the 1930s, his home movies might have looked like “As the Earth Turns,” a black-and-white, silent 45-minute science-fiction film about a peace-crazed scientist named Pax who attempts to persuade the world to put down its weapons by inducing extreme climate change. Made by Richard H. Lyford, a 20-year-old Seattle-based budding playwright and filmmaker who would go on to work as a Disney animator and Oscar-winning documentary director, the digitally restored 1938 original has been outfitted with a period-appropriate score by contemporary composer Ed Hartman.
Clearly influenced by the serials of his era, particularly “Flash Gordon,” Lyford also drew upon the 1915 sci-fi novel “The Man Who Rocked the Earth” to relate his pre-World War II story about an intrepid, Lois Lane-type newspaper reporter (Barbara Berger) who eventually tracks down the elusive, misguided Pax (Lyford, looking eerily like Matthew Modine’s “Stranger Things” villain). Ultimately more a curio than a bona fide buried treasure, the forward-thinking production, with its animated opening credits and resourceful use of models, makeup and double exposures, nevertheless serves as a valuable reminder that imagination and creativity needn’t ever be limited by the going technology. Lyford, incidentally, died in 1985, the same year as fellow innovator Orson Welles, and a year after Spielberg turned in the latest chapter of his own affectionate tribute to serials, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” ‘As the Earth Turns’ Not rated Running time: 45 minutes Playing: Starts Oct. 18, 2019 Laemmle Glendale”
By Nathaniel Bell
"As the Earth Turns was a no-budget science-fiction epic shot in 1937 by a 20-year-old experimental filmmaker named Richard H. Lyford. The young avant-gardist went on to work for Walt Disney in the 1940s, and his early films were rediscovered and cherished by only a few dedicated cinephiles. Recently, composer Ed Hartman teamed up with the Lyford estate to restore the 16mm film, adding a new soundtrack in the process. This new and improved As the Earth Turns will enjoy a one-week run at the Laemmle Glendale. The film has played at over 100 film festivals worldwide and garnered many awards along the way. Fans of the obscure will want to check out this 65-minute program, which represents an act of love and faith from one artist to another."
by Calvin Kemph
"Richard Lyford was one of our area’s first independent filmmakers. For nearly eighty years, his silent picture, As the Earth Turns, has gone unseen. It’s a prescient and foreboding warning echoing out of the heightened pre-war nervousness of 1938. World War II was coming. The film foretells of America’s over-involvement overseas, predicting the coming conflict with great effect and specificity. It also applies to the modern day (not the fascism, but yes that too), warning of imminent catastrophic global warming. The great appeal of something like As the Earth Turns is how long we have had to wait. Now we get the chance for an old message to find its intended audience when it needs to be heard. It spent so many years in its author’s basement, among a collection of interesting and unproduced independent work. It came right before the first boom of independence, with further accessibility provided to moviemakers after the war. As such, it wears the caustic time of its production on its sleeve. Early methods of shooting models for As the Earth Turns, 1938. Local composer Ed Hartman has given the silent film his voice. He figures, in an interview with King5, that the music he’s selected is “very close to the music of the era that he’d have been working with, so [he] feels good about the choices they’ve made,” and it rings especially true in context.
The new music brings the old film home. Ed Hartman has designed a soundtrack the informs and often comments on the film’s central action, the tapping of a desk given percussive elements, or escalating sounds conveying the tone of the conceit. Director Richard Lyford proves ahead of his time. He was readily experimenting with triple exposures – creating cross-fading images of war on multiple fronts, befit with news clippings that deliver context. He does fantastic work for miniatures. This is born out in his following career. After his independent experiments, Lyford was brought on board Disney to work on projects like Fantasia (1940), often situating miniatures and figures to aide the animators in their sketching. He would go on to win an Academy Award for his documentary The Titan Story of Michelangelo (1950), which connected the internal passions of the subject with his work on art. As the Earth Turns. Dir. Richard Lynford. In the film, Lyford plays Pax, an environmentalist intent on stopping the big planet threatening war at all costs. He’s received by a news organization and Julie (Barbara Berger) – a reporter ready for the story that’ll elevate her career. It plays out between the newsroom and several Seattle specific locations. Many shots take place around the Boeing field, providing a great opportunity for aviation shots. There are also segments filmed at an operational Gas Works Park – then still a gasification plant. The story is they were chased out of the plant, and that is what gets captured in the film. Some great silent acting is played out in the newsroom, while the Seattle specific locations provide a great hook for discovering this film at the festival.
The film has spent eighty years buried at the Seattle home of Richard Lyford. It is a great delight to uncover it and provide some context for our readers. The film makes its premiere at SIFF on June 1. Outside people close to the authors, likely nobody around for the festival, have seen this work. Getting new scores for lost silent films is always an enticing prospect. Covering a local and lost silent film? Well, this is exactly the kind of piece we needed to create a film site for. ”
by Kendahl Cruver
(A Classic Movie Blog)
"One of the most exciting discoveries in the archival offerings of Seattle International Film Festival 2019 is a silent spec-fi film that has been out of circulation for eighty years. Made in Seattle by director, producer and star Richard Lyford, As the Earth Turns (1938) is an innovative, exhilarating independent production. This Friday, a restoration of the film with a new score will screen at SIFF Uptown with restoration producer Kim Lyford Bishop and restoration producer/score composer Ed Hartman scheduled to attend.As the Earth Turns opens in a conflicted world, where Europe is at war. Young, ambitious American reporter Julie Weston (Barbara Berger) begs her editor for better opportunities, and gets it when he sends her to a Naval radio station to look for stories in the flood of messages constantly streaming into the base. She gets a big one: the mysteriously named Pax sends a wire demanding peace, or else he while increase the length of the day five minutes.Pax isn’t taken seriously at first, but when he does successfully change time, and then follows up on his promises of earthquakes and weather changes (shades of climate change); government officials begin to take him seriously. However, it is the clever Julie and her associates who ultimately uncover the mystery of Pax and his ironically destructive approach to seeking peace.
Lyford was only twenty-years-old when he made As the Earth Turns, and by that time he’d already written 50 plays and made nine unreleased films. He clearly had a remarkable knack for filmmaking; while the film is clearly low-budget, the production is far from cheap. Lyford combines sleek, innovative effects work with a lively story, able cast, and intertitles that have a pleasing touch of wit. His fascinating model work (including a gorgeous “high-tech” airplane) anticipates the great sci-fi flicks of the 1950s, while his camera work is off kilter and inventive in an Avant garde way.In a uniformly appealing cast, Berger is the stand-out. Unlike the glamour girl reporters in Hollywood productions of the time, she is refreshingly natural and straightforward. It’s a shame this was her only film role.Lyford is also magnificent in a slightly campy, but ultimately touching performance as Pax. With a raised eyebrow and shaking fist, he is enormously entertaining, but never excessively cartoonish. He clearly had the ability to master any aspect of filmmaking and embraced the indie spirit of doing whatever it took to get the job done.
Hartman’s new score is a fine complement to this new release. It is period appropriate, but with a modern feel, which is appropriate for the forward-thinking tone of the film.Seattleites will enjoy the extensive location shooting amidst Pacific Northwest greenery. There are also scenes set on the streets of Seattle, on Boeing Field, and at Gasworks Park when it was still a functioning gas plant.Lyford would eventually move to Hollywood, where he would direct documentary shorts for Disney. He is perhaps most famous for his television documentary Island of Allah (1956) and the short The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950), a film which won the Academy Award for documentary feature.This is a festival must-see for fans of classic film. It’s a marvelous discovery.”
by Stefan Milne
“As the Earth Turns In 1938, a 20-year-old Seattleite named Richard Lyford made an oddball sci-fi film called As the Earth Turns, in which a young reporter who wants a meaty story ends up finding one in the form of an anti-war activist named PAX. The movie has been unavailable since it was made, but now Northwest Film Forum is showing a newly restored print. If you’re a local film geek or historian, As the Earth Turns is essential viewing. In a city whose film identity is largely wrapped up in small DIY passion projects, the movie is an early little indie—black and white, silent, with goofy little models standing in for trains and planes—made only the year before big budget technicolor blowouts like Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz."
by Zosha Millman
“For SIFF 2019, people are doing it for themselves Whether in politics, comedy, or films that blur the two IMAGE 1 OF 22 As the Earth Turns What SIFF says: Available for the first time in over 80 years, this 1938 Seattle-shot silent film tells of an apocalyptic future war that could devastate the planet. This presentation is accompanied by a new score from local composer Ed Hartman ”
by Taylor Hernandez
(WBTW, Channel 13, Myrtle Beach, SC )
"This evening at the Grand 14 Theatre in the Market Common, the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival begins The films in the festival are independent and are up for awards after they are screened. News13 spoke to one film producer in town from Seattle about why festivals like this are unique. “You just don’t see these types of films,” Ed Hartman said. “A lot of the films never make it out of the festivals too. I’ve seen incredible films at festivals that I’ve never seen again. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t in theaters, they were very good films.” Hartman co-produced and composed “As the Earth Turns”, a syfy film originally created in the 1930s by Richard H. Lyford. Lyford went on to work for Disney and create an Academy Award-winning documentary. “The film chose us, this was a new film discovered by my co-producer,” Hartman said. “She was put in charge of the film. She found me through other circumstances. She asked if I would score it, and I said sure I’d love to.”
by - James Spangler
(My Edmonds News)
"A soundtrack is a critical component of any film. Try watching your favorite movie muted with close captioning, and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve always marveled at the magicians who weave music into each scene, seemingly knowing just how to raise the level of intensity, frighten us, or yank at our heartstrings. Last fall — after years of providing music to films, television and video presentations — Edmonds musician, composer and educator Ed Hartman took on his most ambitious project to date: scoring the music to a previously unreleased feature silent picture originally shot in Seattle in 1938. “Scoring to picture,” as it’s known, requires the composer to write music appropriate to each shot and — in the case of a silent film — the music is the entire soundtrack. No Murphy artist, no dialogue — the film is entirely dependent on the score. The film is As The Earth Turns.
It’s a science fiction adventure written, directed and filmed by a then-20-year-old prodigy by the name of Richard H. Lyford. Lyford went on to have a long and illustrious career in the film industry, working on Disney classics like Dumbo, Fantasia and Bambi. His film The Titian: Story of Michelangelo won the best documentary feature Oscar in 1950. One of his more impressive achievements was the impact of his documentary that raised awareness about the tsetse fly/sleeping sickness. Thousands of lives likely were saved through efforts sparked by this documentary. At 20, Lyford had already written over 50 plays and produced nine movies. As The Earth Turns was his crowning achievement before moving to Hollywood. It’s an impressive accomplishment. As many as 100 people helped Lyford put it together. It’s as fascinating for its views of Seattle in the 1930s — including Seattle neighborhoods, Boeing Field and the still-operating Gas Works (where, rumor has it, the film crew was chased out while shooting) — as for its depiction of the fashions, habits, idiom and sensibilities of the times. A mad scientist “Pax,” played by Lyford, is fed up with war and sets about trying to end all hostilities on the planet. The camera work is amazingly good and the miniature models are very elaborate.
I’m guessing that the music Hartman composed to accompany each scene would have pleased Lyford. It’s very much in keeping with the style of its time. In one scene, where the president is pounding his fist dramatically on the table, a percussive musical refrain is inserted. There’s martial music for the war scenes and heart-racing music for the tense moments. It’s a remarkable accomplishment. As of this date, showings of the film locally are not available. To receive information about future showings, go to Hartman’s website and sign up for his newsletter. Composer, performer, educator and film producer Ed Hartman Hartman was introduced to Lyford’s work by one of his music students. She had cans of the 80-year-old 16 millimeter film in her basement. Miraculously, she was studying hand drum with Hartman, one of the few people around who could create a score for it. Together, they set out to produce the film. Hartman had strong interest in both music composition and film from an early age. Raised in Evanston, Illinois, he studied music privately and had a Super 8 camera that he shot film with. There were opportunities for him in music and film. He took the path of music, achieving a percussion performance degree from the University of Indiana. He moved to Puget Sound in 1979. He immediately set out putting together Opus One – a concert series that showcased local composers, culminating with concerts at the Broadway Performance Center. He’s a former board member and an active member of the Seattle Composer’s Alliance to this day.
For many years, Hartman could be found running The Drum Exchange with his wife in Fremont. A little over 10 years ago, they settled in Edmonds. He’s amassed an impressive array of credits on IMDb for compositions used in film and television, but he’s also an accomplished percussionist, marimba player and keyboardist and he continues to teach privately. In addition, he teaches classes and workshops on composition and setting music to film. Busy guy. As the awards roll in for his work on As The Earth Turns, I asked him for his impression. “Honestly, it’s a little embarrassing,” he said. So far, independent film festivals around the world have bestowed in the neighborhood of 46 accolades to the film this year, including 12 “best score” awards. I asked Hartman which were the most meaningful. “I guess it’s great to be recognized by the L.A. festivals,” he said. “We might go down to the Myrtle Beach ceremony. Most of the Northwest Festivals haven’t announced yet. We may go down to the Browns Point (Tacoma) Film Festival. “Probably the most enjoyable award I’ve received was for a short film I entered for the Tulalip Film Festival, everyone was wonderful up there,” he continued. “It was as great as anything.” Using his droid camera on a beach walk in Edmonds, he chanced upon a man making giant bubbles. The product of this encounter was the award-winning Thought Dream. (Watch it at m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=JqScyItgm6o)
Richard Lyford as Pax in As The Earth Turns As The Earth Turns is also Hartman’s first co-producer credit for a feature film. “This film is really teaching me how to be a producer,” Hartman said. At one point, they found 12 minutes of film that they were able to work back into the picture, providing more continuity to the plot line. They’ve had a lot of help along the way, including technical assistance from Clatter & Din, Seattle’s leading post-production studio. The finished product is impressive. Although, as Hartman pointed out, there’s an adage in the industry — “No film is ever done.” They may continue polishing it, and there’s even talk of developing a documentary on Lyford. I guess the irony here is that after having chosen a musical path in life, Hartman has found his way back to film as well. Why choose one when you can have both? — By James Spangler When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue. ”
Congratulations on your achievements and fantastic score.
"Continue making music that tells a story as much as the film itself. We hope to experience more of your work in the future.” Global Independent Film Awards (Winner Gold Award, Best Score)”
"The coolest sci-fi thriller screening at SIFF this weekend involves man-made climate change, futuristic technology, and a world on the brink of war — and it was filmed in Seattle in 1937. Seattle playwright and filmmaker Richard Lyfer was only 20 when he wrote, starred in and directed As the Earth Turns, and though he went on to direct an Academy Award-winning documentary in 1950, this early work was never released. Some 80 years after its creation, the silent was discovered in Lyfer’s old house. Now it’s screening at SIFF with a new soundtrack by local composer Ed Hartman. Note the special effects — remarkably sophisticated for the era — and the location shoots, including Boeing Field and (then functioning) Gas Works Park. Plus: the plucky news reporter who stumbles upon the dangerous plot? That's Barbara Berger, aunt of Crosscut’s own Knute “Mossback” Berger. Now that’s Seattle cinema!"