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TUAW On Scene: from the premiere of Welcome to Macintosh


Here's to the crazy ones. TUAW reader Tony Walla got to attend the Wisconsin premiere of the new Mac-doc film that's sure to be a crowd pleaser (depending on the crowd), and he sent us this report.

On April 6th, the documentary "Welcome to Macintosh" premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, WI to a packed theater of about 275 festival goers. Josh Rizzo and Rob Baca, who co-directed and produced the film, were in attendance. Before the film began, attendees could be seen checking email on their MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and iPhones. Even a Newton or two was in the crowd. One audience member even used the iSight on his MacBook Pro to snap a picture of the audience. To the attendees, this was not just a documentary, this was an Apple event.

Rizzo and Baca's goal is to tell the story of the Macintosh experience. "In order to do the Mac experience, you've got to put it in context of the Mac history," notes Baca. Rizzo added, "You can't appreciate where it is today without knowing some of the past and the fact that there is a sprit, a personality. There is a flame that lives in Apple, that lives through some of the products that is dispersed though the creativity of the people that make them."

This perspective of Apple's history comes from interviews with Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original members of the Macintosh team, Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Evangelist, and Wayne Wenzlaff, who as a buyer for Team Electronics in the late 70s can be credited with helping give the Apple II its introduction to the retail sector.

The Mac community also played a large part in the filmmaking process. "One of the things that we found with Mac people is that spirit of generosity that we cover in the film with Steve Wozniak and how he was willing to share his information for the greater good. That notion still sprawls out through the Mac community to this day and we saw that first hand with everyone we interviewed." says Baca.

The film also touches on the cult like status of the Apple community through interviews with Leander Kahney, author of Cult of Mac, and collector Wayne Bibbens. Baca toured Bibbens's business where you'll find stacks of Apple history throughout the building, including stacks of Apple II computers in the attic. It is a scene that needs to be seen to be believed.

One of the personalities who steals the show is former Apple Senior Software Architect, Jim Reekes. He puts things into perspective by comparing the behind the scenes workings of Apple to a sausage factory. You don't really want to know how this stuff is made. Baca and Rizzo found Reekes while researching the Macintosh startup sound. This led to the story behind the sound (Sosumi) which was unfortunately cut from the film due to time constraints, but it can be found by joining the Welcome to Macintosh Network.

Pictured: Rob Baca, TW, Josh Rizzo

This film was assembled using Apple hardware and software (with the exception of Adobe Photoshop). Editing was done using Final Cut, music was composed in GarageBand, and iChat was used in the film to interview John Moltz of "If Apple made a camera, we would've shot on it," says Rizzo.

At this time, Baca and Rizzo are working on a distribution deal for "Welcome to Macintosh." A DVD or Blu-Ray release is a possibility which would allow the duo to release the hours of extras that didn't make it into the film. "Guy had suggestions of people we should talk to. Andy had suggestions," says Rizzo. "We talked to some of them but they are not in the film for specific reasons. It was interesting to me and Rob, and I'm sure it would be interesting to other people, but we also wanted to make something our fiancés and wives could tolerate." Thanks guys, my wife appreciated that.

Thanks, Tony!

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