LINOTYPE: THE FILM tells the story of the amazingly complex typesetting machine invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1886. A completely mechanical device, the Linotype changed the way newspapers and books were produced, and in the process instigated the largest revolution in printing since Gutenberg. Until computerized phototypesetters were invented in the 1970s, the Linotype was the workhorse of the graphic arts industry with tens of thousands of machines in service all over the world. Every newspaper had at least one Linotype in operation. Without the Linotype, book publishing would still be in its infancy. Today, a few Linotype enthusiasts are trying very hard to rescue this forgotten machine from complete obsolescence.

Type designer Matthew Carter recalling his days working on a Linotype.

LINOTYPE: THE FILM is producer/director Doug Wilson's first film. A labor of love, Wilson raised the funds to produce this film with the help of Kickstarter, an online grassroots fund-raising web site. Two years in the making, the film finally had its world premiere at New York City’s School of Visual Arts on February 3, 2012. Since then, director Doug Wilson has been presenting the film to appreciative audiences in Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and other cities in between the coasts. Graphic Design at Parkland College is pleased to be able to host the Illinois premiere of this ground-breaking new film.

Jesse Marsolais speaking about the Linotype at Firefly Press in Boston, Massachusetts.

Like the recent documentaries Helvetica and Typeface, LINOTYPE: THE FILM is part of the retro revival movement in graphic design. As the digital age matures and devices start to replace print, artists and designers are looking back in time for inspiration and nostalgia. With the popularity of wood type and letterpress printing gaining momentum, it’s not surprising that there is considerable interest in bringing the Linotype back into the spotlight and preserving its well-deserved legacy.