Generation on the Wind

Film Classic: During the 1978 'energy crisis', a group of artists, mechanics & environmental activists set out to build the largest electrical generating windmill in the world.



David Vassar





Running Time

58 mins 

 SFGFF Film Program: 

Green Film Fest Screening - April 23, 2017

In 1978, the price of oil soared and domestic reserves plummeted resulting in long lines at gas stations. President Carter declared an 'energy crisis'. When David Vassar learned about a group of backyard mechanics, artists and environmentalists who were building a windmill to generate electricity on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts, he sensed a story. It was an engineering story as well as a story of the American Spirit, but most of all it was a story about generating power from a renewable resource. In 1979, the Cutty Hunk windmill was the largest wind turbine ever constructed for the generation of electricity. It wasn’t built by General Electric or funded by the Department of Energy, it was built by hand with private money from small investors. Although retired from use, the windmill provided years of service and more importantly, ‘proof of concept’ for what is now a ubiquitous source of renewable energy.

Considered lost for many years, the film was newly restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016. See this beautiful film restoration on the big screen for the first time in decades, plus a sneak peek of clips from David Vassar’s upcoming new desert film, Exquisite Wasteland.

- Academy Award Nominee, Best Feature Documentary 1979
- Best Documentary, Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival 1979
- Best Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival 1979
- New digital restoration by Josef Lindner, AMPAS 2016



DISCUSSION WITH: David Vassar, filmmaker; Sally Kaplan, producer, Exquisite Wasteland; Jason Kaminsky, kWh Analytics & SFGFF Board