The Eyes of Bierstadt

A short documentary which encapsulates the life of the 19th century American landscape artist, Albert Bierstadt, a man with a passion for nature, the outdoors, and wildlife. He would bring it all to life in his majestic paintings. The film is silent with subtitles featuring the music of Johannes Brahms, a contemporary of Bierstadt.

  • R. Christian Anderson
    When the World Came to San Francisco, Tea and Destiny, Defcon 2012
  • R. Christian Anderson
    When the World Came to San Francisco, Tea and Destiny, Defcon 2012
  • Grover James Taylor
    When the World Came to San Francisco, Tea and Destiny, The Ghosts of San Francisco
  • R. Christian Anderson
    When the World Came to San Francisco, Tea and Destiny, The Ghosts of San Francisco
  • D. R. Pedraza
    Production Consultant
    Shay, A Chance to Say Goodbye, The Last Rose
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Art, Silent, artists, nature, environment, fine art, classical music
  • Runtime:
    8 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 24, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Geo Film Festival

    November 9, 2017
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • R. Christian Anderson
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - R. Christian Anderson

At the age of 9, his mother married Raymond D. Bowman, a jazz and classical music impresario and noted music critic who taught and encouraged Christian to write. His step-father later owned an art gallery in Beverly Hills where he was inspired by the artists showing there, including Innocenzo Daraio, Mae Babitz, Leonora Cetone Starr, and the late Edgar Payne. At age 12 he met legendary dance pioneer Ruth St. Denis, who encouraged his love of art and shared her life and career with him.

In 1969 Christian volunteered to serve in the United States Air Force where he was trained as an illustrator and designer. He created orientations and briefings with the 62nd Military Airlift Wing (MAC), where he was also a member of the Honor Guard. He later worked on military training films with the Aerospace Audiovisual Service (MAC), and worked with one of the first units to produce films on video tape, rather than film stock. He received an Honorable Discharge for his service.

By 1973 he moved to San Francisco where he freelanced as a graphic designer, creating numerous posters, brochures, print ads and collateral materials over the next couple of decades.

He spent two years in Springfield, Ohio where he was active in live theater. During the 1980 season at the Springfield Civic Theater, he performed in two plays, Agatha Christie's "Mousetrap" in the part of "Christopher Wren" and played the lead role of "Charles Condomine" in Noel Coward's comedy "Blythe Spirit". Both plays required him to speak in an English accent.

He lived in New York City in during the spring of 1984 and worked for an noted entertainment manager. It was during that time he was fortunate to meet several people he admired in film. Among them Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Treat Williams, Martin Scorsese, Shelley Winters, Anthony Franciosa, Joe Pesci, and Martin Balsam, respectively. This experience further inspired his passion for film.

During the 1990s he returned to college to obtain a degree in Multimedia and was then employed by two major advertising agencies in the San Diego area. He also gave tours at the San Francisco Opera House, worked as a classical music manager in a music store, and spent a season working with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in the Operations Department. He began freelancing as a writer and had several magazine articles on music and film published during this time.

By the 2000s, he turned to ghost-writing screenplays before finally directing his first feature-length film "Defcon 2012" in 2008. He is also a composer and song lyricist and co-wrote the song "The Ghosts of San Francisco," for the film "When the World Came to San Francisco", the music video of which won the "Mixed Genre Jazz Film Award" at the New York Jazz Film Festival" in November, 2016.

He is married and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. He continues to write, compose, and direct films. He is a member of ASCAP.

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Director Statement

I've long been inspired by great artists. Bierstadt has been among my favorite painters since first viewing a landscape at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco over 40 years ago. Through he is largely overlooked today, to his contemporaries, his skill, imagination, and purpose were truly visionary. He depicted the natural environment and not only respected nature, wildlife, and the soul of weather, he set into motion using his skill and technique. It is my hope that those who view my short film will take a fresh look at this remarkable man and be inspired to learn more about him and his majestic body of work. In editing this piece, I purposely steered clear of gimmicks, editing tricks or enhancements. I believe the focus in a documentary, even a small one, should be on the subject. I think it's clear that Bierstadt's work is "cinematic" enough. The music I chose was another man who was born in Germany and who was a contemporary of Bierstadt, Johannes Brahms.