he production of Walter Burley Griffin: In His Own Right took place over two years beginning in 1996. My Executive Producer, Jack Kelly came across an article reviewing the just released book Walter Burley Griffin In America. The photographs of the Griffin houses by Mati Maldre and the story of Griffin's career by Paul Kruty inspired the idea for the production. Jack and I were both intrigued that Griffin's life was a missing chapter in American history.
s I began my research it was clear this was more than a story about architecture. It is the story of a woman who put her husbands career in front of her own talents. It is the story of making great choices in life when there is no guarantee of the outcome. And it is also the story of standing by your principles regardless of the repercussions.
n shooting Griffin's buildings, Tim Hartin's skills as a videographer and lighting designer were put to the test, giving life to inanimate objects. He succeeded by providing the viewer the most intriguing perspective of each of Griffin's designs.To provide warmth to concrete and stone, we put a light in every window and waited to capture their glow at twilight. The Melson house in Mason City, Iowa proved to be the biggest challenge since it was greatly obscured by Griffin's beloved nature. Tim was able to capture the house, by returning to shoot it in the winter and by building 100 feet of scaffold to provide a tree top view.
y biggest challenge was condensing the lives of two remarkable people into 57 minutes. Reading Marion's autobiography at the New-York Historical Society was crucial, since it was the closest I had to actually speaking to her. With every page you felt her passion for her husband and belief in his work. I'm also greatly indebted to the Griffin scholars and family members who shed light on Walter and Marion. Paul Kruty from the University of Illinois provided patient fact checking and even assistance on shoots. His belief in the Griffin's contributions was contagious and an inspiration during the production.
any thanks must go out to the Griffin homeowners who allowed us to transform their living rooms into production studios. Without their knowledge and assistance this program would not have been possible. It is because of their interest in preserving the past, beginning with their own home, that we are still able to appreciate Griffin's legacy.
roduction funding was provided by a major grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the Central Educational Network, and by Archer Daniel Midland ADM.