#TBT From the Archive: Joel O. Shapiro's The Visionary**(Tesla)

Joel O. Shapiro’s THE VISIONARY**(TESLA) portrays an ambitious and haunted Nikola Tesla, the famed Serbian-American inventor who was Edison’s contemporary. His groundbreaking invention of the alternating current has shaped our modern world.

The film is set in 1917, the year Tesla received the Edison Medal. THE VISIONARY**(TESLA) delves into Tesla’s obsession with building a tower, the Wardenclyffe Tower, which was part of his aspiration to bring free energy to people around the world. The film combines live-action with animated drawings and slips between black and white and color. Caitlin Fitzgerald of the Showtime drama MASTERS OF SEX plays Tesla’s lover.

Shapiro won a 2004 Sloan Production Grant from Columbia University to make the film. The Sloan Foundation is currently funding the development of a documentary on Nikola Tesla by director David Grubin which will premiere on WGBH’s THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.