Baker Does Beethoven


John Hazard | United States | 2018 | 51:00

Roger Baker is a graphic artist and hang glider pilot who has chosen a seemingly impossible task. He will use lawn mowers to carve an image of an iconic figure into a field outside Ellenville, NY.

And to what purpose? Baker’s purpose is to celebrate Beethoven.

Like Werner Herzog’s challenge making “Fitzcarraldo” that was documented by filmmaker Les Blank in “Burden of Dreams,” Roger Baker has chosen a task most of the rest of us could not imagine. He will use lawnmowers to carve an image of Beethoven into a 25-acre field, a total of a million square feet. Then he will invite world-class musicians to come and play Beethoven’s music.

Roger refers to his lawnmowers as his “brushes,” and speaks with some eloquence as he employs metaphors from painting and photography to describe his technique for achieving the contours and shading of a black and white photograph by cutting the grass to different lengths.

Our film will reveal the mystery of Baker’s technique for carving iconic figures including the Statue of Liberty, Einstein, Elvis, and Jimi Hendrix, images that have been seen by satellite photos, as it celebrates and vibrates to the rhythms, melodies, and cadences of Ludwig Van Beethoven.

And there is the great promise of the music that will accompany this project. Among the performers, Roger has recruited are Tori Drake, who is a harpist for the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Ballet, and Akiko Sasaki, who had her debut at Carnegie Hall a few years ago.

Roger Baker is quite a character, a figure that audiences will enjoy immensely. Our film promises to bring into these times a life energy that will inspire those who see and hear it. With its high call to the process of creativity and to creation, “Baker Does Beethoven” can be a source for a re-discovery of classical music that is youthful and more broadly cultural. We are delighted to offer this film to an international audience.

John Hazard