Sony Pictures Classics announced today they have acquired worldwide rights to the documentary Tim's Vermeer, directed by Teller of Penn & Teller fame. Produced by Teller's stage partner Penn Jillette and Farley Ziegler, the film follows Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, as he attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all of art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer ("Girl with a Pearl Earring") manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? Jenison's epic research project ultimately succeeds as he uses 17th century technology - lenses and mirrors - to develop a technique that might have been used by Vermeer, supporting a theory as extraordinary as what he discovers.
Spanning a decade, Jenison's adventure takes him to Delft, Holland, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces; on a pilgrimage to the North coast of Yorkshire to meet artist David Hockney; and eventually even to Buckingham Palace, to see the Queen's Vermeer.
Teller has gathered a notable crew including Composer Conrad Pope (My Week with Marilyn) and Post-Production Sound Supervisor Behind the Candelabra) as well as award-winning Editor Patrick Sheffield and Director of Photography Shane F. Kelly (A Scanner Darkly).
Here's what producer Penn Jillette had to say in a statement.
"My buddy, Tim Jenison, told me over supper he was going to try to paint a Vermeer. Tim is a genius, but I'm a skeptic. I wanted to see him do it. Teller has been the Penn & Teller de facto director since our beginnings so we made a movie of Tim's whole monomaniacal trip. Having Sony Pictures Classics as the first words on the screen means it's more than just a couple of Vegas magicians and an eccentric inventor in his garage - now, it's a real film that will change the history of art."
A representative also released a statement on behalf of Sony Pictures Classics.
"This is an important and brilliant film. We have been admirers of Penn & Teller for decades. We look forward to presenting Tim's Vermeer to audiences around the world."
Tim's Vermeer will be released in 2014.