Tesla documentary premiering Friday for inventor’s 159th birthday

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07/07/2015 8:00 PM |

Tower to the People

Celebrate Nikola Tesla’s 159th birthday this Friday by watching the Long Island premiere of “Tower to the People,” a new documentary about a successful grassroots campaign to save Wardenclyffe, the famed inventor’s last laboratory located in Shoreham.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a local nonprofit group that purchased the long-neglected property in May 2013 and plans to turn it into a museum, is hosting the screening at 7 p.m. in the Shoreham-Wading River High School auditorium.

Tesla — a rival of Thomas Edison and a pioneer in the use of alternating current  — conducted experiments at the Wardenclyffe laboratory, which was built in 1901 by architect Stanford White.

Joseph Sikorski made the documentary detailing the latest fundraising efforts and restoration work to save the property, including the online campaign “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum” by Matthew Inman, creator of “The Oatmeal” comic, that raised over $1.3 million.

Mr. Sikorski is also working on a film called “Fragments from Olympus,” which follows an F.B.I. investigation into Tesla’s particle beam research, including a supposed super weapon called the “death ray,” according to IMBd.

As for the new documentary, Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe president Jane Alcorn said the first screening took place at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan where Tesla lived.

On his birthday, Tesla would invite the press into the ballroom to present his latest work, she said. He died Jan. 7, 1943 at age 86 in the hotel.

Ms. Alcorn said Tesla’s great nephew, William Terbo, who is in his 80s, also attended the screening and enjoyed the film.

“It’s great to know Tesla’s family is pleased,” she said.

A welcome center at Wardenclyffe is projected to be completed within the next six months as the restoration project continues, she added.

Friday will be the fourth screening of the documentary, which has also been shown at the Toronto Serbian Film Festival and in Belgrade.

Mr. Sikorski and Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe officers will be present at Friday’s screening in Shoreham to answer questions.

Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. Discounts for students, seniors, members and early bird purchases are available until Tuesday, July 7. At the door, all tickets are $12. Seating is limited.

Pre-orders “Tower to the People” on DVD and Blu-Ray are available at indiegogo.com until July 15.

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