Filmmaker Jay Cheel tells the stories of two men and their obsession with time travel—deriving from pure curiosity in one case, tragedy in the other.
Inspired by the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, Rob Niosi set out to exactly replicate the time travelling prop from the popular movie. Originally a three-month project, it eventually turned into a decade-long work of art that cost Niosi more than just his savings; it took patience, dediction, and self-learned artisanal skills.
Physicist Ronald Mallet made it his life goal to travel back in time to save the beloved father he lost in childhood. Pursuing Einstein’s theories, his studies culminated with a breakthrough discovery, but further research was halted because the funding needed for his ambitious project was unrealistic.
Cheel takes viewers on a philosophical, reflective, scientific journey through a topic that’s more familiar to us as speculative fiction. But How to Build a Time Machine is very much about the real, and manages to explore time travel not only through lighthearted fantasy, but through tangible facts, made all the more intriguing by the film’s crisp and clean visuals.