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George Bassler's Perpetual Motion Machine frame grabGeorge Bassler’s Perpetual Motion Machine

3.5 mins | 1080P | Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | 2014
With everyone around George coming to an untimely stop, George sets out to create the world’s first perpetual motion machine. Based on the real-life dream of homesteader George Bassler.

This is an experimental-narrative film about a crazed inventor from the 1900s who tried to build a perpetual motion machine in the middle of the prairies. It uses striking shadow puppetry for visuals and comes from the Paririe History Room, so it is based off a true story. To make the film, I researched the actual inventor and the time period, and came across uncanny resemblances to another slightly insane inventor from the previous century and half the world away, with a very similar name.

Inspired by Chrystene Ells and her Artist-in-Residence program This Big World, working with multi-disciplinary artists in the creation of live-action puppetry films featuring the stories of first person narratives from the Prairie History Room at the Regina Public Library. Through animated and found objects, Berny Hi tells the story of a dreamer who faces an uncanny nightmare in this experimental documentary. Researching this particular topic brought to light some uncanny coincidences in the history of perpetual motion machines and the inventors whom sought to harness the power of time.

Quote from Berny about the Film

Bassler’s psychosis and tragedy grabbed my attention from the millions of stories woven in the tomes that make up the Prairie History Room collection. It made it clear how desperate and uncanny life can be, and how motivated we can be in attaining a dream. The issue that there is a finite amount of time in one’s life is universal, and yet we each approach the issue uniquely. To me, Bassler’s perspective on time was fascinating, that of a dreamer and a hard-working homesteaders, haunted by the ghosts of the prairies.


VISFF 2015 Poster smallScreenings

This film premiered at the First International Puppet Underground Film Festial in 2013, and has since be re-worked based on feedback.
Selections of the films presented at IPUFF 2013 have screened at festivals across the nation through the Prairie Puppet Underground collective. The following are a few links to screenings:

Reel Rave Film Festival 2014

imagineNATIVE, Toronto, 2014 – new edit, now with narration!
Screened as a part of: The Witching Hour: Late Night Shorts Programme

Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, November 2014

mispon Film Festival, December 2014

Vancouver Island Short Film Festival, February 6th & 7th, 2015 – Film list

Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival, August 21st, 2015 – Midnight Film Screening at Club SAW

Māoriland Film Festival, March 25, 2015 – Māoriland Shorts #4: A selection of short films from around the world

Māoriland Film Festival poster - small


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Order the film through the Winnipeg Film Group

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Short Synopsis

A brilliant but obsessive inventor uses his wealth to create a perpetual motion machine that transcends time.

Medium Synopsis

Following his family’s untimely demise, prairie homesteader George Bassler bizarrely crafts a Perpetual Motion machine that uncannily echoes Johann Bessler’s 1712 invention, the Perpetuum Mobile. Based on actual events, this film explores obsession and the desire to trick time.


Former Yarmouthian’s film part of Toronto festival by Eric Bourque of the The Yarmouth County Vanguard published on October 22, 2014 [cached]