Laurent Barthelemy is a designer, animator, and director. Born in France, Barthelemy first moved to the United States in his 20s; he found himself invigorated by the energy of New York City, where he completed his BFA at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I walked around all day and night, looking up. I felt so lucky to be here. I felt inspired, empowered. I felt like I could do anything,” says Barthelemy. “The reality of everyday life in New York hit pretty quickly, but the hustle and hardships were part of it. I embraced it all and loved it.”
Barthelemy worked as part of a tight-knit collective of graphic artists, designers, and animators at Psyop for more than 10 years, contributing to award-winning projects including “MTV Crow.” He continued his work in media and film directing campaigns and developing films and creative projects with Hexagone in France, Knucklehead in the United Kingdom, Minted Content in the United States, and Mt. MELVIL, which produced Finding Satoshi.
The Vilcek Foundation is delighted to celebrate Barthelemy’s work at the 2022 Hawai’i International Film Festival, where we will present his documentary Finding Satoshi as part of the New American Perspectives program. Comprising film screenings, filmmaker discussions and panels, New American Perspectives centers the work of immigrant and foreign-born filmmakers and highlights their contributions to contemporary film and cinema.
Finding Satoshi tells the compelling story of the longest global hide-and-seek puzzle game ever created. In 2005, a British company developed an alternate reality game (ARG) called Perplex City. Players had to solve 256 puzzles to win. The game ended officially in 2007. However, one puzzle remained unsolved: a picture, a name, and “Find me!” written in Japanese. A group, led by Laura Hall, continued the search for more than a decade.
Play is an important part of what makes us human: It’s how we first learn and connect with one another both as children and adults. As Finding Satoshi unfolds, Barthelemy deftly explores how vital play and games are to how we understand our world—how we share information, how stories are told, and how we connect with one another.
An optimistic future
Barthelemy seeks to tell stories that inspire a sense of hope and positivity about the future. “At a time when there are deep concerns about the power of social media to do harm, Finding Satoshi reminds viewers of the connectivity and community that the internet has fostered for people around the world,” he says.
“The sense of optimism for the future in ’80s sci-fi films, I realize now, has been quite foundational for me,” says Barthelemy. “I want to tell stories that make us hopeful for the future. I do feel our general anxiety for what’s coming. For good reasons. But I want to tell stories that make us excited and inspired.”
New American Perspectives
The Vilcek Foundation will present a screening of Finding Satoshi with a Q&A with Laurent Barthelemy at the Kahala Consolidated Theatre in Honolulu, Hawai’i, on Saturday, November 12, at 5:30 p.m. Barthelemy will also participate in a panel discussion with all of the 2022 New American Perspectives filmmakers at the Kahala Consolidated Theatre on Saturday, November 12, at 1 p.m. HST.