28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Beginning a Skyscraper

Beginning a Skyscraper

director: Robert K. Bonine
original title: Beginning a Skyscraper
country: United States
year: 1902
running time: 40 sec.


A film clip shot for the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company captures the foundation excavation for Macy’s department store in Herald Square, New York, in which we see dozens of diggers wielding pickaxes, smoke, dust, and horse-drawn carriages. Although the film’s title suggests it is a future skyscraper, the still-popular Macy’s has only twelve floors.


Robert K. Bonine (1861–1923) originally began working as a photographer, focusing primarily on stereoscopic photographs of urban landscapes. Later he got a job at Edison and also worked as a cameraman for Biograph. He spent the last 15 years of his life in Hawaii, where he was originally sent by Edison, continuing to film local events and manage a cinema.

more about film

director: Robert K. Bonine
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas