"Silicon Prairie" documentary to premier at CES (Video)

"Silicon Prairie" documentary to premier at CES (Video)

A short documentary shot in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas just three months ago debuts today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. "Silicon Prairie: America's New Internet Economy," a 22-minute film that follows reddit's Internet 2012 Bus Tour last October, will show at 9:30 a.m. local time at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"This fall a bus full of journalists and internet enthusiasts traveled from Denver, Colo. to Danville, Ky. and everywhere in between … to find out how the heartland has become a Silicon Prairie, representing America's new internet economy," the film's trailer (above) teases.

The Midwest trek, as we reported in August, was born out of SOPA and PIPA outcry and was bookended by events at the presidential and vice presidential debates.

Startups DwollaHudl, SkyVu Entertainment (the makers of Battle Bears) and AgLocal are featured in the film, along with Kansas City grassroots initiatives Home for Hackers and Startup Village.

Behind the documentary is NimbleBot, a Boston area interactive video company that teamed up with the Internet Tour's organizers, reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and executive director Erik Martin, for the film. In recent months, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the organization that produces CES, also got involved by becoming the film's largest financial contributor, NimbleBot CEO Nadeem Mazen said Monday.

CEA's support continues today as it makes "Silicon Prairie" its first film premier in its event's 46-year history, Mazen (right) said. "They're giving us a great platform to tell the story."

As for the name of film, Mazen said they chose "Silicon Prairie" because "it was so meme-worthy" – they couldn't get it out of their heads.

"It's such an easily shared idea," Mazen said. "The idea that Silicon Valley isn't the only place where high tech entrepreneurship and job creation are happening. And once you visit the Midwest and you just hear those two words, 'Silicon Prairie,' you realize that it's totally true. That those two words signify so many things that are immediately apparent."

The name, of course, is something we're unabashedly fans of, as well, and we told them so in correspondence in recent weeks. Our own Geoff Wood also helped the crew plan their trip through the region and served as an interview subject. Its thanks to his help that you'll see our name on the film's website.

Following today's premier, Mazen said NimbleBot plans to make the film available for free online – viewers will be encouraged to "pay what they want" – in February. Local events, including some in the Silicon Prairie region, may also take place.

"We're not planning to make money," Mazen said, "we're just planning to spread the word essentially."

For more on the Internet 2012 Bus Tour, see our past coverage.

Here are two previews of the film put out by NimbleBot in recent months:

SkyVu Entertainment

Homes for Hackers and Kansas City Startup Village


Credits: Trailer from NimbleBot on YouTube. Mazen photo bethemediaevent.wordpress.com. Previews courtesy of NimbleBot.

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