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'Tim's Vermeer' documentary has Janesville ties

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Ann Fiore
March 13, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Penn and Teller documentary “Tim's Vermeer,” which opens Friday, March 14, at Madison's Sundance Cinemas, has a surprisingly local connection.

Teresa Nguyen of Janesville is a cousin of Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor who takes on one of art's greatest mysteries: How did 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer paint so photo-realistically 150 years before photography was invented?

“Tim's Vermeer” chronicles Jenison's eight-year attempt to replicate Vermeer's process.

In the film, Jenison claims he's not a painter. Still, he tries to re-create the setting of one of Vermeer's most well-known paintings, “The Music Lesson,” right down to the most intricate details.

Nguyen disagrees about her cousin's talent. Sitting on her office desk are sketches Jenison made years ago of her father and stepmother, Walt and Ardeth Laake. The couple were attending a Christmas party at Tim's parents' house.

“He's quite talented,” Nguyen said of Jenison in an email.

"It's such a wonderful likeness, and I have since lost my parents, so it's precious."

Nguyen described Jenison as a “humble guy” and “very brilliant”—“a nerdy, creative kind of person.”

“Tim's Vermeer” is scheduled to run at least through Thursday, March 20, at Sundance Cinemas in Madison.

For a list of times, visit sundancecinemas.com and click on the “Madison” tab. To see a trailer of the film, check out sonyclassics.com/timsvermeer.



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