General Magic’s Epic Failure and Ultimate Success Caught on Film


By Eva Barrows

Smartphone tech was dreamt up way back in the 1990s before cell phones and the world-wide-web were everyday necessities. The brains behind Apple’s Mac and future companies like eBay, Google and Twitter came together to reinvent the telephone at General Magic. Magicians – engineers and designers were captured on film almost 30 years ago building transformational products that proved to be way ahead of the times. The highly secretive company ultimately failed in their quest to market the perfect phone but laid the groundwork for the future of technology.

General Magic alums, Sarah Kerruish and Michael Stern, decided to make a documentary exploring what went right and what went wrong at the company that meant so much to them. “General Magic” the documentary debuted at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival to an enthusiastic reception and will be featured at the upcoming Napa Valley Film Festival in November 2018.

Midpen Media Center board and staff were invited to a private screening of the movie. Michael Stern, long time Midpen Media Center board member, executive produced the movie and was a lawyer for General Magic the company. Stern felt that the story of General Magic needed to be told. It was a great company that didn’t find success in its time, but the people who worked there went on to create the modern technological world.

Watch the movie trailer and find dates for future screenings on the General Magic website.

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