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New Werner Herzog film opening at Sundance features Pittsburgh technology

| Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, 6:00 p.m.

A part of Pittsburgh will be featured at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which started this week and runs through the end of the month.

Robots and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are included in award-winning filmmaker Werner Herzog's “Lo & Behold: Reveries of the Connected World.” The 98-minute documentary premieres Saturday. It explores society's dependence on the Internet and future applications of technology in people's lives.

“We're thrilled that the renowned Mr. Herzog recognized the tremendous talent at CMU and the amazing contributions that the robotics staff and students are making for our world,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “Now that Mr. Herzog has experienced filmmaking in our region, we are hopeful he will return with many more projects in the future.”

Keezer's office did not help with the project.

Herzog, 73, was not available for an interview, a publicist said.

He and a small crew spent two days in Pittsburgh last summer recording interviews with CMU researchers and shooting footage of some of the technology the school has developed.

No one at CMU, however, has seen the final product, a spokesman said.

“We are very interested in seeing what comes of this,” said Byron Spice, a spokesman for CMU's School of Computer Science.

A short trailer for the film offers some insight into CMU's inclusion: its CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) robot at the National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville; a robot soccer team; the Scientific Imaging and Brain Research Center on the school's Oakland campus; and interviews with psychology professor Marcel Just and former computer science post-doctoral researcher Joydeep Biswas, now a professor at the University of Massachusetts.

No release date has been set for “Lo & Behold.”

Among Herzog's more than 50 films and documentaries are works such as “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Fitzcarraldo” and “Grizzly Man.”

Jason Cato is a reporter with the Tribune-Review.

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