discover the past, understand our world

2011 copy2.jpg

what we do


Mainspring Narrative Films, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit company, produces quality educational documentaries focusing on art, architecture and cultural history. The company strives to foster a greater understanding of our modern world by exhaustively researching the past, and releasing films that often include previously unknown archival imagery and documentation.

Emmy-winning filmmaker Jake Gorst is the Steven Spielberg of design documentaries.
— George Smart - USModernist Radio

why we do it

Mainspring Narrative Films has two key objectives:

1.    To re-introduce important history, forgotten in time and by the masses, but integral in shaping the culture of our day.


Example: Antonio Corsi was once known to have the most famous face in the world, due to the hundreds of notable works of art by celebrated artists in which he posed. Today, very few are aware of the epic life story of the man who contributed his figure and face to such iconic works as The Storm by Pierre Auguste Cot, The End of the Trail by James Earle Fraser, and the Pygmalion series by Edward Burne-Jones.

2.    To foster an awareness of important cultural heritage being lost due to neglect or deliberate destruction.


Example: The modern architecture produced during the mid 20th century is endangered due to re-development or decay. Films such as Leisurama (2005),  Desert Utopia: Midcentury Architecture in Palm Springs (2005, produced by Jake Gorst for Design Onscreen), and Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island (2012, produced by Jake and Tracey Gorst for Design Onscreen) not only played a significant role in creating an awareness of this style of architecture, but also fostered a movement to restore and preserve examples of it, resulting in a significant increase in tourism and revenue to regions where it has been preserved.


If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for the future.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Ch_2-187 Levitas_night.jpg

film restoration

Mainspring Narrative President Jake Gorst cleaning a film by hand to prepare for scanning.


bringing the past to light

Mainspring Narrative Films seeks to present the past in the clearest possible form. Therefore, they locate project-relevant archival films, and then conduct a cleaning and scanning process. The high resolution digital transfers are then further processed to remove imperfections in the original film, and to correct color and frame rate issues. This results in motion imagery that often looks better than when it was first produced in the early part of the 20th century.

film restoration-29.jpg

One of two state-of-the-art film scanners used by Mainspring Narrative.

film restoration-11.jpg

Jake Gorst preparing to clean a reel of 16mm film.


support us by buying Jake Gorst’s new book, Leisurama: vacation homes for the average american. click here to Pre-order now



It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.

-William Murtagh, first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places