Victoria Film Festival: Something Ventured

Witness how a small group of investment bankers rolled the dice on visionary entrepreneurs

(United States, 2011, 85 min) Witness how a small group of investment bankers rolled the dice on visionary entrepreneurs, and helped launch some of the most successful high-tech companies in the world.

Contemporary interviews with the grey-haired investors contrasts with grainy footage of the men in the 1950s and 60s, as Something Ventured navigates the often fascinating history how such firms as biotech pioneer Genentech and computer icons Apple, Intel and Cisco Systems revolutionized technology.

Long and occasionally tedious, Something Ventured nonetheless offers well-crafted historical vignettes. Get nostalgic with the rise of Atari’s Pong. Laugh at the criticism of the personal hygiene and scruffy appearance of Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, young men tolerated as genius hippies.

Jobs, of course, went on to be fired by the very venture capitalist who helped launch Apple Corp. from Jobs’ basement.

The documentary explores that dark side to the innovator-investor relationship with the only female in the boy’s club, Cisco Systems co-founder Sandy Lerner.

A strong personality who often clashed with executives, Lerner was fired in 1990 from what is now a $100 billion company. Her co-founder husband followed. “The first rule of any game is to know that you’re in one,” Learner says.

Feb. 9, 7 p.m., Cineplex Odeon Victoria.