I recently attended the ‘friends, family, and movie-people’ premiere of This May Be The Last Time, a documentary produced by Matt Leach, Sterlin Harjo, and Christina D. King and directed by Harjo. This was the first feature-length film backed by This Land Films a section of This Land Press based in Tulsa, OK. The premiere took place at Circle Cinema in Tulsa on the heels of a successful debut at Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. Here is the posting about the film on the Sundance site.
I was hired to work on the film last year. I worked with the director and producer and other members of the cast and crew to capture re-created historical events that took place decades. Though, there was some original home movie footage of other stuff they could not unearth any archived footage from this particular significant event. So the goal was to re-create several scenes in a manner that might pass for film footage captured in the early 1960s. Super 8 film shot in a hand-held ‘man-on-the-scene’ type way was used to create a stylized, authentic appearance.
Coming into the picture I had seen a rough cut of the film and I understood the scenes and what they wanted to capture.
The shoot was a memorable one for me as many of the shots took place with me standing in the North Canadian River with a camera in my hand. All told we shot 7 rolls of film that day at 24 fps which amounted to about 17 minutes of film. The film stock was Agfachrome 200D Color Reversal film and shot on a Canon 814 XLS.
The intention was to use about 5 minutes of the footage. I was happy to see that every roll of film turned out wonderfully; good light, good focus, and framing. Plenty of the footage made it into the final film and the trailer.
I was happy to have been given the opportunity to share in this experience. The documentary is beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting, all at the same time…it’s a story worth watching.
Posted below is the official trailer for the film:
I added a new film to my Vimeo channel last night. This one is from the Oklahoma State Fair this year and features my fam at the livestock barns and at the midway. This was the first time I used my “nicer” camera at the fair. I used my Canon 814 XLS to shoot the footage. I shot on Kodak 500T Color Negative film. The soundtrack is from live recording at the fair using my Edirol R-09.
Taking my Super 8 camera and filming a roll or two has become a new tradition for me. I have been doing this for 7 or 8 years now and it makes me wish that I’d been doing it since my first visit there. I think the color and movement of film really captures the authenticity of being there.
This was also the first footage I’ve edited using Final Cut Pro X. I just downloaded the trial version yesterday and was able to quickly cut together the footage and the soundtrack without any real problems – which was great. I was a little hesitant about the interface to begin with but it turns out it was more intuitive than I originally thought. I didn’t search any help documents, just went right to work. Granted, there were no real edits within the film as I like to keep the film “whole” and as uncut as possible. But I did add titles, credits, and a layered audio track. Looking froward to playing around with FCP-X some more. Migration from FCP-7 looks imminent.
Oklahoma State Fair 2013 from Aaron Gibson on Vimeo.
I received word that a film that I did some Super 8 film work for has been accepted to Sundance. The documentary film This May Be the Last Time, directed by Sterlin Harjo and Produced by Matt Leach, both of This Land Films, will be shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 16-26.
Here is the announcement on the This Land Films website:
Here is the short description of the film on the Sundance website:
“This May Be the Last Time / U.S.A. (Director: Sterlin Harjo) — Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo’s Grandfather disappeared mysteriously in 1962. The community searching for him sang songs of encouragement that were passed down for generations. Harjo explores the origins of these songs as well as the violent history of his people.”
My contribution to the film was minimal in terms of the overall production but I had a fun experience working with these guys, the talent and other crew. I was hired to shoot several rolls of film as a part of the film that re-created a specific historical event. I shot the film using a Canon 814 XLS and Agfachrome 200D Reversal film stock. The film was then digitally transferred and scanned at HD resolution.
I have seen the raw footage but not the final cut of the film – so I’m excited to see how the footage was integrated into the story.
Congratulations to all those involved! We’ll be watching the progress of this film to see the progress it makes.
Looking back over my production notes going back to 2004 I’ve found an evolution of this project. Seems it began as just a “climbing video,” then it made it’s way to something more historical and became a “documentary.” Over those years it has also changed in scope, style and attitude.
Part of the challenge of a project such as this is coming up with the story but at the same time not really knowing where the story is going to take me.
The title changes when I began to branch out and include the entire scope of Oklahoma climbing and bring in multiple types of climbing and people from all over the state. In some cases the thread that binds the climbing community together is very fine – some people climb in relative secrecy without many other knowing exactly what is going on where. Sometimes it’s not until months or years later that word makes it out about so-and-so’s new area or a new route. In terms of the early days of climbing in Oklahoma I think the history ties together a bit better than it does now – there’s just so many more climbers now and the number of opportunities for substantial advances seems more narrow. Then again, I suppose if a 5.15 trad climb was discovered somewhere deep in confines of Charons Gardens, word would spread like wildfire across the prairie.
I’ve dabbled with a number of possible titles, many of which I’ve run by my wife, and some of which I’ve tried out on friends. My brain-storming session on this is never-ending. I’ll think of something in the middle of the night and jolt awake – at the time it sounds like the perfect title. Then I fall back asleep. In the morning I muddle it over and “x” it off the list.
Thematically, there’s so many ways to go and each has its own goods and bads. Problem is I don’t want to slant the picture too far one way or the other. The title needs to speak holistically to a number of elements.
I’ve looked to titles of other documentaries that I admire – The Fog of War, The Bridge, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Vertical Frontier, American Movie – none of them speak entirely about the subject matter but tend to be more representative of a greater agenda.
Maybe I’m over-thinking this. I’m sure I’m over-thinking this.
At some point I’m just going to pick a title and stick with it. That’s it. The next update will be the title of the film.
So this is it! It’s been a long road to get to this point but the premiere of The Good Soldier is Friday, June 11 at 10 pm at the IAO Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK. It is part of the deadCenter Film Festival.
If you can make it please come on down and check it out.
If you wish to buy a complete festival pass they are $75. Or you can by a single ticket the day of the show for $10 at the door.
Go to the deadCenter schedule and scroll to Friday, June 11th at 10 pm. The Good Soldier is showing as part of “The X-Files” program. Here you can click on the film link, create an account for a calendar, and rate the film after you see it.