Super 8mm Film Footage – Sundance Film Festival

thismaybethelasttime-photoI 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:

 

Things in production…

My family and I recently took a trip east across the US – 13 states in 14 days we like to say – from Oklahoma to the Outer Banks in North Carolina and back. Along the way we stopped in Saint Louis, MO; Pourtsmouth, Ohio, New River Gorge in West Virgina, then on to Manteo in North Carolina, then back through the south: Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas. It was a long trip – sometimes tough with two young ones who didn’t want to ride more than a couple of hours (or less) at a time. I took several cameras along and had the opportunity to shoot 3 rolls of Super 8 film. Also shot some video with my GoPro2 and some stills with my Nikon. I’m looking for to having the film processed and seeing how it turned out. More and more I’ve been using my old-standby MovieFlex S8 to shoot on. It’s just so easy and comfortable to use. It focuses well, the color (if it’s color film, of course) is great, and the light meter seems to adjust accurately and moreover, forgivingly. I say all of this before getting those last three rolls in the mail to see exactly how they turned out.

I had a couple of rolls processed not long ago – one was from a drive-in cinema with a miniature golf course just below the screen. I shot right at “magic-hour” on Ektachrome 100D and I have to say it’s probably some of the most beautiful color film I’ve seen – just perfect. I need to get it digitized and online.

I am working on a couple of independent projects outside of my Super 8 dabblings:
I am still working on the Oklahoma climbing documentary and hope to have some more interviews in the near future. That’s a slow going and long term project that I’m chugging away on. The other project came up recently and involves shooting some digital footage for the Silo Art Project. This is going to be a collaborative project – I think – one where I shoot and someone else edits the footage and pieces it together for a larger project. I’m not sure but I have this feeling that it’s going to turn into something. I’m just kind of free-wheeling it, not really planning or figuring anything. Just going to show up with a camera and document. it’s funny because it’s kind of how I envisioned my OK climbing doc to work but instead I feel more anxious about making the climbing doc “good” and so my up-tight-ed-ness seems to get in the way of actually accomplishing the simple act of just setting up these interviews, turning the camera on and letting the people speak. Why is that?

It’s kind of an exciting time with all this stuff going on. I’m hopefully that I will have something to show in the near future – maybe even a short Super 8 film to submit to some over-seas festivals. I need another reason to visit England!

Another thing on my mind that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, years in fact, is starting a Super 8 class or seminar or short course program. Give everyone a Super 8 camera, talk about the basics, learn the fundamentals, shoot some film, process it, transfer it to digital and host a viewing party. I wonder what the interest in something like that would be? Maybe I could even associate it with a school/university just to further the value of it – class for credit type of thing. Just an idea.

Finally, and this probably isn’t even worth mentioning because it’s nowhere near a fleshed out idea – but I’ve had a recent fascination with chairs. Chairs. I’m not sure why. I feel like I need to shoot a film about chairs.

Enough of this update. Next post will be something of more substance.