All posts filed under “thoughts

The Last Reel

My latest documentary, The Last Reel, is now available to watch online (below).

The film documents the Plaza Maplewood Theater’s final days prior to handing its keys over to a neighboring megachurch. It’s at times a sad film; it’s Minnesotan; it’s an ode; it’s got some 35mm, an old projection booth, some animation, some religion, some Sam Raimi and Evil Dead — it’s about community. It feels like it could be any town with a small movie theater going through change.

Before editing, I sat on the footage for a few years (it was filmed in 2013), because I was freelancing on other projects, but the distance provided some perspective in regards to our current place of digital cinema, streaming, and the plethora of screens available, etc. This documentary is special to me, too, because it’s about a theater I went to as a kid. Theaters and movies have been a part of my life (leisure, work, and creative); they’re very important to me. The movie theater, a communal experience of the darkened room and light on the screen and the act of watching cinema, have also had a profound influence on my current project, Goblin (which I’m currently trying to crowdfund).

Today is the first day that The Last Reel is available publicly. I hope you enjoy it! And please remember our crowdfunding campaign; we need your support –> Visit the Goblin Kickstarter .


Camera Death

In December of last year, my GH2 camera died inexplicably while returning to Minneapolis from LA.

The top photo above is the last one my camera took, at LAX airport.  What occurred after this to cause the camera’s death? What happened inside the carry-on that sat at my feet unencumbered?  It’s a mystery to me.

Some research led me to a potential repair via a replacement electric board in the camera.  Seemingly, that’s what failed.  I’ve decided to leave the camera on my shelf as a kind of burial and reminder of good times.

I sometimes take the camera from the shelf and turn the power dial in hopes of some magical reanimation of reversed entropy, but it doesn’t.

The second photo above is of my dead camera.  Notice the grain and where the dark background seemingly merges with the camera foreground.

I shot the dead digital camera with an old but functioning 35mm SLR, a German-made EXA (I do understand that film cameras also fail and need repairs; someone should analyze life-lines of cameras).  To me, it seems that film cameras last longer, mechanically and perhaps aesthetically.

I shot the second photo with expired film and tried to get proper exposure.  Ah, but to no avail.  But that’s also an excitement to film: the not knowing, the reliable indeterminable feeling of its process.

One can garner greater or lesser determinability of outcome via a chosen film practice.  This usually boils down into categories of gear and technique: choice of new or old cameras, new or expired film, exposure, lenses, light leaks, treating the film emulsion or processing, etc.

What am I getting at?  The death of a digital camera caused me to reflect upon and use the other format, of which I am choosing to use more often.  This is not a write-up on the merits of film vs digital.  I’m noting a transformation of routine, and it’s a pleasant change.

-Chris Lange