A portrait of the Wheeler family

Mama Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm

For those of you who don’t know anything about film stocks, Kodachrome was one of the first color reversal film stocks that Kodak invented. Unlike negative film, the film came back from the lab as a positive image and ready for projection. It had a long saturated run from 1935 until the very last roll was processed at Dwayne’s Photo lab in December 2010. You can read more about the last roll’s journey in an article published by the New York Times here. Since Kodachrome can no longer be processed, I ran into a little bit of a predicament. My Aunt Trudy who shot home movies in the 70s with her consumer super 8 camera did not process her last roll. I figured I might be able to help her out if I could figure out how to process it and then maybe use it in my movie. My teacher Kathryn Ramey told me to contact Martin Baumgarten who runs an esoteric film processing lab in Plattsburg, NY. He was super helpful and gave me the instructions to process the color film as a black and white negative. For the sake of saving whatever image there may be on the film, I may just pay the comparatively cheap price of $38 to have him process it and put it on a DVD. Maybe if I buy expired Kodachrome in the future, I could risk it.

Kodachrome Poster; Cinelab in Fall River, MA; April 2011



Timing Was Good To Me

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Have you ever felt like time was running out? If you didn’t do something or learn how to do something, that the whole practice of it and the whole philosophy behind it would be gone forever? To me, filmmakers are a dying breed. Along with the film camera repair people, film projectionists and film labbies. It’s kind of like that article about two of the last standing members of a primitive tribe that won’t have their language transcribed to be saved. When they die, the language dies with it. In recent film news, the manufacturer of the optical printer (a piece of equipment I enjoying learning about and using) retired last summer and the Rocky Mountain Films lab recently stopped processing Kodak Kodachrome film last December. Without the older generation of people teaching the young generation how to fix film equipment and process film, those old techniques will be lost. Bummer.


JK Optical Printer, Emerson College Spring 2011

Countdown Leader

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Recently the Coolidge Corner Theater gave its annual Coolidge Award to “Film Restoration” but more specifically the organization that Martin Scorsese founded to restore old film prints. Restoring and preserving film prints is the same as preserving American culture. That’s a little cornball but it’s true. One of the events during our award was a panel discussion featuring ten film archivists from places like MoMA and the Smithsonian. One archivist I was really excited about was Andrew Lampert from Anthology Film Archive founded by Jonas Mekas in the 60s. It’s an organization that tries to preserve experimental films and screens a lot of Avant Gard filmmakers’ films. After the discussion, I talked with him about internship opportunities at the archive and about the work that he has done. I have since emailed Andrew for fall internships so fingers crossed! I rewrote my resume, classed it up quite a bit and wrote a very nostalgic cover letter about the importance of organizations that preserve culture. The most important piece of advice that he gave to me was, “if you have film, shoot it.” There’s no regulation for digital at the moment but it’s making a fast approach. So I have some film in the freezer. Now it’s time to shoot it.

Countdown Leader, New Resume Graphic Spring 2011