This is Film! #2: The Polaroid Effect
This session of This is Film! will explore a renewed desire for analogue media. Amidst a digital revolution, instant cameras and vinyl are making a huge comeback - especially among millennials. Furthermore, a growing number of experimental filmmakers (Ben Rivers, Rosa Barba and Tacita Dean) and Hollywood directors (Alfonso Cuarón, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino) prefer to work with celluloid over digital film.
We will discuss this remarkable tendency with Berlin-based filmmaker/producer Jens Meurer, who made “analogue lovers” the subject of his new feature documentary An Impossible Project (2020).
An Impossible Project
The documentary follows a “self-appointed patron saint of all things analogue,” the Austrian entrepreneur Dr. Florian “Doc” Kaps during his endeavors to save the last Polaroid factory in the world (in Enschede). Doc is a firm believer that the more digital our world gets, the more analogue our dreams become.
Obviously, Jens Meurer did not shoot his documentary on a digital format, but on 35mm Kodak. He was supported in this costly undertaking by film manufacturer Kodak, ARRI (the supplier of motion picture film equipment that still fully supports 35mm technology), and also by Kickstarter backers. Remarkably enough, his filmography as a producer also lists the first born-digital film to enter the Cannes Film Festival competition, Russian Ark (2002, Sokurov).
In conversation with Eye”s Chief Curator Giovanna Fossati, Jens Meurer will talk about what he considers the beauty of analogue media, the challenges and opportunities of filming on 35mm, the added value of the experience of materiality and the relationship between digital and analogue practices today.
Jens Meurer started his career as a documentary filmmaker, before becoming also a producer. In 1995 he received the European Academy Award for Documentary for his short film Viva Stalin. In 2017 he contributed to the interview web series 100 Years of ARRI, to celebrate the anniversary of ARRI. Meurer worked as a producer on award-winning productions as Russian Ark (2002, Sokurov), Black Book (2006, Verhoeven), The Last Station (2009, Hoffman), and the mini-series Carlos (2010, Assayas).