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Philistine - My 16mm Short Film

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#1 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 04:36 PM

Hi cinema lovers, I've been a lurker on these forms for a while now, and I'm not sure if this is the right place, but but this is my first post! I'm a 3rd year film student at Falmouth University (UK) and I'm directing a short film called Philistine. I'm here to both share with you my kickstarter and receive any valuable information/tips on shooting with film (it's my first time). We'll be shooting on a Bolex H16, using Kodak 16mm Double X Black & White Negative (7222). It's Tungsten 200 and Daylight 250.

 

SYNOPSIS: Cinema projectionist Marcelle works for an independent, arthouse, and old-school cinema. Though, the theatre is forced to close and he’s made redundant; the digital age has no use for disciples of the past. Down on his luck, his fate is bettered after an encounter with a young woman, Anna. His optimism is short-lived, though, and he becomes the victim of a different kind...

 

On the surface Philistine is about a cinema projectionist who loses his job, but deeper down it's a film about film, cinema history, and a respect for the past. My viewpoint is that we, the younger generations, are becoming detached from the history of cinema - which I feel is a bad thing.

 

Although the topic is dramatic, and when written "loses his job" sounds like a cliche student drama, the narrative and stylistic approach is absurd, abstract, playful, comical and shocking. As I'm posting on a cinematography forum comprised of cinema lovers, I assume it may mean something to you when I say that both the writing and directing of Philistine have taken heavy inspiration from the work of the French New Wave.

 

For those that aren't familiar, their stance was particularly anti-Hollywood, and so they would make their films in the most rogue fashion possible; both in terms of narrative and technical approach. This is something I too believe in. I also feel as if many student films are the same (partly down to the use of the same cameras and partly down to their pursuit of replicating formulaic narrative and stylistic hollywood standards) and so with this film, and anything I create in general, I tried to stray as far from the 'norm' as possible. I hope that people see that in the kickstarter.

 

16MM FILM: The choice to shoot on 16mm was there from (almost) the very beginning. Following from the birth of the concept - old-school celluloid cinema projectionist being ousted by the digital - I knew that it would be hypocritical of me not to shoot on film. It's a film about film and the impact that the easily accessible digital has on it. And so, not only does film LOOK beautiful, it serves the story. I flirted with the thought for a while until I saw a 16mm film that my tutor had made and was promoting. After research I gathered some figures to see if this dream was actually possible; and it is, though I can't do it on my own. 

 

What's more, after seeing the 'Kodak deal' go down in February of this year ("Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, NBC Universal and Warner Bros all pledge to continue buying filmstock from the company, even as the majority of directors and cinemas choose to go digital"), I feel now more than ever it is important that we, the younger generations, keep film alive.

 

BUDGET: The proposed budget for the kickstarter is £2000. Film costs (stock, camera, development) comes to just over half of that at £1100. Now, film in the digital age is of course an aesthetic choice, and we could easily just use a RED digital camera, but I hope those of you reading do see the reason for and passion behind the use of film for Philistine. The camera rental company and developing lab are extremely enthusiastic about my choice to shoot on film and are really helpful in answering questions and teaching us and taking us through the process. 

 

If any of you like the sound of my film and could spare some change towards it we'd be forever grateful; we have a lot of money to make in short amount of time and so every little helps!

 

All feedback is welcome and thanks for your time!

 

KODAK DEAL ARTICLE: http://www.theguardi...dios-kodak-deal

KICKSTARTER: https://www.kickstar...-film?ref=video FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook...neFilm/?fref=ts TWITTER: https://twitter.com/PhilistineFilm


Edited by Ferg Worrall, 19 November 2015 - 04:46 PM.

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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 06:19 PM

On the surface Philistine is about a cinema projectionist who loses his job, but deeper down it's a film about film, cinema history, and a respect for the past. My viewpoint is that we, the younger generations, are becoming detached from the history of cinema - which I feel is a bad thing.

 

Ferg,

 

This part of your post is what sold me.  This is really great to hear because one of my biggest complaints these days is that young filmmakers do not have any sense of film history, and therefore, cannot appreciate all it has to offer.  In this case, it's nice to be proven wrong.

 

I love the premise of your film.  Definitely reminiscent of a film like Cinema Paradiso and I think the choice to shoot on black and white stock is an appropriate one (in addition to being a nice homage to the New Wave films, as well.)  I re-tweeted your Kickstarter campaign on my Twitter account (@RichProdNYC) and I backed the project.

 

Welcome to the forum and good luck with the film!


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#3 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 10:20 PM

 

Ferg,

 

This part of your post is what sold me.  This is really great to hear because one of my biggest complaints these days is that young filmmakers do not have any sense of film history, and therefore, cannot appreciate all it has to offer.  In this case, it's nice to be proven wrong.

 

I love the premise of your film.  Definitely reminiscent of a film like Cinema Paradiso and I think the choice to shoot on black and white stock is an appropriate one (in addition to being a nice homage to the New Wave films, as well.)  I re-tweeted your Kickstarter campaign on my Twitter account (@RichProdNYC) and I backed the project.

 

Welcome to the forum and good luck with the film!

 

Wow thank you so much for your donation! We can't express how grateful we are! Yes I've heard it's reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso and I have to agree. In the summer before the start of the academic year I had a few ideas that I was struggling to bring to life, so I stepped back and asked myself; what am I really interested in? And then the light turned on and I answered; Cinema! And what's more New Wave than being as self-referential as that?

 

I hope we make it worth your donation, and thank you again!


Edited by Ferg Worrall, 19 November 2015 - 10:28 PM.

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#4 Pavan Deep

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 06:50 AM

This sound like a great project.

 

I’d just like to say that in this digital age ‘film’ is not just an ‘aesthetic choice’. I feel that film is also more practical and more affordable, thus it is a more sensible choice, there have been many discussions on the forum as to why people choose to use film. Unless given to use for free a RED or an ALEXA Package [including all the necessary accessories and lenses] will cost far more than the costs of 16mm stock, processing and scanning, renting and buying a Super a 16mm package.

 

 

Pav


Edited by Pavan Deep, 20 November 2015 - 06:52 AM.

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#5 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 10:32 AM

This sound like a great project.

 

I’d just like to say that in this digital age ‘film’ is not just an ‘aesthetic choice’. I feel that film is also more practical and more affordable, thus it is a more sensible choice, there have been many discussions on the forum as to why people choose to use film. Unless given to use for free a RED or an ALEXA Package [including all the necessary accessories and lenses] will cost far more than the costs of 16mm stock, processing and scanning, renting and buying a Super a 16mm package.

 

 

Pav

 

Thank you for the kind words.

 

You're absolutely right in the affordable aspect I think. There seems to be a negative stigma attached to the use of film; that it's extremely expensive. Once I began research into the actual logistics of it, I was surprised at how simple and cheap the process was (especially for students). I think it also comes down to a comment on your own principles.

 

Along side this project I'm doing a 10,000 word dissertation on the use of analogue in the digital age. It focuses not so much on the business side, but the technical and almost philosophical aspect of analogue art (whether it's painting, music, writing, etc.). Analogue art exists in the real world, photochemical photography is light hitting celluloid - an actual imprint of that space in time. With the digital, there is no imprint, just a computers representation of the real world. It also has no final destination, no finished piece. Everything is manipulable in infinite ways and anyone can do it at any time. Anyone with a phone can be a 'filmmaker' now (whatever that means). The further we detach ourselves from the analogue world and into the digital, the further we detach ourselves from the human element of art fixed in the real world (along with human mistakes and error). So I guess what I'm trying to get at is (it's a vast subject) it is my belief and therefore my principle that analogue work is detrimental to cinema and the art piece in general. Cinema is about the human experience, and the further we detach ourselves from analogue the further we get from the human experience and the more cinema suffers.

 

(Though I'd like to conclude I'm not completely against digital and it has many uses)


Edited by Ferg Worrall, 20 November 2015 - 10:32 AM.

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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 12:35 AM

Have you contacted Kodak and looked into getting an extra discount?  Considering the subject matter, they may be willing to work something out with you.  I would give them a call.


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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 04:13 AM

Have you contacted Kodak and looked into getting an extra discount?  Considering the subject matter, they may be willing to work something out with you.  I would give them a call.

 

 

It's worth a try but Kodak UK have traditionally been really f****** awful and sadly it's still a lot of the old jokers still involved.

They do have a new thing they call #filmworthy which might be worth looking into as well:

 

http://www.kodak.com...ilm/default.htm


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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 08:09 AM

Your choice to shoot black and white is the best back up you can buy. No digital copy will last as long. So you don't have to spend a lot of money on drives and such. Scan to ProRes4444, not dpx and save yourself even more.
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#9 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 06:32 AM

 

 

It's worth a try but Kodak UK have traditionally been really f****** awful and sadly it's still a lot of the old jokers still involved.

They do have a new thing they call #filmworthy which might be worth looking into as well:

 

http://www.kodak.com...ilm/default.htm

 

Yeah I've seen that before. I'll look in to it, thanks!

 

So for the test footage, I'm looking at renting a Bolex and developing the film myself. 

 

I've been told to use one of these: http://www.ebay.co.u...sd=191726846086

 

I'm thinking of buying it, but does anyone know what else I would need with it? Photochemical's etc?


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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 10:49 AM

 

Yeah I've seen that before. I'll look in to it, thanks!

 

So for the test footage, I'm looking at renting a Bolex and developing the film myself. 

 

I've been told to use one of these: http://www.ebay.co.u...sd=191726846086

 

I'm thinking of buying it, but does anyone know what else I would need with it? Photochemical's etc?

 

Considering the fact that you have a limited budget, I wouldn't chance developing any film on your own unless you've been doing it  successfully for years.  You will not get accurate test results.  Send the footage off to a lab and have the developing and printing done professionally.  It will save you time, money and extra work. 

 

You can always experiment once you finish this project.


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#11 aapo lettinen

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 12:05 PM

I second that it may not be accurate enough to develop your own tests. you should control the developing time, temperature and developer composition/water used/developer age/condition/oxygen levels/  etc. very accurately and repeatably to be able to compare the results. 

for camera tests, however, it is quite good to be able to develop your own film if needed so that you will see the results more quickly and it costs less than professionally developing lots of small separate batches. 

 

I use one of those smaller Lomo tanks for 16mm tests, it is quite ok for developing and quite easy to use after you learn how to load it in the dark. it takes a little time to apply/drain the developer however which may result in small inconsistency in results, maybe +/- 20 s  of developing time.

 

Developing b/w  NEGATIVE is very easy and quick in general but if you have to be able to repeat the process accurately it is not that easy anymore. one thing to do could be to always use fresh unused developer with every test but it's quite a wasting if you only develop couple of meters per batch, that smaller tank takes about one litre of fluid....  you could of course use some of the developers which have very high diluting ratio and long shelf life, for example Adonal, so that a single batch worth of chemicals does not cost much


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#12 aapo lettinen

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 12:14 PM

one thing about the Lomo tanks, the plastics are VERY brittle and will break to million little pieces if you for example accidentally drop them in the darkroom  :ph34r:     

so you should first practice the loading in light to minimise risk of damages when you handle the parts in complete darkness. it is very difficult to repair the tank parts if they break so it's usually more practical to just buy a new one  :unsure:


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#13 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 02:35 PM

 

Considering the fact that you have a limited budget, I wouldn't chance developing any film on your own unless you've been doing it  successfully for years.  You will not get accurate test results.  Send the footage off to a lab and have the developing and printing done professionally.  It will save you time, money and extra work. 

 

You can always experiment once you finish this project.

Thanks for the heads up, always still learning haha


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#14 Ferg Worrall

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 03:04 PM

I second that it may not be accurate enough to develop your own tests. you should control the developing time, temperature and developer composition/water used/developer age/condition/oxygen levels/  etc. very accurately and repeatably to be able to compare the results. 

for camera tests, however, it is quite good to be able to develop your own film if needed so that you will see the results more quickly and it costs less than professionally developing lots of small separate batches. 

 

I use one of those smaller Lomo tanks for 16mm tests, it is quite ok for developing and quite easy to use after you learn how to load it in the dark. it takes a little time to apply/drain the developer however which may result in small inconsistency in results, maybe +/- 20 s  of developing time.

 

Developing b/w  NEGATIVE is very easy and quick in general but if you have to be able to repeat the process accurately it is not that easy anymore. one thing to do could be to always use fresh unused developer with every test but it's quite a wasting if you only develop couple of meters per batch, that smaller tank takes about one litre of fluid....  you could of course use some of the developers which have very high diluting ratio and long shelf life, for example Adonal, so that a single batch worth of chemicals does not cost much

 

Thanks for the help, I think I'll leave hand processing for experimentation. 


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