Friday, May 01, 2015


I’ve never uttered the phrase “I wish I was in Rochester, New York right now” before, but I’ve been saying it to myself all day today. The reason? Well, today marks the beginning of a weekend-long (May 1-3) film festival entirely devoted to film conservation, particularly to that of the practice of rendering film prints on stock made of the extremely volatile compound nitrocellulose, or nitrate. The festival, called The Nitrate Picture Show, is happening at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, which just happens to be home to one of the world’s largest collections of nitrate film prints, and some of the most gorgeous existing specimens of nitrate film stock still in existence will be on display. (The last nitrate prints were struck in the early ‘50s.)
The weekend will be filled with feature films, book talks, a roundtable discussion with renowned figures from the world of film archiving, tours of the Dryden Theater projection booth at George Eastman which, due to the specific requirements for nitrate projection should be a really interesting tour, and a workshop, which has been sold out for several weeks now, devoted to the process of actually making nitrate film.
I had a rare opportunity to speak with one of the men centrally involved in the creation and realization of the Nitrate Picture Show, Jared Case, head of Collection information, Research and Access in the motion picture department of the George Eastman House, who shared with me a ton of interesting information not only about the history of nitrate film, and why it looks so damn good, but also some fascinating memories about what film first made him understand the power of nitrate film stock. That interview is now up and running as a special feature at Trailers from Hell, and hopefully it will make you want to reserve a plane ticket for next year, in the hope that this very first edition of the Nitrate Picture Show will become an annual celebration.

So click on over to Trailers from Hell to read that conversation and get up to speed on the glory of nitrate!


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