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The short film
To practice his craft a writer is not limited to trying to produce a best selling novel.  He can write non-fiction, journalism, poetry, drama, a short story.  Some of these forms are commercially viable, some are not.  The same is true for the film artist. He is not limited to feature filmmaking. He can make documentaries, experimental pieces, short works. In fact, the short form makes it possible for the independent artist to put aside the pressures of the marketplace to develop his craft, to explore different styles and genres of filmmaking, to pass through his apprenticeship and build a body of work.

Nostalgia for the future
Struck by a passage from John Banville’s remarkable novel “The Sea,” I now realize that when I was younger and thought about what my life should be like in 20 or 30 years, what I really did was project into the future an imagined past already experienced through literature and film. Sitting in a book-lined study, my future self puts down his pen and looks out the window at the Petersburg snow swirling around the street light. As Banville writes: “I was, one might say, not so much anticipating the future as nostalgic for it, since what in my imaginings was to come was in reality already gone.” What the creative act does is give the past a future.

The end of film
I came to filmmaking in middle age at the beginning of the end of film.  Film captures what is transient, but the black and white stocks I have used have themselves become historical artifacts: Ilford negative, Kodak 50 ASA reversal. I can accept the fact that we are rapidly moving toward digital display and exhibition, with film—at least for a while—remaining an origination medium.  But digital post-production is already killing off black and white film.  Why originate in black and white when you can shoot color and just turn the color off in post?

With every technological advance, something is lost.  Those of us who see through photochemical black and white will have our vision digitally altered for us.  I will be shooting Kodak black and white reversal as long as it is available. But in time it too will be gone, and our old work will have the quaintness of a fresco.