Last spring, five guys – Luke, Nick, Josh, Alan and Matt – loaded up an RV and set out for Las Vegas from Alabama. This group, better known as the team from Indie Film Lab, took video along the way and what started as a short video has become the documentary, “Long Live Film!” You can watch previews of “Long Live Film!” here and here on YouTube. The film captures not only their journey across the southern United States, but also their passion for film photography. The guys tell us a bit about their experiences here.
Q. How did you come up with the idea for the documentary?
LUKE LINDGREN: Before our road trip to Las Vegas for WPPI we wanted to document our trip. As we planned out our trip the idea evolved from taking pictures to documenting our trip by making a short video. We wanted our focus to be on film photography, and about why we and other photographers still love film.
But after talking to all the awesome film photographers we met in Vegas there was so much depth and heart in what they had to say. It went from a simple youtube video to a documentary.
JOSH MOATES: It was an organic transition from a road trip to fun blog video to documentary. It definitely was a slow progression and grew very quickly.
Q. What was the most surprising thing you saw while on the road?
MATT ROBBINS: The most surprising thing I saw on the road was the snow for sure. Living in the south my whole life, I had never seen more than a few inches of snow. The first time I saw more than a foot of snow while we were on the road I was literally like a kid in a candy store. I just wanted to run up and play in the snow. I was pretty pumped to see snow that was up to my knees.
NICK DROLLETTE: The most surprising thing I saw on the road was how big our country was. I have done a good bit of traveling up the east coast and I have also been to Haiti and Cuba but I have never been out west in our own country. I was really shocked to see what was out there. The landscape and the terrain were absolutely beautiful. I have never seen any rock formations like they have out there. It was really nice to get out of Alabama and see a change of scenery.
Q. What was your favorite location?
JOSH: The Grand Canyon.
ALAN: The Grand Canyon, however the company I was around during the trip would have made any place awesome.
MATT: While we were driving to the Grand Canyon, we would see cracks in the ground while driving through Texas and Arizona. I was getting excited about seeing a few that were 10-20 feet deep. Then we got to the Grand Canyon and I was just astounded by its size. It was my favorite location on the trip by far.
NICK: When I was photographing Monument Valley, I started walking down into the valley just shooting away and after about 30 minutes of shooting I realized I was close to a mile away from the RV. It was just an overwhelming experience that I had to capture.
LUKE: Joshua Tree, CA was awesome because there were about 20+ film loving photographers just hanging out, shooting film, and learning from each other out in the California desert.
Q. What films did you bring and how did you shoot them?
LUKE: KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 @ 200, KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160 @ 100 or 80, KODAK PROFESSIONAL TRI-X @ anything from 200-1600 and KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTAR 100 @ 100. Both 35mm and 120/220.
ALAN: All KODAK PROFESSIONAL Film: PORTRA 160, 400 and 800; EKTAR 100; KODAK PROFESSIONAL BW400CN; TRI-X
JOSH: We had every type of KODAK PROFESSIONAL Film you can imagine. But I shot TRI-X and PORTRA 160 most of the time.
MATT: The films that I brought on the trip were EKTAR 100, PORTRA 160 and 400, and Tri-X 400. I wanted a bright look, but with the highlights still there so I was shooting all my film at slightly lower speeds than the box speed. I shot a few rolls of EKTAR 100 at 80, PORTRA 160 at 100, and most of the PORTRA 400 at 200.
NICK: I shot mostly with PORTRA 160 and 400. I did shoot a bunch of TRI-X though. I have shot Tri-x a few times before but nothing like I did on the road trip. Tri-x 35mm and 120 are simply stunning. They just give a look that digital can’t give you. I also fell in love with a film that I was not familiar with at all. EKTAR 100 was such a cool film to shoot with. I shot some of my landscapes with EKTAR 100 and I am super happy that I did. One of the places I shot EKTAR 100 with was the Grand Canyon. The colors that I got back from it were pretty awesome. I was super happy with them when I started scanning them in.
Q. What do you hope that people take away from this documentary?
LUKE: Our greatest hope is that people see shooting film as more than just the look, and they begin to understand the feel film gives you. There’s a lot of beauty in film, and this documentary explains it all. It’s the entire process that can really take your art to a new place.
ALAN: Do what you love to do!
JOSH: I hope photographers that started with digital will see how amazing, expressive and rewarding film can be
MATT: I hope people can really understand what film is all about, and that it isn’t about shooting 2000 images at a wedding and not using 1800 or just bracketing one shot to make sure you get the right exposure. It is an art form and you really have to know what you are doing and time your shots just right. When you get to the point of having a 80% return rate on the shots you take with film, and it seems like every shot you take is awesome, that’s when film becomes an addiction. When you shoot 15 rolls of 120 and get back 195 or 200 images that are awesome, that is a great feeling.
NICK: I hope that people take away from the documentary that film is not dead. I don’t want people to think that we are trying to push that film is better than digital. They both have their uses and I encourage people to shoot what they want. Whether it is an iPhone, disposable camera or a Hassleblad, shoot what inspires you. I just hope that it educates new photographers and helps them understand the roots of photography. I think that if people understood film that they would have more of appreciation for photography. I know for me personally film has changed the way I shoot and it has brought more of an excitement to it.
Check out “Long Live Film!” on the Indie Film Lab YouTube Channel, available today.
Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.