Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey, is a love letter to film - told as a personal adventure through the eyes of documentarian and projectionist, Rob Murphy. Rob begins a childhood quest to find out what happened to cinema’s great (now long extinct) wide screen film process, Cinerama; a journey that starts in Australia then expands geographically and thematically as Rob penetrates the projectionist underground, meeting the great champions of projected film and the lesser known characters behind the scenes. We discover how the digital revolution has not just changed the way we see movies but is becoming a very real threat to how we remember them.
The film will follow a typical three act structure.
'What ever happened to Cinerama?': The golden age of the projectionist. The romance. The showmanship and the wide screen war that began with the cultural and industry impact of Cinerama in 1952. Rob’s journey as a projection archeologist is established when he finds a mysterious can of film in the forgotten storeroom of an old picture palace. The search for Cinerama becomes the backbone to documentary.
'Film of the un-dead’: The threat to the survival of film in the digital age and the unexpected role projectionists and amateur collectors are playing in its survival.
'Plight of the Phoenix': Robs personal role in the resurgence of projected film. Installing 70mm projection for The Hateful Eight at The Sun theatre to which Quentin Tarantino, Samuel Jackson & Kurt Russell attended.
The documentary will be told with a sense of humour and fun. Re enactments will capture Robs formidable years growing up in rural Australia as a film nerd in the seventy’s. “If there was a bright centre to the universe then I was in a paddock it was farthest from.“
There will be a contemporary visual style to technical graphics keeping information digestible for a general audience while the focus will always favour the human experience of being a projectionist. Further 'practical' (actually, more theatrical) demonstrations will show… for example, the danger projectionists faced in showing Nitrate film by showing how it can burn under water. And how (currently) the only real future proof way to archive digital media is to put it back onto film or print it out on paper, in bit form; zeros and ones - Rob stands in a massive warehouse full of paper which equals one feature length movie.
This documentary comes at a pivotal time for the survival of film as both an originating format and a projected medium. The debate rages ever louder over the on screen virtues of film vs digital. But less in the public eye is the passionate war over how surviving film assets will live on into the digital age and how people will be able to experience them – the ‘preservation versus accessibility’ paradigm. Is our love affair with projected film simply a nostalgic one or is there something psychological going on that makes it a more pleasurable experience? This documentary will examine the true plight of projected film at a time of a largely unrealised digital danger.