Super 8 is special. It’s a film stock that holds a place in the hearts of celluloid lovers everywhere. It’s been in back yards, at birthdays and on vacation with a generation of families. It’s inspired a lifelong passion for movie making with some of the world’s greatest storytellers.
It’s a medium that is relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Super 8 is shot on the sets of music videos, commercials, television shows and is a vital part of skate, snowboard and surf culture.
More and more artists are loading cartridges and capturing 50 feet of greatness.
We took some time to ask 8 Super Questions to filmmakers Jeremy Tiecher and Alexi Pappas in celebration of their new short film series, The Way of Things. A true collaboration, The Way of Things saw Alexi writing a poem and Jeremy bringing it to life with everyday things using Super 8.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Just one?! Okay, right now my favorite movie is The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014). It's what I keep turning to for inspiration – not because I want to make a Wes Anderson-esque film myself, but because it's just so invigorating to watch a movie by an auteur working at the top of his game. It feels like he's fully in tune with his vision and now he's just playing in the sandbox he's created. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007), Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), and Adaptation (Spike Jonze, 2002) for Charlie Kauffman, the screenwriter are similar in this way.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT FILMMAKING THAT HAS YOU HOOKED?
Starting out, it was the fun of playing with a group of friends and a camera that got me hooked. Then in high school, it was showing my short films during assembly to the entire school – that experience of sharing a movie I made with an audience. Now as a professional, I love the different sets of people I get to work with along the process, from development through production through post. It's a cycle that I want to repeat as often as possible.
Outside of film where do you look for inspiration?
Reading novels and plays is our biggest source of inspiration outside of actually watching other movies. It's such a pleasure to get immersed in another person's creative vision, and inevitably we'll come away from that experience with a refreshed perspective on our own work. Alexi and I both also get inspiration from Mammoth Lakes, CA, where we live (and where Alexi is training for the 2020 Olympics) – being in the mountains and getting confronted with Lord of the Rings-esque views on a daily basis always gets the creative sparks flying.
When did you start shooting Super 8?
I first shot with Super 8 shortly after college, when I was directing a music video for a friend's band. We wanted a nostalgic feel and it was clear that the only real way to get that would be to do the real thing and shoot on Super 8 film. The results spoke for themselves and I've had a soft spot for Super 8 ever since.
What does Super 8 bring to a project that’s different than digital?
The filmic look, from Super 8 up through 35mm, it adds a quality to the image that simply cannot currently be reproduced through post-production effects on digital footage. But beyond the aesthetic look, having a film camera on set completely changes the feel of the production for the better. Everyone is on their A-game from the grips to the actors to the director because you know that something real is moving through that camera. Every producer should experience this at least once. Pick up a Super 8 camera and make a short. It's undeniable that shooting on film makes for a more powerful production experience.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILMMAKERS WORKING TODAY?
I have great admiration for filmmakers and producers who are committed to a creative vision of the world and then make projects that bring that vision to life. This ranges from David Lynch to Wes Anderson to Joe Swanberg to Judd Apatow, and many more. Up-and-coming filmmakers that I'd include here are Ana Lily Amirpour and Jordan Peele.
What do you do when you're not making movies?
When Alexi isn't making movies, she's busy training for the 2020 Olympics! She's a professional runner specializing in the 5k, 10k, and marathon. As for me, I'm lucky to be able to focus on filmmaking full time. That isn't always feature film – I also produce short projects for brands and magazines.
What are you working on next?
We’re currently developing a TV series inspired by our time living in the Olympic Village – can't say much more than that! We're also writing our next feature film, and Alexi is writing a book of essays.
Thanks so much to Jeremy and Alexi. Check out their short film The Way of Things.