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"Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey" 2020 Update

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Rob (Bert) Murphy, Australia Date: 25.11.2020
Rob Murphy at the editing table finalizing “Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey"

“Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey is an Australian feature documentary exploring the single greatest upheaval in the history of the film industry; the cessation of capture and projection on film. Now ten years on from this momentous transition, film maker & projectionist, Rob Murphy shares his personal journey to find out what has really happened to film.”

Splice here: A Projected Odyssey is not a title I chose for it’s hyperbole. This documentary has been an odyssey for me in every sense of the word. Beginning as a knee jerk reaction to the beginning of the digital rollout in 2010, I began filming what I thought would be… well, - I didn’t know what it would be back then but as a film maker and projectionist I felt compelled to capture and preserve what was happening and disappearing quite quickly. The Sun Theatre in Yarraville (my projectionist home) was the first complex in the Australia to go fully digital, so I had the drop on all the madness as the rest of the industry began. I borrowed a camera and began running from one de-installation to another, making many friends along the way; all with compelling stories to tell. If somebody had of told me I would still be making this film ten years later and that I would have shot eight terabytes of footage across Australia, the U.K and the U.S, I may have backed away. As with many passion projects it started small and evolved into something which became part of the very topic it was exploring. To then style and mould something this personal, (yet dear to so many) into a narrative on screen has been one of the greatest creative challenges of my career.

This hybrid documentary / drama can best be described as a love letter to film; both the medium and the art form. A journey that began for me as a boy watching wide screen films on the family’s black and white tv in ‘pan & scan’. I used to think that squashed title sequences and clunky mechanical pans were a creative style of the film making of the day. Luckily for me the Melbourne repertory circuit still had access to good prints and a handful of surviving cinemas that could run them. Seeing those same wide screen films in 70mm with 6 track magnetic sound was a revelation. It was here I first realised that tampering with a films presentation had a huge impact on its visual syntax which brings us to one of the corner stones of the documentary. If film is an art form then what would be considered the genuine article or the original experience? Shouldn’t the recording medium be inseparably intwined within that art work? Like the canvas a painter paints on? Many many projectionists, film practitioners, industry luminaries and countless others have given their time (both on and off screen) to make the comparisons, drive home the facts and reveal the surprises that make this film a two and half hour cineramic (yes, that’s not a typo) roadshow ride through the projected film experience, told mostly from the projectionists point of view.

More in 70mm reading:

"Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey", Crowd Funding Campaign

The HATEFUL 8 @ the SUN theatre

An exceptional run at the Sun

Internet link:

Among those who have been interviewed for “Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey" is Douglas Trumbull, Director & wide screen pioneer.

Among those who appear are:

Douglas Trumbull (Director & wide screen pioneer)
Leonard Maltin (Film critic)
Dennis Bartok (Director & Author)
David Strohmaier (Director and restorationist)
Randy Gitsch (Producer and restorationist)
Rob Stone (Library of Congress)
Rachel Del Gaudio (Library of Congress)
David Kilderry (Projectionist)
Pete Smith (Broadcaster)
Simon Owens (Broadcaster)
Philip Brady (Broadcaster)
Benjamin Tucker (Projectionist)
David Pierce (Library of Congress)
Sally Jackson (NFSA)
Lee Zachariah (Critic & film maker)
John Richards (Critic & film maker))
John Wilson (Projectionist)
Dick Rule (Projectionist)
Paul Brennan (Exhibitor)
Graeme Hodges (Hoyts theatre management)
Kevin Adams (IMAX projectionist)
Dan Halsted (Hollywood theatre Portland)
Kathryn Penny (Bradford Wide Screen Weekend)
Bill Lawrence (Pictureville Cinema & in70mm)
Ken Parfrey (Nova cinemas)
Chapin Cutler (Boston light & sound)

Plus many, many more.

Massive amounts of time and creative expertise have been freely given (mostly by my amazing cinematographer, Joanne Donahoe) but the project has been (up until recently) almost completely self funded. This accounts for the long gestation period. On the plus side, if we’d shot and finished this within a couple of years the story told would only be a mere slice of the big picture. I am currently putting final touches on the ‘Directors fine cut’ version. Following this begins the laborious task of tracking down and seeking the clearances for the many archival shots and music I hope to include. This will most certainly become an expensive endeavour, requiring a lot more money than our meagre budget can afford. We have one other Australian funding option to pursue and will certainly be doing so in the new year but I fear this will not be enough resulting in many stylistic compromises.

So in one form or another the film will be finished in the first part of 2021 and (Covid restrictions permitting) touring world festivals later that same year. A art house theatrical season and BluRay / DVD release will follow. So if anyone out there has deep pockets to help us create a truly lush soundtrack full of cinephile references, pop culture ditty’s and linch pins of film score music… there’s an associate producer credit going for sale. Ha ha (Half joking. Half serious). If you’d like to be kept updated with progress and eventual screening locations, why not visit our website at and hit the ‘subscribe’ button at the top right of screen. That will put you on my blog email feed.

Hope to see you somewhere in 2021.
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Updated 07-01-21