"Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey" 2020
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The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Rob (Bert) Murphy, Australia
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.
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
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.
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"Splice Here: A Projected
Odyssey", Crowd Funding Campaign
The HATEFUL 8 @ the SUN theatre
An exceptional run at the Sun
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
www.splicehere.website 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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