Such sad news, the film lab at Park Road Post is to close – this is a lab that has been operating since 1941, and has processed some of New Zealand’s most iconic films. Its bitter irony that of my entire careers work, my favourite projects were all shot on 35mm film, and I am not casting the net very far back in time to say that. Recent favourite projects shot on film include THE ORATOR in 2011, BOY in 2010, and EMPEROR in 2012. So if digital is THE answer, why were these projects shot on film?
That is the most sad aspect of this news: a creative choice has been removed from film making in New Zealand. No longer can a cinematographer or DOP in New Zealand ask what is the best medium for a project. The format is now dictated to them: it will HAVE to be digital. And given that New Zealands most experienced & imho best cinematographers are people who love to shoot film (Leon Narbey, Alun Bollinger, Stuart Dryburgh) I cannot start to imagine how this very sad news effects them.
But on a slightly more positive note, despite Park Road Post being ‘the last Lab standing’ I can say without a doubt that shortly that won’t be true. While they will become a part of history, a new boutique lab that I happen to know has been in R&D for the last 2 years is nearing launch. I understand it won’t be offering 35mm processing, (nor could they likely cope with an entire feature films worth of rushes) but as with the rebirth of polaroid, something very interesting will rise from the ashes… Film’s dead! Long live Film!