Liam McVittie develops his Super 8 film at LighterCyde film lab during a 24-hour filmmaking challenge, part of BC Youth Week. The films will be shown at the Civic Theatre during the Youth Film Festival later this month. Photo: Jake Sherman

VIDEO: 24 hours to film in Super 8

Nelson teenagers with old cameras made documentary films on Super 8 in one day

24 hours.

That’s all the time eight local teenagers had to shoot, direct, produce, score and edit a film. That’d be a challenge for any filmmaker.

But these students did it all on Super 8. They even developed the film by hand.

“You can’t play it back, and you have to develop it, and you just don’t know whether it’s going to turn out,” said Gabby Asbell, who spoke to a Star reporter while she developed her film.

“So seeing the images come out of the chemical bath is really cool. You’re kind of crossing your fingers that it worked. It’s a little like magic.”

The 24-hour project was the brainchild of Jason Asbell, a filmmaker and the programming director at the Civic Theatre. He’s also father of Gabby, who is a budding filmmaker in her own right.

Jason Asbell previously participated in a 24-hour project in film school at Simon Fraser University, and had been missing it for some time.

Then, earlier this year when Thomas Nowaczynski, 22, opened LighterCyde film lab, Asbell knew the time was right. He even had eight Super 8 cameras lying around. The only catch: getting the chemicals required to develop the Super 8 film can be extremely challenging.

Asbell got in touch with the chemical lab at L.V. Rogers, talked to Nowaczynski, ordered some esoteric developer from Montana, sought funding from the Nelson Lions, got in touch with Sarah Miles from the Nelson Youth Action Network, and made it happen. The event was part of B.C. Youth Week.

“For me I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for a generation that has never had an instant playback. This experience was amazing. In this control Z generation, it gives a different perspective that I think will only help their filmmaking,” said Asbell.

The kids involved in the project expressed how different the analog process was from some they were familiar with. Mason Voykin, 13, called it difficult, but also fun.

“I liked working together and combing ideas and melding them to make a single solid idea,” said Voykin. “It’s difficult to do all of this in 24 hours, but having the freedom over what you’re doing, it’s really fun.”

Nico Bucher expressed how different it was to not be able to go back and edit something in-camera.

“If you make a mistake, then you can’t just replace it. It’s not like digital, where you can just delete it and replace it,” said Bucher.

The students’ films were shown at LighterCyde on the evening of May 5. Their films were also developed there. The films will be also be shown alongside those made on cellphones at the youth film festival at the Civic Theatre later this month.

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Gabriel Jones plays with an old Super 8 camera during a 24-hour film fest hosted at Lightercyde lab. Photo: Jake Sherman

Jason Asbell helps Nico Bucher, 14, dry his film after it makes its way out of a chemical bath during a 24-hour filmmaking challenge at LighterCyde Lab. Photo: Jake Sherman

Jason Asbell and Thomas Nowaczynski address the crowd at Lightercyde film lab before students film are screened there during a 24-hour filmmaking challenge. Photo: Jake Sherman

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