The Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell uses Super 8 film to get a shot. Photo: Submitted

The Civic Theatre’s Jason Asbell uses Super 8 film to get a shot. Photo: Submitted

LARGE POPCORN, EXTRA BUTTER: Super things unfolding at The Civic Theatre

Jason Asbell writes about the return to the theatre, and the upcoming Super 8 youth challenge

by Jason Asbell

The Civic Theatre returns in June 2021! We’re super excited to announce that our theatre doors will most likely reopen this week with A Quiet Place Part II. The Province of B.C. is slowly lifting restrictions on businesses, including movie theatres. If all goes as planned, we expect to see the doors of The Civic Theatre reopened on Friday, June 18. We expect capacity to be limited to start, so be sure to check our schedule and get your tickets early at civictheatre.ca/whats-on and come watch super couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski on the big screen.

What are the other upcoming, super happenings at The Civic? We’re returning to our analogue roots with our 2021 1 Day/1 Roll Super 8 Youth Film Challenge; a free opportunity for youth, 14-19-years-old, to step back in time and shoot and process their own Super 8 movie on July 7 to 9.

COVID-19 has shown us that Zoom can replace the in-person face-to-face meeting and that watch parties can substitute for the in-venue group screening in a pinch. However, if our 2020 COVID full digital pivot of the 1 Day/1 Roll Super 8 Youth Film Challenge taught us anything, it is that you can’t replace the hands-on experience of shooting with analogue film and processing it with honest, real-to-touch, homemade photochemistry. For this reason, and the incremental relaxing of health restrictions, The Civic Theatre is happy to be able to offer the 2021 edition of its signature free youth workshop as a hybrid model that is both COVID safe and hands-on immersive.

What is the 1 Day/1 Roll Super 8 Youth Film Challenge? For those of you not with it, analogue motion picture film, light converted silver grain impressions on a physical strip of celluloid, is like the vinyl LP to your streaming mp3 playlist, oils and Sable brush to your Microsoft Paint or Egyption cotton to your polyester. And if large format 35mm or 70mm film is the realm of the Tarantinos and Nolans of the cinematic world, the medium of small gauge Super 8mm film, with the added element of coaxing out those impressions, not in a lab, but through a tepid bath in a safe homemade chemical brew made up of coffee, vitamin-C powder and washing soda, is nothing short of poetry to your Ikea assembly instructions. With the random chance elements built into the mechanical 70’s Super 8 film camera and the DIY nature of the hand developing process, every LIATORP bookcase may come out looking distinctly different than the last, but that’s entirely the point.

On the eve of July 7, via a Zoom meeting, Day 1 of the workshop will provide an intro to basic photographic principles, Super 8 camera operation, a discussion on working inside limitation as a freeing creative exercise followed by an overview of the rules of the challenge.

On the morning of July 8, each participant will pick-up a Super 8 camera and a single roll of Black and White Super 8 film (three mins 20 seconds runtime) to shoot a silent, in-camera edited film and report back in staggered times 24 hours later to hand process their roll of film. The films will then be spooled up straight from the chemistry to be assembled for a class screening where the filmmakers will get to see their films for the very first time along with a public audience at The Civic Drive-In prior to the feature on July 9.

Spaces are limited, so if this sounds like an adventure you or someone you know may want to partake of, visit https://www.civictheatre.ca/super-8-youth for more information and to apply. Workshops are also running in Winlaw, July 6 to 8, or in Trail, July 14 to 16, if those times and/or locations are a better fit.

Jason Asbell is the programming director and kitchen chemist for The Civic Theatre.