- Category: More Top Stories
- Published on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 18:05
- Written by Valentina I. Valentini
Alyssa Bolsey’s new documentary Beyond the Bolex is about her great-grandfather Jacques Bolsey, the inventor of the iconic Bolex motion picture camera. Before taking on the project, the filmmaker didn’t know about her family patriarch’s claim to fame, as his name wasn’t included in cinematic history books. During a trip home, Bolsey pulled out her great-granddad’s personal 1927 Bolex and was surprised when the documents revealed that he was the camera’s inventor. It was quite a discovery, especially for an aspiring filmmaker.
Produced by Bolsey, Caryn Capotosto and Cinematographer Camilo Lara Jr., Beyond the Bolex follows the historical trajectory of the camera, from its invention to its current re-incarnation in today’s digital age. “Last year we went to Switzerland to research and conduct pre-interviews for the documentary,” said Lara Jr. while promoting the doc at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. “While we were there, we met with Bolex International, and Alyssa had asked Marc Ueter [about] the future of Bolex. He said there was something [in the works] and smirked but wouldn’t mention anything specific.” Meanwhile, back in the states, Digital Bolex was preparing its launch of the digital version of the 16mm camera at SXSW 2012. “We had no idea that this is was what Marc was referring to, but right away we saw those parallels that were uncanny,” added Lara Jr. “It wasn’t just that they took the name, but the whole concept behind the camera was to make it available to anyone at a reasonable price, and [for it] to have a high-quality image.”
In addition to exploring the story of the camera’s enigmatic inventor, Beyond the Bolex will parallel a contemporary tale about Joe Rubenstein and Elle Schneider, two underdog inventors who are taking Bolsey’s invention into the 21st century. Their Digital Bolex is a camera that has undergone beta testing in 2012, and the first 100 will ship out within the next couple of months. The doc will also point out similarities between the industry’s use of the Bolex 16mm and the democratization of filmmaking with DSLRs over the last decade. “[My great-grandfather] was living at a time when filmmaking was an elite art form,” noted Bolsey during SXSW. “He wanted to make it so that everyday people could make films too.” Lara added, “He was very inspired by the humanities and the ability to make art. He seemed to have wanted to disseminate that to as many people as possible. We don’t know exactly why, but that’s what we’re trying to discover by making this documentary.”
While the latest Bolex camera may begin a new era of digital filmmaking, the company could still ensure that film will never entirely go away. This is evidenced by the ad campaigns for Dos Equis beer, which have used the Bolex 16mm camera and film stock to shoot the iconic “The Most Interesting Man in the World” TV spots for the last six years.
To view the Kickstarter campaign, visit: http://kck.st/WfgVO0