As film continues down the road of discontinuations and production cuts in lieu of the growing digital age, there’s going to be a time in which most, if not all, types of film stock breathe their proverbial dying breaths and mark the last time specific types are used due to availability.
The latest occurrence of the aforementioned has come from an independent filmmaker and Burbank California native by the name of Paul Bunnell, a creative who might have been the last shoot an entire feature using Eastman Kodak Plus-X 5231 – the go-to 35mm black-and-white film stock of cinematographers for over the last half century.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Bunnell started production of a film called “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X” back in 2004 – a film which was intended to be shot entirely with Kodak Plus-X 5231 film. However, as is the case with many independent productions, funding fell a bit short about one-third of the way through, and it wasn’t until 2010, roughly a six-year after principal production, that cash began to flow back into the project.
When I started making the movie in 2004, Plus-X was Plus-X, you’d go buy it at Kodak…
…But when I got the rest of the money in 2010, a friend called me and said, ‘Hey, congratulations. By the way, how are you going to finish your film now that Plus-X is being discontinued?’ I said `What?
This led the resilient filmmaker to begin a search for Kodak Plus-X 5231 film, a hunt which Kodak themselves helped with, netting Bunnell over 90,000 feet of unexposed Plus-X stock – more than enough to finish filming his feature.
Interestingly enough, around the same time Bunnell secured the last of Plus-X, the majority of which was found in France, the creators of the Academy Award-winning film, “The Artist,” were also in search of the discounted film. Unfortunately, for them however, they had to shoot in color and digitally convert the scenes to black-and-white in post.
If you would like the chance to experience what’s being called “the last feature to be shot with Kodak Plus-X 5231,” then head on over to the Chinese 6 Theaters in the Hollywood, California this Wednesday, June 6th to check out “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.” Screenings start at 2:45p.m.