Making New Friends Through Movies: Meeting Kurt and Paul

If you are a classic film fan and follow the latest news about classic films, then you have probably heard of the documentary, These Amazing Shadows (2011).

If you are a classic film fan, you have probably met most of your closest friends online because die hard classic film lovers are few and far in between.

Over the past year, Hilary and I have enjoyed getting to know the directors of These Amazing Shadows: Kurt Norton and Paul Mariano.  They approached us to review their film before it aired on PBS in December 2011 (which can be read here).  We were so inspired by their love letter to films, we decided to invite them to present These Amazing Shadows to our university.  We asked them if they were interested, they said yes, and we started the long, long process of organizing the event.

One year and hundreds of emails later, Kurt and Paul finally arrived at our campus on Monday, March 4th, 2013.  It was one of the most memorable days of our university experience!  They are charming, vibrant, young-at-heart gentlemen.  Not a silent second passed between the four of us in the entire day we spent together.  We enjoyed each others’ company over lunch and an interview we will be releasing in the near future (it may be a two-part interview!).  It was a treat to be able to discuss deep topics surrounding film throughout the afternoon with these two intelligent men.  They are funny, too!  A quick glance at this picture will tell you how we all quickly formed a goofy bond among ourselves.

Katie giving Kurt the stink-eye as he documents Paul giving bunny ears to an oblivious Hilary.

Katie giving Kurt the stink-eye as he documents Paul giving bunny ears to an oblivious Hilary.

The people who attended the screening of These Amazing Shadows were enamoured with the documentary, its unique style, and of course, its subject of the love of Hollywood films and the need to preserve them.  The Q&A session following the screening was lively.  It was a joy to see the students clamouring to interact with Kurt and Paul after the Q&A was wrapped up.  All the hard work we put into the past year in raising funds, climbing out of pitfalls, and unwrapping ourselves from red tape was worth it!  Our day with Kurt and Paul scurried away far too quickly, and before we knew it, we were escorting them back to their car in the parking lot.  We started off the day shaking hands as long-distance acquaintances and hugged each other goodbye as good friends.

It is incredible to experience how networking can bring people unexpectedly together.  Through the shared passion for films, we had the honour and privilege of meeting two extraordinary men, sharing a day of our lives with them, and introducing a few aspects of Canadian culture to them.  Maybe it isn’t so fascinating how we met Kurt and Paul.  After all, you never know you will meet when you delve into the world of these amazing shadows…

Kurt Norton, Hilary, Katie, Dr. Katherine Spring (a huge help to us in organizing this event - thank you!), and Paul Mariano

Kurt Norton, Hilary, Katie, Dr. Katherine Spring (a huge help to us in organizing this event – thank you!), and Paul Mariano

These Amazing Shadows: Narcotically Nostalgic

Recently, we had the privilege to review the upcoming documentary, These Amazing Shadows, airing December 29th at 10pm EST on PBS (check your local listings).  We were tickled when we learned the filmmakers were nervous about our opinions on the documentary because there is no way we could have negative thoughts about their masterpiece.

In case you were wondering what this documentary entails, it is a love letter to films belonging to the National Film Registry.  Directors Kurt Norton and Paul Mariano focus on the importance of preservation and restoration, as these films are a snapshot of Western cultural history.  This documentary includes interviews with film aficionados and experts in the film industry such as Rob Reiner and Christopher Nolan.  Other appearances include classic film star Debbie Reynolds, modern day star Zooey Deschanel, and Gregory Peck’s son, Stephen Peck.

The filmmakers projected the contents of our hearts onscreen. These Amazing Shadows conjures a deeply engrained nostalgia and the only way to quell the beast is to watch these movies again.  We were reminded why we love films. The motto of The Scarlett Olive is “devoted to the memory of classic films.”  This is exactly what the message of the documentary portrays.  If we lose one film, we lose a piece of ourselves.  It is our job as citizens to protect our history and document the history in which we live in.

Norton and Mariano eloquently scold us for taking these celluloid gems for granted because we cannot be passive viewers.  If we are, then we would not understand how fortunate we are to have films and be able to see the art form and our collective history has evolved.  If this film doesn’t inspire you to take action or become a film preservationist/historian, we don’t know what will.  These Amazing Shadows is a necessary “must-see” for all self-proclaimed film lovers and scholars.