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The more digital the world, the more analog our dreams.
A feature documentary shot on 35mm film.
The more digital the world, the more analog our dreams. A feature documentary shot on 35mm film.
337 backers pledged €35,932 to help bring this project to life.

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€35,932

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"The more digital the world the more analog the dreams." Doc

An Impossible Project tells the story of the people who saved the last Polaroid factory in the world. It is an ambitious feature documentary, started in 2013, filmed over a period of several years, and, of course, not on a digital format, but on 35mm. It could be the last documentary shot this way.  

So, our Kickstarter goal is all about '35' - bringing together 350 backers, to raise €35.000, and to do this over the next 35 days. This will allow the film to close its financing and go into full production.

We want to keep analog film alive. We want to keep analog life alive. If you are an analog lover too - be part of our project.

We kick off the campaign with a day filming at Impossible's old Polaroid factory in Enschede, Holland. If all goes well, and you support us, we will end the campaign 35 days later with a day of filming at another great analog institution, Jack White's Third Man Records in Detroit. Join us live on both 35mm film shoots via the new Kickstarter feed.

Read on to find out more about the film and how you can support us. Most of all, don't hold back: Pledge a small amount, send us comments, send us questions, join us on set, let's fill some cinemas to watch the film together. 

What is the film about?

At its core, it tells the story of the self-professed crazy, charming, dogged and visionary Austrian, Dr. Florian Kaps - the world knows him simply as Doc - and his crusade for everything analog, instant photography especially. Doc decided to save the last Polaroid factory in the world, and started a wonderfully incongruous company called The Impossible Project.

What once was a massive worldwide brand - Polaroid - has now become a hip Berlin start-up, run by a group of young people around an inspired engineer called Oskar, who's not yet thirty years old. Their quest is taking on the impossible, a David vs. Goliath challenge of reinventing the near-extinct 20th icon Polaroid for the digital generation.

Why would you do this? That's what I want to explore with this film. Polaroid is synonymous with the good we are in danger of losing as the world around us turns corporate and digital. Unless we put up a fight.

Each Polaroid is unique, and unique is something people seem deeply in need of.  It is a powerful theme: People seem to yearn for something "else": something warm, emotional, individual. This is about the choices we make in our lives. 'Authenticity' is the keyword of a generation.  Things you can touch. And that touch you.

Screenshot of our actual 35mm footage
Screenshot of our actual 35mm footage

The main characters

Doc and Oskar. Their vision, dreams, their failures, their determination and motivation to keep something seemingly obsolete alive take us through the story. There was the day they found out that, yes, they had saved the factory and persuaded 25 former staff to return – but that the formula for Polaroid had been lost. Irrevocably. Impossible had to start from scratch, and eight years later they are still trying to recreate that formula.

At its inception Doc's Impossible Project was a retro dream. But for Oskar and his crew of cosmopolitan Berliners, Impossible is about  creative tools for today, not about saving the past. They have just launched the world's first all-new Polaroid camera since the 1980's, the I-1. Developed by Oskar, this is a beautiful and functional analog camera which interacts digitally with an app. 

Doc/Oskar
Doc/Oskar

Meanwhile, Doc in Vienna - converted a 19th Century Doge's Palace into what he calls "the world's first analog delicatessen"; a one-of-a-kind experimental department store where you can record direct-to-disc LPs, programme smells with memories, or use their message-in-a-bottle machine. Supersense is an analog wonderland with a purpose - to keep the flag flying, to be a hub for disciples of the cause, and to show that there is a future in analog.

Like Impossible Supersense is a movement. It is David vs. Goliath, the classic underdog story of the passionate analog good guys vs. the sterile world order of the digital corporations. 

Doc in the analog wonderland with a purpose
Doc in the analog wonderland with a purpose

The film will take us to two cities, Berlin and Vienna, which have become antipodes in the digital/analog spectrum. Berlin is the young, hip, fast start-up hub of Europe; Vienna proudly considers itself the "Analog Capital of the World", slow, olde, conscientious. Nonetheless, it's a global story, so we will also be filming in Holland, London, New York.

The Polaroid/Impossible narrative will serve as the anchor as the film launches from there into a wider encounter with analog lifestyles and people who made a decision not to take the digital deluge lying down.

There are many fascinating variations to this story of authenticity and values - art, music, photography, science. From New55 to Ferrania to 20x24 Studio to ARRI to Kodak to Slow Food and even Slow Cities.

Carefully composed cinematography visuals and great archive footage, galvanized by a sprinkling of celebrity. Jack White is an analog entrepreneur with 'Third Man Records'. Lady Gaga was Polaroid's spokeswoman, with a twist. Quentin Tarantino is saving 35mm movies and Benedict Cumberbatch invented a hugely popular charity show, 'Letters Live', which revolves around reading out real people's letters. Anyone who was been anyone seems to show-up with - or on - a Polaroid - from Andy Warhol to Fidel Castro to Patti Smith.

 Why this film and why 35mm?

There was no way this story could be filmed on a digital format.

When Doc discovered the Polaroid universe, already reeling from the digital revolution, the bug bit him and he dedicated his life to saving the old brand. When I met Doc, that too, was a contagious moment. Doc embodies this magnificent, irresistable analog stubbornness - a bit Don Quixotish, but filled with optimism and passion - that simply won't let us yield to the digital corporate giants just yet. Doc believes that the more digital our world gets, the more analog our dreams become. 

If you, too, want to be infected, join in, make your mark for the last remaining analog things and help us tell their indelible story. 

Filming on 35mm today is a riff on the challenges and opportunities of the analog approach: It is more expensive and has limitations to be taken into account but the thinking and focus required is almost liberation from the tyranny of 'just-let-it-roll'-digital. Finding solutions for the filmmaking on 35mm is an extension of what the documentary itself is about.

Launch of the I-1 camera at Moma, New York
Launch of the I-1 camera at Moma, New York

 

Bob & Doc @ Enschede
Bob & Doc @ Enschede

 

The coalition of the willing supporting our venture

I started the project with some research and a first few days of filming just toying with the idea of tackling a 35mm documentary. Since then, I've been able to slowly build a growing list of experienced and dedicated film partners.

There's ARRI, legendary camera maker, still fully supporting 35mm technology, ARRI turns 100 years in 2017 and has come onboard as co-producer. When we first discussed this project, my instinctive reaction was to go for film, of course, but using the standard set-up of Super16mm. ARRI persuaded me that this story is worth going all the way, and that only 35mm will truly set An Impossible Project apart from any digital format.

Kodak is the last maker of 35mm motion picture stock. Even when they were a huge corporation, they have always been supportive of innovative ventures. That has not changed, and they are coming through on Impossible and on Kickstarter.

Films Distribution is our Paris-based sales company, known for films such as this year's Oscar-winner Son of Saul, shot on 16mm. In fact, FD-founder François Ion so believes in the future of storytelling on real film that he's considering a film-only division.

Delphi, the legendary German distributor, was my first partner on Russian Ark, back in the day (a digital film, I have to admit.).

We are processing at Andec Filmtechnik in Berlin. One of the last 35mm labs in Europe and a family business for 80 years. Andec had been almost forgotten but stuck it out with analog and is now the world's No.1 Super 8mm lab. Plus making a comeback on 35mm.

Kickstarter. You! You are analog, too. Please support our film, help us keep this project moving. Leave your mark. Join in with comments, questions, your analog experience. And, of course, your pledge.

Doc  +  Jens
Doc + Jens

The filmmaker. My name is Jens Meurer and I am what they like to call "an award-winning director and producer" in the  blurb on the back of DVD boxes. More realistically, my day job is producing feature films. But my nighttime passion has always been documentaries, ever since I got my start at the Leningrad Documentary Film Studio in 1990.

You might know some of my films - Public Enemy, Russian Ark, Carlos, Rush - and I did win at least one gong (European Film Award for Documentary 1995). What you probably don't know is  that - somewhat tellingly - I bought four identical /8 Mercedes cars back in 1985 so that I would never, ever, until the end of my life, have to drive anything that beeps at me electronically. I still run them today.

To make sure this doesn't get too weird, there is a wonderful team of filmmakers joining me on this Impossible journey. Co-writer Franziska Kramer, two fascinating, film-savvy DoPs, Bernd Fischer and Torsten Lippstock, Alex Berner and Zenon Kristen in the editing room and many others.

Digital natives will leave no mark. Instagram (Polaroid's digital bastard), iCloud and Spotify - they are all fleeting. Instant gratification, not lasting value. Fast Food for the mind.

Analog promises to be more than that: meaningful, real, lasting. Soul food, not low carb. Is that true, however? Is there value in values, or are we chasing a quaint pipe dream? This is a question more and more people are becoming engaged in. This film sets out to provide an entertaining, beautiful, thought-provoking answer.

Good Question
Good Question

 

Risks and challenges

I've been developing and producing films for more than 25 years. If I believe in something I am very persistent.

"An Impossible Project"is a film I believe in 100%. I know it's a universal, powerful story with great protagonists; I have been researching it for four years and am closely linked to the various and growing number of participants.

I also know that it taps into a theme that is beginning to move more and more people around the world.

We are solid, it is a realistic prospect. At this stage, roughly 65% of the film is financed, through development funding, some equity, a co-production, and grants from two German cultural funds. With 65% already financed, and 11 shooting days in the can, it will be completed.

The Kickstarter funds are crucial to cover the next five days filming, thus being able to keep up with an unfolding story - on 35mm. Kickstarter will keep the project alive and moving forward.

This will als help trigger the final chunks of funding coming in, for example German-French broadcaster Arte. And we want the campaign create a community around the film and its partners.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €3 or more About $4

    One of 350

    To get a single signed “35 - We made it” Impossible Pola with Oskar, Doc and Jens.

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    Pledge €5 or more About $6

    Support us, get a credit on our website

    Show your support for our film, get your name onto our website and receive regular updates on the project.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge €10 or more About $12

    Get a real credit in the film

    Become part of history and help us make the film that will have your name in the Special Thanks in the end credits - on 35mm. Plus regular updates, of course.

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    Pledge €10 or more About $12

    Digital Download - in the analog world!

    Digital in the Analog world!
    Get the HD Digital Download of the film. We want to be as analog as possible, but there have been numerous requests to bring back the HD download of the film upon its release. How can we refuse? This is what we’ve come up with by means of safeguarding our analog purity while giving you what you like/want/need. We’ve always liked buying an LP and getting a download link at the same time. So we’re now offering a free download of the film with every cinema ticket you pledge. Best of both worlds. And if you’re not around for one of the screenings - just enjoy the film at home.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €12 or more About $15

    Get a 35mm bookmark.

    A real 35mm film print from our dailies makes a truly unique bookmark.

    This reward is PURE analog. Get an 15 cm bookmark made of exclusive 35 mm film print frames from our doc.. The only motion picture format that could be played in any cinema in the world, until digital projection largely took over and there is no more reassuring wobble and flicker that reminds you you are in a CINEMA!

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    Pledge €15 or more About $19

    Your own 35mm premiere - Berlin

    We want to get a minimum of 100 people together for a special 35mm screening of the film in your city. With the filmmakers present. Plus regular updates until that day.

    For each additional ticket add only €13 to your pledge!

    If you want to give your city a go, and it is not listed here, contact us!

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    Pledge €15 or more About $19

    Your own 35mm premiere - Vienna

    We want to get a minimum of 100 people together for a special 35mm screening of the film - in your city. With the filmmakers
    present. Plus regular updates until that day.

    For each additional ticket add €13 to your pledge.

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    Pledge €15 or more About $19

    Your own 35mm premiere - New York

    We want to get a minimum of 100 people together for a special 35mm screening of the film - in your city. With the filmmakers present. Plus regular updates until that day.

    For each additional ticket add €13 to your pledge..

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge €15 or more About $19

    Your own 35mm premiere - Paris

    We want to get a minimum of 100 people together for a special 35mm screening of the film - in your city. With the filmmakers present. Plus regular updates until that day.

    For each additional ticket add only €13 to your pledge.

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    2 backers
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    Pledge €15 or more About $19

    Your own 35mm premiere - London

    We want to get a minimum of 100 people together for a special 35mm screening of the film - in your city. With the filmmakers present. Plus regular updates until that day.

    For each additional ticket add only €13 to your pledge.

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    Pledge €20 or more About $25

    35 Countdown Combo - Limited Edition

    A ticket to one of the 35mm previews of the film in a major city OR the online download PLUS a real credit in the finished film (on 35mm) for € 20. AND: Talk to us bout combinations. Kickstarter does not allow for more than one pledge. But mny of you are interested in more than one reward. We can agree this through messages. Keep the questions coming! Thank you for all your support, Jens

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    Pledge €35 or more About $43

    Special Screening @Impossible Lab

    Watch the film together with some of our protagonists in a one off screening at Impossible Lab in Berlin. An extraordinary cinema experience.

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge €35 or more About $43

    Unique behind-the-scenes Polaroids

    Get a set of three behind-the-scenes signed Impossible instant photos sent to your home address.

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    Pledge €35 or more About $43

    The Los Angeles 35mm screening

    To get THREE tickets for the additional Los Angeles 35mm premiere of the film, added after many requests from LA. By the way: ALL 35mm screenings that you have supported WILL take place in the cities listed. We’ll make up the numbers on the day.

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    Pledge €50 or more About $62

    Signed BluRay of the film.

    Get a signed HD BluRay of 'An Impossible Project'.
    Who signs? Either Oskar, Doc or Jens himself.

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    Pledge €85 or more About $105

    Limited Impossible Edition 600 film.

    Collector Edition of IMPOSSIBLE 600 film..
    Get two packs of instant film, especially designed for this documentary.

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    Pledge €145 or more About $179

    Impossible Coffee Table Book

    Get one of the limited edition photo books of 'An Impossible Project', signed by our contributors. Filled with stills and 35mm frames from the research and shooting period, as well behind-the-scenes-shots and Polaroid pics we took. A wonderful collector's item and a great present.

    For each additional book add €135 to your pledge.

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    Pledge €350 or more About $433

    Meet the Team! Oskar & Workshop, Berlin

    Meet Oskar Smolokowski from IMPOSSIBLE and get a Instant Workshop in the Headquarter. A basic science tutorial on how Instant Photography, Polaroid and Impossible actually work. *Travel & Accommodation not included.

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    Pledge €350 or more About $433

    Meet the Team! Doc & 20x24 portrait

    Meet Florian 'Doc' Kaps in Vienna, visit his spectacular Supersense emporium and get your unique Polaroid 20x24 Portrait. Taken by Supersense's ultra-rare original Large Format Polaroid Camera. Meet the team there and take your portrait back home. *Travel & Accommodation not included.

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    Pledge €350 or more About $433

    Meet the Team! Director & Film Lab

    Meet the director Jens Meurer and go on an amazing analog journey. Visit Andec Filmtechnik, one of the last 35mm labs in Europe and a family business for 70 years. Andec had been almost forgotten but stuck it out with analog, and is now the world's No.1 Super 8mm lab.
    *Travel & Accommodation not included.

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    Pledge €350 or more About $433

    Pledge of Pledges - complete us!

    Three sumptuous signed coffee table books of the film + signed DVD + credit in the film (stand-alone for the first to pledge this.)

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    Pledge €600 or more About $743

    Get the new I-1 camera//plus

    Purchase the future!

    Get the new Impossible I-1 camera in a signed original box, plus the Impossible Photo book signed, plus a batch of special edition of the documentary edition Impossible film .

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    Pledge €800 or more About $990

    Join us on set!

    Join us on one of our 35mm shoots! Get to know the team and see and feel some real 35mm film being exposed for the documentary.
    (*Travel & Accommodation not included.)

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    Pledge €850 or more About $1,052

    The Film on Vinyl - a Rarity

    One of the most unusual film rewards, ever. The entire feature-lenght documentary on a three-disk VinylVideo collector's edition triple LP. A traditional LP with sound and picutre, which can be played back on any ordinary record player and any TV - using Supersense's own high-quality audio-visual phono pre-amp (included). VinylVideo is an invention by Gebhard Sengmüller, Günter Erhart and Martin Diamant.

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    Pledge €1,250 or more About $1,547

    Take your friends to the Premiere

    An invitation for up to four friends to attend the official premiere of the film in either Germany, France, Britain or the US. Includes the red carpet, the reception and a framed photo with cast and crew. Add €1000 for each additional four guests. *Does not include travel and accommodation

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    Pledge €7,000 or more About $8,665

    Your personal 35mm Premiere!

    Enjoy a private, dedicated 35mm screening of 'An Impossible Project' in your home city (possible in New York, Berlin, Vienna and many other cities where we can locate a cinema with projectors). Bring up to 100 friends, subject to seat availability in cinema.

    (Popcorn included; travel & accommodation not)

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    Pledge €7,000 or more About $8,665

    One of ten limited 35mm film prints.

    A limited, numbered, signed original 35mm print struck from the first negative of 'An Impossible Project'. Plus shipping.

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Funding period

- (35 days)