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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.

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Fish World

click image to play in Flash | Quicktime


At long last, Lost in Light is back, now settled in from a move to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

And, appropriately for a lovely summer day, we have a fishing satire for you, direct from the 1980s. I love these kinds of home movies – a true stab a moviemaking, complete with gross-out horror effects, slapstick comedy, and stunts performed on a moving truck.

Contributor Kurt Polzin of New York City fills us in:

In 1983, I was a student at the University of California, Davis. I happened across a Kodak Brownie 8mm movie camera at the thrift store one day and picked it up for $2. The film was still available at the drug store, as was the processing, which was $6 a roll. My roommate Mike and I made a couple of short films, each one roll long, and then we got an idea for our big film.

Growing up in the ’70s, we had both seen the fishing programs that aired on the weekends, and we marveled at how dull they were. We decided to do a parody of a fishing show called “Fish World.” I invested in two rolls of film and, on another trip to the thrift store, I found a fancier Kodak Brownie that had a 3-lens turret (normal, wide angle, and telephoto). We shot the film a few miles from campus at Putah Creek. One of the actors, our friend (who was also named Mike), loved fishing and brought all his equipment. We wrote all the sight gags together and shot it in a few hours.

The camera had automatic exposure and, as the sun got lower, the shots filmed facing into the sun grew more and more underexposed. The final scene, where the fishing guide jumps on the truck, was edited partially in the camera. I tried to edit in the camera whenever possible to save film and because I didn’t have a viewer. I did all my splicing with a magnifying glass!

After sending the film to Lost in Light, I emailed Mike and Mike to see if they wanted DVD copies of the film. We hadn’t been in contact for years. We caught up on each other’s lives and, in May 2007, I got together with Mike and his wife when they were visiting New York City. We made plans for both Mikes and I to get together in June and watch the DVD of “Fish World.”

Music: “I Can’t Hold it Down” by Andy Sullivan and “Ana’s Guitar, Open Window” by Gurdonark, courtesy of CCMixter