Australia’s last remaining motion picture film processor contemplates the impact his impending retirement will have on the future of film in Australia.
Interview with Director W.A.M. Bleakley & Lucy Knox
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
LK: We got to know Neglab founder Werner Winkelmann as he’s processed our previous 16mm short films, and realised Werner is just one man upholding all of the processing in Australia and New Zealand.
WB: If Neglab closes, there will be no one left to process 16mm and 35mm film in Australia or New Zealand. We made our film because we love shooting on real film, and we are very worried about this tradition being lost. Werner is also a legend, and we think telling his story to a larger audience is important to keep film alive.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
WB: Werner is hilarious.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
WB: Our film is about the tradition of film processing in Australia, and the burden that Werner feels to carry on this tradition as the last remaining craftsman in the industry. This is a feeling shared by craftspeople in different disappearing industries all over the world.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
LK: There wasn’t really that much time to gestate; which I like. Bill had the idea to do the film at the end of December; we shot it in the first week of January. We had a one day shoot, and about a four day edit. It was the quickest thing we’ve ever made.
After the shoot, we drove from Sydney to Melbourne and listened to the audio recording of our interview with Werner; then we tried to plan the edit on the drive back.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
LK: We’ve just had our first screening a few days ago, but already had some interest from the local film industry, particularly cinematographers.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
LK: We just really want to get Werner’s story out there; that he is the last remaining motion picture processor in Australia, and he wants to pass this skillset onto someone else.
It’d be great if people could band together and find a solution, perhaps a processing lab run by a collective or production company would be the most sustainable solution. Most of the 16mm film work is coming out of Melbourne too, so it could be good to base it out of there.
We also want Werner’s contribution to the Australian film industry to be recognised.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
LK: We had a great screening at Tropfest, and it would be great if more festival programmers could program the film to get it to a wider audience.
Would you like to add anything else?
LK: I think people automatically assume shooting film is prohibitively more expensive but if you do the research; a lot of the time that’s not necessarily the case. With short films and music videos, a lot of the time you can pick up a really nice camera for cheap on Ebay, for a lot less than it would cost to hire a digital cinema camera for a day. In short, Last Man Standing was the cheapest short film we’ve ever made.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
LK: We’re currently co writing a feature drama, based on one of our previous shorts; and both writing our own narrative shorts separately.
I’m in the research phase of another documentary; something I’ve known about for a long time and am finally getting to start to make. It’s the project I’m more excited about than anything.
Interview: February 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Last Man Standing
Australia’s last remaining motion picture film processor, contemplates the impact his impending retirement will have on the future of film in Australia.
Last Man Standing is a reflection upon one man’s burden; when he is all that stands in the way of a tradition being lost.
Length: 5 minutes
Director: W.A.M. Bleakley & Lucy Knox
Producer: W.A.M. Bleakley
About the writer, director and producer:
W.A.M. Bleakley (Co Director, Producer)
W.A.M. Bleakley began making short films in 2011 in Canberra, teaching himself the craft of writing and directing through a series of obscure films about magpies. Bleakley’s last film A Birthday Party was based on a brutal true Australian story and shot on 16mm cine film. It was a Dendy Awards finalist at Sydney Film Festival 2017 and it also screened at Melbourne International Film Festival in 2017.
Lucy Knox (Co Director, Editor)
Lucy Knox is a Melbourne based writer, director and cinematographer. Her 2016 documentary I Will Treasure Your Friendship, gives incredible access to a Youtube singer who frequently photoshops himself into the lives of celebrities and an Australian murder victim, leading him to subsequently become adopted into one of these families. Her works often deal with identity crisis and loneliness, perceived in heightened realities, and stylised worlds.
Key cast: Werner Winkelmann
Social media handles:
Instagram: @lucyvknox @wambleakley
Made in association with: Swagman Films
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? ABC Iview