Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts

Dec 2, 2022

One Year Into Production on the Documentary

One year ago I announced that my new documentary about the Monarch Theatre had been greenlit - a largely unknown (outside of my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta) historic cinema with a really unique backstory.

No surprises, it's come to define a lot of my 2022.

Production updates, exploration, title reveals, behind the scenes, media releases, etc. It's been fun to share parts of this process (if for no other reason) because uncovering the history of a century old cinema, its origins and evolution, etc. lead me down a few rabbit holes that I needed help climbing out of (so to speak).

Monarch Theatre Documentary Luke Fandrich

Through months of research, interviews, filming, more research, delays, and seemingly endless editing I'm able to finally share that the project is ... still not done. But, we're close-ish ... at least closer. All the puzzle pieces are built and the outside edges are done.
So while a 2023 release is imminent, I'm feeling more and more excited about what's coming up in these final months.
Which begs the question, would anyone like to see an actual sneak peek of the documentary if I decided to release a preview early? Because the trailer is ready and I'm hyped lol.

Sep 1, 2022

Post-Production Extended on Monarch Documentary

In an alternate timeline I'd be celebrating the completion of "Your Cinema Needs You", my latest feature length documentary, this one about the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. In production since the beginning of 2022, the project entered post-production this summer and had originally been scheduled for completion by the end of August. Well, that didn't happen.

Canadas Oldest Movie Theatre Cinema Documentary
Overall, early reception to teasers, previews, and behind the scenes images from the documentary have all been well received throughout production and there's no question that a lot of progress on this story has been made over the last few months. While nothing has gone wrong per se, it just became clear in early assembly that there was a lot more material to go through and distill than was feasible within the existing timeline - particularly because as it turned out I'd amassed enough material from this 110+ year history to make a mini-series.

The newly revised timeline will still see the documentary completed this year, but there's still a lot to do and a lot of uncertainty about what may actually happen to the Monarch Theatre in this time. Everyone is still being pretty hush-hush about what may "officially" happen to this old cinema. That said, as things continue to be refined and take shape I'm only getting more excited to reveal the incredible amount of effort that's gone into producing this story. 

"Your Cinema Needs You" is going to be amazing! With any luck we'll be able to debut it at the Monarch Theatre upon its completion. Please stay tuned for further updates.

Canadas Oldest Movie Theatre Cinema Documentary

Monarch Documentary Editing Luke Fandrich

Canadas Oldest Movie Theatre Cinema Documentary


Aug 14, 2022

Cinema Illustrations: Monarch Documentary

Early into production of "Your Cinema Needs You" it was clear that existing archival material was going to be an issue, and so I went in search of an artist to commission original drawings exclusively for the documentary.

Cue, Leanne Stock. I don't want to give too much away yet, but here are some of the original drawings (of just the Monarch) that she completed for the production. What makes a lot of the shots additionally impressive is that I asked that they all be drawn from the same perspective even though a lot of the archival images were not from that angle. She nailed it!

Just one of numerous details that has made this project such a collaborative undertaking. Thanks again, Leanne, for the incredible illustrations!

Leanne Stock Artwork Monarch Theatre

Aug 10, 2022

Title Reveal: Your Cinema Needs You

Title reveal / teaser poster: I'm happy to finally share that my upcoming feature length documentary on the Monarch Theatre is called Your Cinema Needs You.

Spanning the 110+ year history of a single screen cinema, Your Cinema Needs You is an exploration of "what might just be" the oldest surviving movie theatre in all of Canada.

From its origins to its reinventions to the numerous other cinemas it outlasted along the way, Your Cinema Needs You takes place against the backdrop of the Monarch's uncertain future and looks at why the cinema experience, in general, is still worth saving. 

Release date TBD. Late 2022.

Monarch Documentary Editing Luke

Jul 8, 2022

Interview Edits: Monarch Documentary

Working on long form documentaries requires being a bit ruthless with how much you have to cut. After 3 weeks of review about 90% of the raw interview footage has hit the cutting room floor and it's still too much to fit into a feature length edit. It's a process.

That said, I'd like to think it's an indication of how much fun filming was that I have so much material to comb through. More quick updates to come as assembly of the Monarch documentary kicks into high gear through July. 

Monarch Documentary Interviews

Jun 12, 2022

May 18, 2022

Production Winding Down & New Edit Suite

Since getting back from travel shoots earlier this month it's been an exhausting blur. 

Production on the Monarch documentary is finally winding down as post-production ramps up for June. There are still a lot of moving pieces behind the scenes, a bit more b-roll scheduled, but it's exciting to finally have a grasp on just how much has been uncovered for this movie. 

Luke Fandrich Filmmaker Documentary

The final interview of the doc was filmed today and just last week I finished building the new edit suite .... although full disclosure, I immediately changed the desktop backdrops to a neutral image after snapping the picture of the build. I'm just a few steps away from the full on Minority Report screens lol - but it's cool to have so much versatility between layouts / displays.

Mostly, I just wanted to share how excited I am to see this all coming together after the months so many people have invested into making this possible. We're just a few more months away from having a finished movie. Stay tuned as these last few chapters unfold.

Luke Fandrich Filmmaker Documentary

Apr 21, 2022

Documentary Production Continues

Production on the Monarch documentary has been ongoing this month. 

This week I've been following up on rumors about several artifacts / stories surrounding the Monarch Theatre. I literally examined screw placements on vintage chairs over the weekend lol. I crawled on my hands and knees through a century of basement cobwebs in search of another secret hatch. And, perhaps best of all, yesterday I successfully acquired an untapped collection of images featuring the former neon marquees lit up two decades ago.

Piece by piece we're pulling this thing together. Post-production is on the horizon. Now, how cool would it be if we could invite everyone back and premiere this in the old Monarch?

Monarch Documentary

Monarch Documentary

Apr 9, 2022

Talk of the Towne: Theatre Memories

This weekend I posed a question on my socials targeted at Medicine Hat, Alberta locals to share their movie memories from the former Towne Theatre. Closed in 2007, this was once the spot to see all of the biggest flicks when they came to the Hat. The responses were excellent.

Production on the documentary briefly moved into the Towne last month to capture some new footage of the abandoned movie theatre. You can expect new interviews, images, and the history of this former landmark theatre to appear in the finished film. 

Towne Theatre Medicine Hat

Towne Theatre Medicine Hat

Mar 21, 2022

Pieces of the Monarch: Collector's Prints

These framed prints are from a BRAND NEW collection titled "Pieces of the Monarch" photographed during the production of the new Monarch Theatre documentary being shot in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Composed entirely of artifacts found throughout the Monarch Theatre, these flat lays showcase over a century of theatre mementos in a series of (4) original prints photographed in the basement of one of Canada's oldest surviving cinemas.

Each print is 8x10" and comes in your choice of a black or white frame (with included white matte) and measures 13x17". Each print is also hand-signed and stamped on the reverse by photographer and documentary director Luke Fandrich, and includes a collector's note from the "Pieces of the Monarch" series.

Regular $125 - each print is on special for $80 as part of this limited release flash sale.

Shipping: Local delivery in Medicine Hat is FREE. Worldwide shipping is available for a flat fee of $30 (for up to 4 framed prints per order).

Framed prints available for selection:

A - Vintage boxes, tubes, capacitors, sprockets, and projector parts.

B - Carbon rods, the lamp house fuel of a 1940s projector.

C - 35mm film rolls, platter control plate, and leftover springs.

D - Fuses, circuits, shipping tags, and Simplex projector parts.

Thank you for the incredible support shown on this latest project!

Proceeds from the sale of these framed prints will directly fund the continued production of this documentary due to be released in the fall of 2022.

Mar 16, 2022

Documentary Production at the Towne Theatre

Documentary production briefly moved centre stage this week with some exploration of the abandoned spaces within the former Towne Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Those who remember seeing movies here would now be hard pressed to recognize this interior as the cinema it once was, but there are still a few clues hiding within these walls.

Towne Theatre Medicine Hat

It's a strange feeling to return to a place you so actively remember from your own childhood, not least of which because you find yourself tapping into memories you didn't know you still had. Each step just gets me a little more excited about how this documentary is coming together.

This stage of production has become about rounding out a lot of the specific visuals inspired by the stories collected during numerous interviews at the nearby Monarch Theatre. Creating a record of a lot of these forgotten spaces has been a real bonus.

Mar 11, 2022

Searching For Monarch Theatre Artifacts

I need your help Medicine Hat, Alberta.
With production of the Monarch Theatre documentary well underway, it's become increasingly clear that there is an extreme lack of artifacts surrounding any of the movie theatres in this area. Having exhausted numerous archives, online resources, and the locations themselves - I wanted to ask the public if you have anything in your personal albums or collections?

Monarch Theatre Archival Artifacts

Some of what I'm looking for:
1. Any photographs or souvenirs from movies theatres in the Medicine Hat area. This includes the Towne, Monarch, Drive-Ins, Empress, etc. One place to look is if you took pictures during a Stampede parade there's a chance you may have captured the theatre in the background. Really anything could be an asset as there are so few pictures from over the years.
2. Were you a former employee of a Medicine Hat movie theatre? Did you keep anything? Name tag, uniform, pictures, tickets, free movie swag, etc. Please reach out as you may have some of the only leftovers from these theatres.
3. In 1999 the Monarch Theatre gave away its old cinema seats to anyone who wanted to come and take them. Did you get one? Do you know someone who kept one? I would love to see an image or connect with anyone who may have done this.
4. This is a shot in the dark, but I'd love to know if anyone knows what happened to the old neon Monarch marquee when it was taken down? The assumption is that it just went to the dump because it wasn't working anymore, but if anyone knows anything I would love an update.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered information and resources to help further the production of this documentary this year. With so little written or formally documented a lot of this project has been made possible through word of mouth.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you have anything to share regarding the Monarch or any of the former Medicine Hat movie theatres. Thank you!

Mar 10, 2022

Monarch Theatre Documentary in Production

Currently in its second month of principal photography, my latest documentary featuring the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta has provided some really memorable experiences so far. With hours of interviews shot and a deep dive into every space, cubby, and rafter of this old theatre, I'm already certain that I've uncovered a few untold gems in the story of this cinema that have never been formally documented or contextualized before.

Monarch Theatre Documentary Luke Fandrich

In addition to this being a story about one of the oldest surviving cinemas in all of Canada, what's been particularly interesting about the Monarch is how little material actually exists about it. Photographs, artifacts, records, etc. are few and far between so connecting the dots to go beyond the obvious has been a really involved, but fascinating undertaking.

While I'm saving a lot of the surprises for the finished documentary, I wanted to share a few of the production highlights up to this point:

  • Interviews are still ongoing, but a few early highlights have come from acquiring stories from both a 101 year old with a unique connection to the theatre and a 94 year old who used to work at the Monarch as a teenager.
  • In addition to the obvious task of documenting the Monarch, the cinematic side of the production has involved playing with various lighting rigs, gimbals, cameras, props, and even painting with projections throughout the cinema. 
  • As a result I'm certain I've now filmed and photographed more details inside the Monarch Theatre than anyone else in its 110+ year history.
  • I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge how helpful the social media response has been, in addition to features in the local news, Toronto Star, etc. in helping to connect me with a wide array of people with memories about cinemas in this area.
  • Numerous highlights have also come from uncovering clues through old paperwork, basement finds, and mapping out the history of the theatre. What's been so thrilling about this is that I know just the exploratory aspect of this documentary will be compelling to a lot of people who have likely never even heard of this place.
  • Speaking to former employees has made me wish I'd have worked at a movie theatre as a teenager too lol.
  • And finally, one of the absolute coolest things about shooting this documentary has been the unfettered access I've been given to the Monarch. While it was always going to feature this space, the ability to arrange and film every interview within the cinema, while also coordinating multiple ancillary shoots, has been practically ideal. 
There will be lots more to share in the weeks ahead, particularly as the project transitions into post-production in the spring. Follow the Editing Luke instagram for more regular updates and stay tuned for details about the release of this documentary later in the year. 

If you have any information or memories to share about the Monarch Theatre (or any of the former cinemas in the Medicine Hat area) please contact me via my business site here.

Monarch Theatre Documentary Luke Fandrich

Feb 8, 2022

Meet Alice: Monarch Documentary

With interviews for the Monarch Theatre documentary kicking off this month, I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to one of the interviewees - Alice. 

Alice will be 95 years old this year. Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with her about her time working at the Empress and Monarch theatres as a teenager in the early 1940s. From the uniform she wore to first seeing Gone With the Wind, moments like this - capturing memories and untold first hand experiences - are what make documentary filmmaking such a thrill.

Still razor sharp, her memories tap into a time when very little was written about these cinemas. This is what's been so exciting. The process unlocks doors that haven't been opened in decades.

Much more to come about this latest film project.

Jan 31, 2022

Monarch Documentary Story in Toronto Star

The Medicine Hat News story about my new Monarch Theatre documentary was picked up in the Toronto Star today with subsequent features in their partner publications. It's exciting to see this latest project garnering early attention. Read here

Toronto Star Monarch Luke Fandrich


Jan 29, 2022

Front Page: Monarch Theatre Documentary

My thanks to the Medicine Hat News for featuring my latest documentary (currently in production) on the front page of the newspaper this morning. Read here.

What's exciting about getting greenlit to produce a project like this one (with hometown roots) is that you're able to amplify a story for a wide audience that has likely never even heard of this place. The result is something that feels new and untapped, while at the same time inspiring support from those "in the know" who are rooting to see it succeed.

I'm really grateful to everyone who has been reaching out to share so far - this genuinely wouldn't be possible to pull together otherwise. Thank you! 

Please don't hesitate to get in touch here.

Luke Fandrich Filmmaker Documentary


Jan 20, 2022

About That Documentary I Mentioned ...

As my final announcement of 2021 I shared that my latest documentary proposal had been greenlit with plans to move into production in early 2022. With things continuing to progress I wanted to share a few more updates about what the project is actually about.

Inspired by my love of vintage films and the cinematic experience - specifically, going to the movie theatre - this new documentary is all about cinemas. Highlighting the evolution of the theatre going experience and showcased through the rise and fall of some largely forgotten movie houses, this new documentary tells the story of how the oldest purpose-built cinema in all of Canada ended up (in of all places) my hometown - Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Locals are sure to recognize names like the Monarch, Towne, and Gemini, but what makes this story unique is how much hasn't been widely told - particularly regarding the 110+ year history of a single screen cinema on main street that is actually older than every major Hollywood studio. Perhaps most amazing, it's still here!

There's a lot to unpack, but I'm really excited to bring this story to life in this new feature documentary in the months ahead.

Here's where I could use some help ... 

Did you, a family member, or friend ever work at a movie theatre in the Medicine Hat area? 

I'd love to connect with anyone who has stories to share about what your time was like at the Monarch, Towne, drive-ins, etc. I'm deep in research these days and have already coordinated with the Friends of the Monarch, local archives, and City - what's missing is you!  

If you have any pictures or souvenirs from these venues from over the years it would also be a massive help as (not surprisingly) a lot of these places were not documented. Thank you in advance.

Lots more to come as this ramps up! 🎥😉 Please get in touch if you have anything to share that you think may be of interest. Cheers!   

Dec 30, 2021

Announcing A New Documentary

So, a little news to share ...

In the spring of 2021, feeling like I was still spinning my wheels with everything going on, I went into development on some new ideas. I came up with a few concepts, pitched them around, and settled on one that I was really excited about.

I won't drag this news out ... this fall it all came together. Word came back that my latest film proposal received the greenlight

Luke Fandrich Filmmaker Documentary

With the treatment approved, funding secured, and the production agreement signed - I'm happy to finally announce that my next feature documentary project is going into production in 2022.

There will obviously be lots to share as everything unfolds in the months ahead - particularly as production kicks off next month - for now, just let me say how thrilled I am to have the opportunity to dive into an elaborate storytelling experience like this and direct another original project. Details to come.

Happy new year, indeed!

Aug 23, 2021

About the Medalta Documentary

I have social media to thank for reminding me that two years ago this week I completed "that Medalta documentary" called Clay, Creativity & the Comeback. Late 2019 only feels like 5 years ago given the weird time loop we've all been in, but as I'm currently in the middle of finalizing several new contracts it's exciting to look back at a project that by all accounts was a success.

As a quick recap, this doc tells the story of the industrial ruins and abandoned factories of a once booming clay industry in a small prairie city and how a group of volunteers helped to transform the area into a National Historic Site of Canada through efforts that spanned decades.

Medalta Documentary Editing Luke
I think more people have found this documentary in the last year as a result of having more time, but I also attribute it to more house cleaning and organizing. No joke, the number of messages I've received about this documentary because someone found a random piece of pottery that lead to them discovering this film is amazing.

While I really don't have more to say about this project that I haven't already said in previous posts, I'm always happy to recount what a great experience it was and have a reason to share it again. Given the incredible amount of work that went into this and all of the efforts from so many amazing individuals, I will gladly keep promoting it. 

The entire documentary is free to view online here   

Aug 8, 2021

A Look Back at "the School Project" Documentary

For much of this summer I've been in the process of writing proposals and exploring options as we head into the fall. This isn't out of the ordinary, but with a lot more time on my hands over the last year I found myself revisiting past projects and trying to contextualize them. In short, I was re-exploring what I've already done, what's worked, and what I'd like to do next. 

This is how I found myself re-watching hours of unused footage from "The School Project" again, a documentary I completed in 2017 that was never formally released in full. That's actually another story entirely, which if you care to dive into and watch some clips you can here

School Documentary Editing Luke

What's been amazing about exploring this old project (among several others) has been finding so many fragments of ideas that were never fully developed. "The School Project" was an incredibly ambitious documentary about finding the culture of a brand new Canadian school by filming the daily life inside of it over the course of an entire year. 

In some ways this fall feels like starting over again, which is perhaps why it's been so liberating to re-explore highlights amidst projects that I remember taking on and thinking, "where do we even start with this?". Finished work aside, diving into the ideas that inspired past projects to begin with has been a valuable creative exercise to get the gears turning again. Especially with a project this size, it reminded me how much of it was about just being present. 

Thinking all this, I then found the teaser (see above) that I'd made just after principal shooting on this documentary had wrapped. It felt poignant. This work in progress really is never ending - that, and I'm still just a big kid continuously trying to find new ways to entertain myself lol.

School Project Documentary