Instant Dreams Instant Dreams

dir. Willem Baptist 2017 Netherlands 92 min.
2017 – IDFA Amsterdam
What lies behind the magic of Polaroids?

The invention of the Polaroid film changed the world of photography. In the glory days Polaroid sold billions of expensive packages of magic film. Nowadays with a brand like Apple you didn’t just bought an electronic machine but you also bought an experience.

In 2008 the last film cassettes were sold. The Polaroid company couldn’t keep up with the public embrace of digital photography and went bankrupt. Despite the downfall of Polaroid and the death of its founder, the Polaroid-feeling lives now more than ever before. The desire to preserve Polaroid was so strong that a group of artists and workers bought up an old Polaroid factory in Holland. Under the name ‘Impossible Mission’ they try to unravel the chemical process and keep instant film alive. By now Impossible produces a million cassettes per year, even though the quality is poor and can’t match the original Polaroid material.

Instant Dreams is a cinematic essayistic quest for the secret of Polaroid instant film, the magic appeal of Polaroid and what that tells us. The experience will be investigated based on several characters: a Polaroid artist, the author of the Polaroid bible, the chemist who tries to unravel the Polaroid formula and the inventor of Polaroid Instant Lab which you can use to print your iPhone photos as a Polaroid.

The quest takes the viewer along the tension between artist and medium, technique and emotion, nostalgia and rationality. Images of old Polaroid commercials and corporate films are interwoven with scenes in which the spell by Polaroid is visible in the characters. Images of the research and production of the new Polaroid film live their own life in the film and develop into unexpected visual artwork. In an era where we share our digital photos with the rest of the world and give those pictures the desired authentic look through various filter apps, it is interesting to see what drives us to do so. Why do we humans, who are always dreaming of perfection, have such an obsession with the imperfect?

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