Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

Directed by: Grant Hamilton
92 minutes

World Premiere

Not far from where we stand, Edwin Land, one of the great innovators of the last century, developed a one-step, dry-process camera at the prompting of his young daughter, who questioned why she had to wait so long for photographs to be developed. He fully conceived his invention on the same day of her query and, in 1948, after four years of development, the first Polaroid Land Camera was launched to great acclaim, revolutionizing the world of consumer photography. It was a complete departure from all that had come before it.

By the turn of the century, after Land’s death, the development of digital photography had taken its toll on the corporation. In 2008, Polaroid announced that it would cease producing analog instant film. Enthusiasts everywhere mourned. Thanks to its distinctive qualities—nearly immediate photo development in one’s hand, beautiful color saturation, a distinctive frame—Polaroid had become the darling of photographers worldwide and would be missed immensely. From this darkness, hope emerged (not unlike a Polaroid photo) when Dr. Florian Kaps and the Impossible Project team announced a dazzling and ambitious plan to purchase Polaroid’s production machinery, transport it to the Netherlands, and resurrect the process.

Director Grant Hamilton weaves an affectionate tribute to Polaroid from interviews with a wide array of devotees and those who worked with Land, chronicling the inauguration of the Impossible Project. Will they be able to solve this seemingly hopeless, but important problem?

—Nancy Campbell