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“I Miss 35mm Films the Most:” Gabo Arora on Not Watching Movies

In April, as we began to put together the Summer, 2020 issue of Filmmaker, we asked directors, cinematographers, editors and other film workers to send us their thoughts on the quarantine and their own creative lives. The responses printed here were collected from April through mid-June — personal statements that speak variously to individual filmmaking practices, films halted mid-production, politics, art and life. Read all the responses here. — Editor

I miss 35mm films the most. Especially as my new wife and I have a strict no-streaming policy at home that we had in place pre-COVID. We didn’t want to turn into a Netflix couple—too many couples run past their expiry date by streaming, and we felt 35mm made our love last. So, I miss the noise and flicker. New York has been going through a golden age revival of 35mm film. I was in heaven. On any night, the Anthology Film Archives, the Metrograph, Film Forum, the Quad—I hope COVID didn’t just explode that. So, it’s been tough during lockdown, but we stuck with this digital abstention! And have been cooking and reading more and weirdly getting into playing Scrabble. 

Gabo Arora is a VR/AR-focused filmmaker and the founder/director of the Immersive Storytelling and Emerging Technology (ISET) program at Johns Hopkins University.

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