Why the Bolex is the World’s Most Beloved Camera
Meet the man behind a cinematic icon.
Imagine you’re in film school, playing with a bunch of different cameras and perhaps touching actual film for the first time. Sadly, your grandfather passes away. When you are cleaning out his mysterious attic, you come across a vintage Bolex 16mm camera. But it’s not just any Bolex. It’s a prototype. It turns out that the iconic camera was designed by your own great-grandfather who had passed away 20 years earlier. This unlikely scenario is exactly what happened to Alyssa Bolsey.
So naturally, she had to make a movie about it. She spent the next decade-plus researching her enigmatic great-grandpa and interviewing several influential filmmakers who used his cameras, like Barbara Hammer, Wim Wenders, and Jonas Mekas. The film she made from her discoveries is called Beyond the Bolex and it’s a very personal look at the man behind the camera and just how visionary he was.
Alyssa Bolsey and the film’s Producer and Cinematographer Camilo Lara Jr. join this episode after the film’s premiere at DOC NYC to talk about what they learned about filmmaking along the way and why the Bolex is such an enduring and beloved camera that is still used today.