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Last picture show? For classic film, it's the end of an era

Director Paul Bunnell sits down to discuss his latest film, "The Ghastly Love of Johnny X."  It's likely to be the last feature ever shot on Eastman Kodak Plus-X 5231, a legendary stock used in iconic films like Schindler's List.

By Steven Louie
NBC News

I recently sat down with director Paul Bunnell to discuss his latest film, “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X.” It’s a historic achievement partly because it’s likely to be the last feature ever shot on Eastman Kodak Plus-X 5231—an iconic film stock used in movies like Schindler’s List.

Plus-X is the stuff of legend for filmmakers like Bunnell, and its essence is built into the fabric of Johnny X. Not only was it shot and printed on black-and-white without a digital intermediate, but the production’s fate depended on gathering enough Plus-X from around the world to finish the movie, a feat Bunnell tackled with the help of his Kodak representative. So the journey to finishing Johnny X, spanning the better part of a decade, became interlaced with Bunnell’s struggle to find the last of the Plus-X—a second layer of drama embedded in the making of this film.  “I mean we don’t do movies like that anymore,” Bunnell says. “It’s the end of an era.”

He describes Johnny X as a “mad concoction about juvenile delinquents from outer space who are banished to planet earth.” It’s part sci-fi, part juvenile angst, and part melodrama.  But most of all Bunnell hopes it will provide some good, old-fashioned fun at the movies. Your next chance to see Johnny X will be June 14 at the Oak Cliff Film Festival in Dallas.