California Typewriter is a nostalgic documentary that will make you think about what life was like in the days before computers, smart phones, and the internet.
The doc gets its name from California Typewriter, one of the few repair shops left standing. The shop is dedicated to making sure the typewriters are working.
While many of us will send quick notes by email or text, award-winning actor Tom Hanks is one who will still type out all of his thank you notes on a typewriter rather than just send an email as many of us would do. Hanks joins John Mayer, David McCullough, and Sam Shepard among the headlining interview subjects. Others interviewed include Mason Williams, Silvi Alcivar, Ken Alexander, Boston Typewriter Orchestra, Martin Howard, Jeremy Mayer, Herbert Permillion III, Richard Polt, and Darren Wershler.
Director Doug Nichol offers a fascinating look at the typewriter, featuring interviews with historians, collectors, and the obsessives to celebrate its history. It comes at a time when nobody really uses a typewriter anymore. Think about it. How many screenwriters still use a typewriter to write their scripts? Other than Woody Allen, I can’t really think of anyone who stands out.
Directing this film is an interesting choice for Nichol given his background in music videos and commercials. He’s certainly not someone that I would think of when it comes to directing a film about typewriters. He’s certainly someone to think about when it comes to directing a music video or even a documentary on a musician. He won a Grammy Award for Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for his work on Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales.
California Typewriter premiered at the 2016 Telluride Film Festival. Gravitas Ventures released the documentary in select theaters on August 18, 2017 and you can pre-order on iTunes with a release expected on October 10, 2017.