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by Indiewire
December 21, 2011 11:00 AM
52 Comments
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Project of the Day: A Real Life 'Hugo' Story

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.

The Jacques Bolsey Project

Tweetable Logline:

50 years after his death, Bolex inventor and film pioneer, Jacques Bolsey, has been forgotten along with an important piece of film history.

Elevator Pitch:

This documentary is a real life "Hugo" story. In 2004, a film student stumbles upon some boxes that had belonged to her great-grandfather and had been sitting in the basement for decades since his sudden death. She discovers that he was the inventor of the Bolex camera, one of the most iconic cameras of all time. Who was this forgotten man, with hundreds of inventions, three last names and an archive of drawings and plans? A story of a Renaissance man who was trying to shape the world to his vision in a bitter fight against his own mortality.

Production Team:

Director: Alyssa Bolsey
Producers: Camilo Lara Jr., Werner Schweizer
Cinematographer: Ángel Granados

About the Production:

"Jacques Bogopolsky/Boolsky/Bolsey wanted everyone to make movies and to record memories or create a reality of their own. Today, we record our lives on computers, video and social networking, all manipulated and representing a calculated picture of our existence. Truth is obscured.

"Was my great-grandfather's truth obscured? In his boxes I have the memories he recorded and the words he wished to be known by. It is a legacy of a pioneer in moviemaking, a legacy of his own creation. A life of creation film caught on film. What are the details he didn't choose to record?" -- Alyssa Bolsey

Current Status:

In pre-production.

For more information and to support the film:

Film Website
IndieGoGo Page
 

THE JACQUES BOLSEY PROJECT from HME on Vimeo.

If you have an in-the-works project and you'd like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

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52 Comments

  • Destenee Mckenzie | January 6, 2012 7:06 AMReply

    Good luck, I hope you win!!!

  • reed | January 4, 2012 2:19 PMReply

    I'll take the pictures of the cameras this weekend when the light is better and I have a few spare minutes.

    Here's another suggestion potentially worth exploring, which I'd mentioned to your dad last night. The sole US importer of Alpa cameras (including Swiss made Bolseys) and other European fine quality cameras like Robot, the Tessina spy camera and a few other items was Karl Heitz. I met him on my visits to their office in New York (first in Manhattan then Woodside, Queens) in the 1970s and 80s. He died in 2005 at 90 and the last of the business was dissolved. I remember he had a few Bolexes lying around the shop. He must have known Jacques very well through the years but I have no idea of the nature of their relationship. Maybe there is an interesting twist there somewhere? Good luck with a new hunt!

  • reed | January 3, 2012 5:14 PMReply

    Hi Alyssa,

    I will send you pictures of my old Swiss Bolsey Reflex, hopefully this evening.

    All of the Antarctic pictures posted on my (very out of date) website (http://jove.geol.niu.edu/faculty/scherer/rs.html) were taken with a 1964 Alpa 9d and a 1972 Alpa 10d. Both are later generations of Alpa after Pinions took over the design, but elements of the original Bolsey/Alpas were retained. You can look up Alpa history on line.

  • Alyssa Bolsey | January 3, 2012 7:39 PM

    Looking forward to it! I will check out your Antarctic pictures today! It is fascinating that these cameras have made it around the globe to such remote locations! If you haven't already, please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Month" at http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/oxhu5nra Will look for updates on Alpa's history online.

  • Michael G | January 3, 2012 4:42 PMReply

    This totally rocks! As an inventor myself, I know how easy it is for those who bring great things to the world to be forgotten. The story of JB needs to be told. Can't wait to see it!

  • JB Project Team | January 3, 2012 7:36 PM

    Thanks Michael! Yes, history is easily forgotten as well as the originators of ideas. If you haven't already please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Month" at http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/oxhu5nra

  • Carol deCamp | December 29, 2011 8:52 AMReply

    Alyssa,
    You are doing a terrific job on this; your great-grandfather is a fascinating subject. I can't wait to see the finished project.
    Carol

  • Alyssa Bolsey | January 3, 2012 7:35 PM

    Thank you Carol! I'm so happy that you are looking forward to this doc and spent the time to comment. If you haven't already please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Month" at http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/oxhu5nra

  • Nina Benedetto | December 28, 2011 4:23 PMReply

    As a visual artist and photographer who is still learning how to use a simple digital video camera effectively, I am in awe of the amazing technical innovations which are shown in the overview of the history of Jacques' work to create his Bolex camera. This preview is so tantalizing- I want to know the whole story! Best of luck as you go forward to completion!
    You definitely have MY vote, Alyssa!

  • Alyssa Bolsey | January 3, 2012 7:33 PM

    Thank you so much Nina! If you haven't already please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Month" at http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/oxhu5nra

  • Alvie Rosen | December 27, 2011 10:57 AMReply

    This would be a wonderful pick for the month. We are losing so much to today's quick, instant technology. Memories of these kind need to be recorded for history.

  • JB Project Team | December 27, 2011 9:04 PM

    Thank you so much Alvie! If you aren't part of our mailing list already please email us at production@jacquesbolseyproject.com to be added to the list! We like to send email updates every couple months.

  • Twig Johnson | December 26, 2011 11:58 PMReply

    Wonderful project. Not only a great personal story but important to our understanding of the history of film, film technology, and of the international/intercultural dimension of this history. And plenty of drama to boot. Go, go, go!

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 27, 2011 9:01 PM

    Thank you Twig. We agree! Much to tell with this documentary. A story currently unknown to the public and to society at large.

  • Christopher (Chris) Swider | December 24, 2011 11:24 PMReply

    This is a great project. I used the Bolex H16 Rex for years. I shot miles of film through it. It was a wonderful machine and I still own one. Foolishly I sold the H8 I had when I was twenty

  • JB Project Team | December 27, 2011 8:30 PM

    Thank you Chris! Interested to hear more about your footage and experience with the camera. Please email us at production@jacquesbolseyproject.com. Don't feel too badly about selling your H8. I don't believe we have one at this point either.

  • Stefan Krusze | December 24, 2011 2:59 PMReply

    Forgot to mention that have a Bolsey B2 that was made for the US Air Force.

  • JB Project Team | December 27, 2011 8:27 PM

    Those are rare! Would love more info about your time with it and footage. Email us at production@jacquesbolseyproject.com

  • Lee Martin (Movie Cameras Inc) England | December 24, 2011 7:50 AMReply

    I have watched the teaser for this project with great fascination. It has such great potential being that it's real: a real story about great a man with an even greater vision. Let's all get behind Alyssa on this one. Yoo got my votes :) LM

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 27, 2011 8:24 PM

    Thank you so much Lee! You are amazing!

  • reed | December 23, 2011 9:10 PMReply

    I have one of the very early Swiss made Bolsey Reflex cameras in my collection! Made in 1943, as well as 2 US made Bolseys, which take great pictures.

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 2:58 AM

    I'd love to hear about what brought you to Bolsey cameras. Do you have a picture of the 1943 Bolsey camera? I don't believe I have ever seen that particular year. If so, I'd love to see a picture of it. production@jacquesbolseyproject.com Also, do you have any pictures taken on these cameras recording important historic events? Eventually I will be gathering photographs and films from the 20's through present day shot on various Bolsey cameras.
    If you haven't already, please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Week" by going to this page and clicking the bold vote "here" icon. http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river

  • Andrew P | December 23, 2011 9:08 PMReply

    Let's see this happen! I would definitely want to watch it.

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 2:59 AM

    Thanks Andrew! If you haven't already, please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Week" by going to this page and clicking the bold vote "here" icon. http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river

  • Reed Scherer | December 23, 2011 9:07 PMReply

    Hi Alyssa,

    I met your dad in Antarctica in 1991, on the ice streams. He saw that I was shooting with Alpa cameras (have been for pushing 40 years) and we've been friends and colleagues ever since. I can't wait to see your project come to full fruition! You've got my vote.

    My nephew, Joey Vigour, has a film on another inventor entirely. His film (The Inventor and the Daredevil) See http://3launch.com/contact.html to learn about that project. He's also done videography on our current Antarctic project, so there are all kinds of connections. I've suggested to him that he check out your site (and vote for you).

    Good luck!

    Reed

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:02 AM

    Yes! That's right! My dad told me about your collection and about your nephew. I watched his trailer and have been meaning to reach out to him to exchange notes. Thank you for your vote!

  • Doug | December 23, 2011 8:48 PMReply

    My grandfather was a financial partner with Jack. I've taken thousands of photos with the Bolsey C-22 35 mm camera--a very fine camera, indeed. I would very much like to see this documentary come to fruition.

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:07 AM

    Thanks Doug! As we develop films from later in JB's life we will likely have many home movies shot by JB including your grandfather. Hopefully that will happen this spring. Do you happen to know if your grandfather kept a journal during that time period? Let's touch base soon through email. Happy Holidays!

  • Rozzy | December 23, 2011 7:54 PMReply

    Can't wait to see the finshed project!

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:08 AM

    Thanks Rozzy! If you haven't already, please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Week" by going to this page and clicking the bold vote "here" icon. http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river Happy Holidays!

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 23, 2011 7:42 PMReply

    Thank you so much everyone for your comments. It makes me so happy to see the enthusiasm behind this documentary. Please make sure to vote for us for Indiewire's "Project of the Week." http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river

  • Lukas Persson | December 23, 2011 7:32 PMReply

    This looks so incredibly fascinating, can't wait to see this in completion.

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:10 AM

    Thanks Lukas! If you haven't already, please vote for "The Jacques Bolsey Project" for "Project of the Week" by going to this page and clicking the bold vote "here" icon. http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river Happy Holidays!

  • Dellie | December 23, 2011 7:25 PMReply

    I wanna see it already! "Hugo" was awesome, but the docs are ALWAYS better. Especially tortured genius docs. 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould. Case in point.

    To Alyssa Bolsey- not to say that your great grandfather was a tortured genius, just genius/artist type that makes for my favorite films-- in fact I hope that when this film comes out I will learn that he had a very happy life. Best of luck to you and can't wait to see the film. :-)

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:17 AM

    Thanks Dellie! Glenn Gould docs are great. I loved the feature doc "Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould." I am still learning more about JB's inner thoughts everyday as I read his journal, his documents and watch his films. I believe there is always a degree of tortured genius when someone's sole focus is to create ideas as there is never enough time to make every idea become a reality which in his case was very frustrating. If you haven't already, check out our development teaser. http://vimeo.com/31740507 In this teaser you get glimpse of a letter he wrote to himself late in his life in which he discusses this struggle.
    Also, if you haven't already, make sure to vote for us for project of the week http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river

  • S O Dwyer | December 23, 2011 7:16 PMReply

    I love nothing more than a good documentary and I've always been surprised that there's so little out about Bolsey... this sounds fascinating, especially considering the filmmaker is his great-granddaughter... what a perfect alignment of elements!

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:20 AM

    Thank you so much! Make sure to vote for us for "Project of the Week" if you haven't already. http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river
    Also, for updates on this project you can follow us on twitter @beyondthebolex or facebook https://www.facebook.com/jbdoc

    Happy Holidays!

  • Jacques MAR | December 23, 2011 6:13 PMReply

    Great idea. Jacques Bolsey's work is worth being known around even further.
    All for it, from someone living where Bolsey did much of his successful career.
    Looking forward watching this picture !

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:27 AM

    Thanks Jacques! I will be visiting Switzerland in January for development. I'll email you in the next week. Perhaps our paths with cross and we can discuss notes in person!

    If you have't already make sure to vote for us for this weekend for "Project of the Week" http://www.indiewire.com/article/vote-for-project-of-the-week-being-superwoman-real-life-hugo-comics-crossing-the-river Happy Holidays!

  • Richard Sanford | December 23, 2011 5:47 PMReply

    I wrote the first book on the Bolsey Collectors Guide in 1977 and met with Mr. Bolsey's Widow, Maria, and his daughter Carole at my home on Cape Cod. I had been to her home in Rye, New York shortly after I wrote the book. I have since updated the book and added more cameras and info and it is for sale on Ebay. I have been trying to help with this project and hope to live long enough to see it completed.

  • Alyssa Bolsey | December 24, 2011 3:30 AM

    Thanks Richard! You have been an enormous help and I am so happy that you took the time to create a guide based on Bolsey cameras. My hope is that you won't have to wait very long to see this documentary. If we can get the support needed, we can release this in early 2013!
    Happy Holidays!

  • Rodrigo | December 23, 2011 2:19 AMReply

    What an intriguing story... I can't wait to see the finished product!

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:38 AM

    Thanks Rodrigo! Make sure to vote!

  • Roger | December 22, 2011 8:10 PMReply

    Used the Bolex years ago, interested to see the story behind the man who created such an innovative camera.

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:39 AM

    Thanks Roger! We look forward to bringing the mysterious story to the screen.

  • David S. | December 22, 2011 6:31 PMReply

    This is gonna be awesome can't wait!

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:42 AM

    Thanks David! Happy Holidays!

  • Annagreta Claesson | December 22, 2011 12:28 AMReply

    I both read the book and saw the movie "Hugo" and the similiarities to this project are uncanny. I'm looking forward to learning more about Jacques Bolsey and his part in early amateur filmmaking.

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:46 AM

    Thanks Annagreta! We too were stunned by the similarities. We would love for someone to get us in touch with Scorsese to discuss the common themes and goals for film preservation.

  • Rich J | December 21, 2011 6:39 PMReply

    After working on Bolexes for 30 years I would be very interested in knowing more about the man behind the machine.

  • JB Project Team | December 24, 2011 3:50 AM

    Thanks Rich! We look forward to bringing his world and thought process to the screen. In many ways he was decades ahead of his time and envisioning the current reality in which we live.

  • JB Project Team | December 21, 2011 6:28 PMReply

    Thank you everyone for the support! Please "like" the article, leave comments and check out the development teaser! http://vimeo.com/31740507