California Typewriter


Sequoia 2 Fri, Oct 7, 2016 3:00 PM
Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Running Time:103 min.
Director:Doug Nichol
Producer:John Benet
Doug Nichol
Screenwriter:Doug Nichol
Cinematographer:Doug Nichol
Editor:Doug Nichol
Print Source:American Buffalo Pictures
Note Writer:Jeff Campbell


Weaving three stories—of a Berkeley repair business, a Canadian collector, and a Bay Area artist—and including interviews with famous typewriter devotees like Tom Hanks, Sam Shepard, and David McCullough, this documentary celebrates the creative virtues and tactile joys of the typewriter. But rather than a eulogy for yet another mechanical device tossed on the slag heap of obsolete technology—joining the Polaroid, the album, and sprocketed film—this microhistory is both a love letter to this humble tool and a pointed critique of our digital age. As metal, ink, and paper collide with a click-clack and ping, our thoughts slow to the speed of our fingers, our words become tangible, and creativity flows uninterrupted by a machine that thinks for us. For some, the typewriter’s limits are benefits, even a state of mind. Ultimately, the film suggests we move past that modern technological conundrum—analog or digital?—and simply embrace both.

Guests in attendance 10/7 & 10/10: Doug Nichol (director), Jeremy Mayer (subject), Ken Alexander (subject), Herb Permillion (subject)

Thanks to our Community Partner

Additional Information

A three time Grammy Award winner and nominee, Doug began his career as a Cinematographer, shooting the rock and roll documentaries Truth or Dare (Madonna) and Rattle and Hum (U2). Moving into directing he made hundreds of music videos and music documentaries for various recording artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Pulp, Aerosmith and Sting. He spent a decade in London working in advertising, creating and directing many award winning campaigns for iconic brands such as Levis, Smirnoff, Virgin, Mercedes and others.