The Fabelmans and Me

Movies are dreams that you never forget.

That is the core of The Fabelmans in which Steven Spielberg takes you on a memorable journey inspired by his formative years when he discovered movie magic.

The magic was indeed unforgettable for the generation that grew up with Super 8 cameras which pioneered the home movie revolution and sparked the imagination of kids everywhere to chase their own cinematic fables.

Smitten with the whirring sound of the Canon Super 8 camera, I too began chasing my dreams and ended up making my first epic titled – you guessed it – Chase.

Here’s the poster for Chase touting it as “the world’s only three minute thriller.”

Over the years I have revisited my eternal fascination for the movies thanks to Super 8 and its evolution into the digital era which saw me digitising my Super 8 films. In 2011, I even helped initiate a Super 8 contest timed with the release of JJ Abrams’ Super 8 that I proposed to leading California based film services company Pro8mm which specialises in Super 8 film and cameras.

No surprises then that my experience of watching The Fabelmans was all the more special as I could relate to a lot of the emotions that Sammy Fabelman goes through as he discovers the wonders of seeing life at 24 frames per second.

Here are behind the scenes photos of the making of Chase with my youngest brother Niket who handled the toy cars and helicopters in addition to painting the backdrops and illustrating the poster. Sammy could well have been part of this shoot.

Exactly a decade ago, back in 2013, I had the opportunity to meet Spielberg when he visited Mumbai. (Here is more context about my earlier connection with Spielberg.)

I went prepared for the event, dressed in my self-designed shirt emblazoned with images of the Super 8 cameras I used to play with as a kid and with which I had made Chase. More importantly, I took with me a digest Super 8 print of Spielberg’s classic, and one of my all time favourite films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. When I showed that print to Spielberg, he was caught completely unawares that someone in India had a collectible print of one of his films. He almost seemed awestruck by it just like the young Sammy when his parents take him to the cinema for the first time to show him The Greatest Show on Earth (which forms the opening scene of The Fabelmans). So would Spielberg sign my Super 8 print? “Of course!”, he said excitedly. I then shared with him that I also have similar Super 8 collectible prints of his other movies including Jaws and Sugarland Express which surprised him even more. Looking back at that moment after having watched The Fabelmans, I now see that kid who made Chase sharing his enthusiasm with Sammy Fabelman. This is a dream I’ll never forget.