“Pause of the Clock,” Chicago director Rob Christopher’s film about young adults who confront the struggle for identity and push the boundaries of trust, recently wrapped a production schedule that spanned almost two decades.
“It’s a film about friendship, secrets, and the power of stories,” says Christopher, who wrote the script during his own personal journey through the threshold of adulthood, when he was a teenage film student at Columbia College in the late ‘90s.
Due to hit the festival circuit in June, “Pause of the Clock” is a film about a filmmaker, Rob, who convinces a bunch of friends to help him shoot a script of his own.
The ensuing action of the film-within-a-film turns into suspense when a member of the crew secretly reads Rob’s diary and learns a lot of things about Rob that he never expected to know.
The impromptu voyeur is Rob’s roommate, Dylan.
Besides digging the depths of self-examination and confronting the inflexibility of the real world, the film also delivers the details that make those elements believable, largely because it was shot so long ago.
“I was in my final semester,” Christopher remembers. “It was suddenly time to try and make a living.”
Upon graduating in 1997, Christopher put the unfinished project on the shelf and pursued a career in the film industry.
Every now and then, he revisited it “for old time’s sake” until 2014, when he realized that the 16mm footage and the quarter-inch analog sound reels needed professional care if they were going to continue serving as the “souvenir” that he had grown to cherish.
After having the negatives scanned at an ultra-high resolution and digitizing the sound reels, he began the editing process.
Before his eyes, the project transmogrified from a carefully stored college memory into a worthy drama that had been gaining historical credibility with every year that had passed.
“As I began to string the shots together on my computer, something beautiful happened,” he says.
“The film spoke to me again. I began to see the real movie buried in the footage, and how I could shape the footage to bring that movie to light.”
While the original plot remains unchanged, its impact has grown exponentially.
“It’s a message from the past about how our society has changed in 20 years, while also exploring those things about us and our relationships that technology can’t touch,” he explains.
“A living time capsule.”