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The Independent Critic

Dave Peat, Dave Churchman, Tammy and Adam Winn, Jim Sherraden, and Jim Daggs
Andrew P. Quinn and Erin Beckloff
100 Mins.

 "Pressing On: The Letterpress Film" Screens at 2017 Heartland Film Festival  

If you'd have told me that I'd be advocating for a feature documentary on the subject of letterpress, I'd have likely laughed. Yet, here I am singing the praises of Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, a film written and directed by Andrew P. Quinn and Erin Beckloff that is featured in the Heartland Film Festival's Indiana Spotlight films and is, quite unexpectedly, a completely delightful film. 

It's fairly well known that the printing press was once essential to communication, but the 500-year-old process is now in danger of being lost as its caretakers age. Pressing On visits letterpress devotees from self-proclaimed basement hoarders to the famed Hatch Show Print and asks the question - why has letterpress survived in a digital age?

Quinn and Beckloff have crafted an unusually entertaining film that runs the gamut of emotions while somehow also making this very technical world practically dance across the screen as captivating personalities weave together their life experiences with the beautiful presentation of these printing presses and the poetry of joy, sorrow, meditation and hope that they create. 

Pressing On seems like it will be a film for nerds, but it really ends up being a remarkably spirited and even romantic film in which a wide variety of featured subjects get practically googly-eyed over these machines that pale in comparison to modern technology yet can never truly be replaced. It's sort of like when vinyl LP's went out - we just knew that one day they'd be back and, indeed, they've come back and are surging in popularity. 

Pressing On, much like its subject matter, is largely taking a grassroots approach with screenings being a variety of film festivals, conferences, and a host of other public venues in spreading the word of the film and ensuring its seen by a wide audience. 

For more information on Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, visit the film's website linked to in the credits. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic