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"The Last in Line" | family farm doc shot on FX9+FS7

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    Other: "The Last in Line" | family farm doc shot on FX9+FS7

    As small farms fade from the American agricultural landscape, a California farmer contemplates his place in his family’s story and the future of their historic vineyards.

    This is a short doc that I shot and edited as a personal project in collaboration with director Dave Wilkins ( It features Glenn Yamamoto, a third-generation family farmer in Caruthers, California. The grandson of WWII internment camp survivors, Glenn will likely be the last member of his family to farm the land they have owned since 1938. This film is his reflection on coming to grips with that reality.

    The project came together very quickly, beginning with me trying to find something else to shoot during my weeklong gear rental for another short doc ("The Steam"). Fortunately Dave had the perfect story and subject all set to go, having been friends with Glenn for some time. We shot most of the film in one August evening, returning to the farm in early November to shoot the projector sequence, some additional b-roll, and a brief follow-up interview.

    Most of the footage in the final cut was shot on the FX9 with SLR Magic Micro Primes (25, 50, and 75mm) and a 1/4 black pro mist. The projector sequence and a few other shots were done on my FS7 with a Canon 28mm, 24-105, and Speed Booster. Everything was shot in natural light, except of course the projector stuff (no movie lights, just the projector bulb).

    Given the personal/unpaid nature of the project, and for covid safety's sake, there was no crew...just me, recording audio in-camera and pulling focus off the barrel, and Dave directing. Maybe not ideal, but certainly doable for something like this.

    Let me know what you think or if you have questions!

    Assembly V4.00_05_52_06.Still044.jpg
    Assembly V4.00_04_06_00.Still039.jpg
    Assembly V4.00_01_43_02.Still030.jpg
    Assembly V4.00_01_45_21.Still031.jpg

    BTS photo by the you can see our FX9 rig with the 25mm SLR Magic
    IG: @matt_mealer

    Very nice job. Beautifully shot and very moving. Very inventive projecting the archival film on the barn. The only thing I would have liked to have seen was some of the farm workers. Nice work though...


      Thanks very much! Yeah, the director came up with the projector idea and I thought it was a really cool concept. I'm not sure if it's quite what he was thinking of, but it reminded me of a particular interview scene in Eliot Rausch's "A World Unseen". It wasn't part of our initial plan, but after an early edit, we both felt like something was missing...that was our solution.

      I know what you mean re: workers. I've shot a lot of that kind of thing on past jobs, and I think that's one of the first ideas we would look at if this were developed into a more fully-fledged project. That said, I think there's definitely an argument to be made for only showing Glenn by himself, except for the one fleeting shot of him with his son that the director requested.
      IG: @matt_mealer