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.

Directed by Doug Nichol, USA 103 min, Local Filmmaker

Co-presented with KQED’s Truly California


DocFest: CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER: Upcoming Showtimes