Critic’s Choice: Vintage tech finds new audience in documentary ‘Pressing On: The Letterpress Film’

A scene from the documentary “Pressing On: The Letterpress Film.”
(Bayonet Media)
Film Critic

One of the world’s most venerable technologies for passing on information, the letterpress, gets a showcase via one of the newer systems, as “Pressing On: The Letterpress Film” meets the world as a DVD/Blu-ray and video-on-demand release June 19.

Co-directed by Andrew P. Quinn and Erin Beckloff, this informative and engaging documentary takes us all the way from the 15th century, when Johannes Gutenberg cast the first movable metal type, to 2011, when Taylor Swift hires Nashville’s venerable Hatch Show Print to create letterpress-printed posters for one of her tours.

Along the way we meet letterpress veterans who still get goose bumps when talking about the process to younger folks who are enthusiastically embracing it. “The younger generation is fascinated with obsolete technology,” says one old-timer, shaking his head. “And here’s letterpress — you betcha!”