North Texas to Host World's First Instant Film Photography Convention

The world’s first 3-day Instant Film Convention is coming to North Texas later this month. PolaCon 2016 takes place Friday, September 30 - Sunday, October 2, 2016 in both Denton and Dallas, kicking off in Deep Ellum on Friday evening.

Daniel Rodrigue, Justin Goode, and Armand Kohandani of the Instant Film Society have been organizing this convention for some time now and are thrilled to see it come to life. The Instant Film Society partnered with Denton Camera Exchange and Film Photographic to put on this year’s PolaCon. 

"PolaCon is a 3-day instant film convention that started as an annual State Fair of Texas PolaWalk," Kohandani said. "It began to draw folks from all over and grew into a yearly Polaroid pow-wow for all things instant film."

Friday night’s festivities will include a meet-up and mini PolaWalk from Deep Ellum to Fair Park in honor of the 5th Annual PolaWalk at the State Fair of Texas. There will be a group portrait under Big Tex at 7:30 PM followed by a scavenger hunt. 

Workshops and meet-ups take place in Denton on Saturday and Sunday, and all of the programming will take place near Denton’s beautiful Downtown square. There will be a different themed scavenger hunt each day, with winners being announced on Sunday. Programming is conveniently free all weekend, but space during workshops and talks will be limited and restricted to guests who RSVP’d. We recommend you RSVP soon

Events include:

  • Pop-up Instant Film Museum and Interactive Timeline; a 90-minute hands-on Pack Film 101 Workshop session with Steve and Erin Reeves.
  • Lift/transfer demonstration with James Eakins.
  • 90-minute hands-on Instant Film 101 Workshop session with Jessica Reinhardt, Co-Host of The Instant Photo Show Podcast; a how-to session on instant-film travel journals with Anne Holland.
  • Impossible I-1 camera demo with Andy Odom.
  • New 55 demo and PolaWalk with Troy Bradford.
  • “Happy Hour” charity auction.

Sunday evening wraps the first annual PolaCon with a “2016 State of the Emulsion Address” followed by a conversation with Jason Lee about his new Refueled Magazine One Series photo book. The conversation will be a recorded as a podcast that will be available for folks to listen to after the broadcast. Lee’s book will officially debut at this year’s PolaCon. Chris Brown, Refueled Magazine's publisher, will be speaking alongside Lee, as well.

"Being a longtime user of instant films, I'm super excited about having been asked to be involved in this year's Instant Film Society's PolaCon," Lee says. "I'll be talking about my love for the medium and my recent all-instant film book at the event."

PolaCon is sort of the anti-fest convention. They aren’t doing advertising and are not partnering with any media outlets. PolaCon isn’t programming anything around music, instead they are programmed around art. 

“As educators, we are not trying to make money on this,” Rodrigue says. “This truly is just a way to talk shop and get people educated about the different kinds of film they don’t know.”

Don’t worry, they have a plan B if Texas weather decides to be Texas weather. “If it’s windy and rainy, we need to have an indoor plan B and have that secured,” Rodrigue says. More information about an indoor location will be released closer to the date if the weather seems to be a concern.

"In order to successfully preserve these photographic mediums, we have to network and communicate, seek out to meet like-minded folks who share the love of instant film," Kohandani says, "and most importantly, shoot together."

Besides Lee giving his keynote speech around instant film, Patrick Tobin of The Impossible Project will be there, too. In fact, Rodrigue promises a couple of surprises they have up their sleeves. The first even PolaCon will be a treat for those who are able to attend. Don’t forget to register soon.

Header image design by Shaina Sheaff