The Lives of Hundreds (was Airport X-Rays).

From: ben russell (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Mar 31 2009 - 10:06:06 PDT


I've chipped in my two cents from time to time on the X-Ray travel front (ie
no trouble in the USA since the national policy is now to hand-check film if
requested; lots of trouble overseas - Dubai, UK, Paris, Trinidad - so much
so, and with such uncertainty, that I no longer try it) but Mark's anecdotal
dialogue reminds me of my favorite encounter EVER (after the fact, of

I went to Iceland to make a film after traveling around Europe for a spell,
had my stock shipped there from the USA and decided to bring it back with me
(Iceland-London-Boston) after talking to the supervisors at Heathrow to
verify that a changing bag could be used if a hand-check was required. Of
course, once I returned three weeks later with a grip of film and tried to
pass through security, the supervisor I'd spoken with wasn't there and I had
the follwing exchange with a grey-haired security checker (it helps to read
the responses aloud in your best British accent, for full effect):

ME: Could you hand-check this film please?
HE: We have to scan it, sir.
ME: I spoke with your supervisor earlier and he said that I could request a
hand-check <points to DO
NOT X-RAY stickers>
HE: We'll have to open it up then, sir.
ME: It's light-sensitive, so that won't work, but I have a changing bag that
you can use.
HE: I'm sorry, sir, but we need to be able to verify the material by eye and
ME: I understand, but I spoke with your supervisor earlier and he suggested
HE: It's simply not possible, sir.
ME: May I speak with your supervisor, please?
HE: ...
HE: I feel very sorry for you, sir, if you think that your film is worth the
lives of the hundreds of people who will be traveling on your flight <turns
his back on me>

I sent my film home with DHL. Sigh.


For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.