Movies for Paper Nerds

September 7, 2016 by Erin Behan

8 Films for People Who Love Paper, Type and the Like
If you're one of those people who counts a trip to the stationery store as more of a field trip than an errand and who who can't buy enough paper, envelopes and cardstock online, then these fine movies that focus on paper and paper-related topics are for you. Although we're sad to report that Aaron Sorkin's Pixar movie with office supplies as main characters never got off the ground, we think these eight films make a worthy addition to your streaming habits.

Movies for Paper Nerds
Kubo and the Two Strings
Released in 2016 and still showing in theaters, this stop-action animation movie is appropriate for families but impressive enough in its artistry and story for adults. It features a young hero, one-eyed Kubo, who uses origami paper creatures to wow the people of his Japanese village, but that's only the beginning of Kubo's epic adventures and of your appreciation of the medium.
Watch it in theaters, or preorder from Amazon or iTunes.

Paper Planes
This family-friendly 2014 film out of Australia follows Dylan (Ed Oxenbould), a young kid who dreams of competing in the World Paper Plane Championship in Japan. Dylan is coming to terms with the recent loss of his mother, while also trying to help his father, Jack (Sam Worthington), who is struggling with depression following his wife's death. Warning: The quest to fold the perfect paper airplane is contagious, so have some paper nearby in case you get the itch.
Watch it now on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.

Linotype: The Film Is linotype the "combination between a typewriter, a pop machine and a backhoe" (NPR), "a gloriously complicated love affair between a Singer sewing machine, a loom, and an oom-pah band" (Melville House), or is it simply an "eighth wonder of the world" (Thomas Edison)? Any way you slice it, it's a fascinating machine, and this 2012 feature-length documentary allows the people who know it best to illuminate the inner workings of the machine invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler in 1884, which revolutionized printing and publishing.
Watch it now on Amazon or iTunes.

Movies for Paper Nerds
Sometimes a piece of paper is all it takes to fall in love, or so the story goes in Walt Disney Animation Studio's 2012 black-and-white short film set in 1940s New York City. It all starts with a man and a woman standing on the subway platform and a couple of lost pieces of paper, which blossom into love and longing. Paper airplanes are folded, and they take on a life of their own, eventually playing Cupid to bring the couple together. It's easy to see why it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
Watch it now on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.

Ink & Paper
It's not all roses in the paper and printing industry, as this story behind two longtime, adjacent Los Angeles shops shows, but it is a labor of love. The 2011 short documentary takes a peek into the paper shop, McManus and Morgan, which opened in 1923, and Aardvark Letterpress, which opened in 1968. You get to see several printing machines in action and meet two of the men who are the heart behind the shops.
Watch it now on YouTube or

Between the Folds
Go deep inside the minds and studios of the world's foremost paper folders with this feature-length documentary on modern origami, also known as paper folding. In the 2008 film you'll meet a diverse list of practitioners including Michael LaFosse of Origamido, who also handmakes origami paper; Paul Jackson, who makes organic abstracts and one-fold pieces, among other styles; and Vincent Floderer, who crimps and crumples paper to amazing effect.
Watch it now on Amazon or iTunes.

The type-obsessed won't want to miss a minute of this 2007 feature-length, independent film directed by Gary Hustwit that looks at typography, graphic design and its overall impact on global culture. Its release was timed to Helvetica's 50-year anniversary. The engrossing film is a deep dive into the history of the namesake iconic typeface that seeks to put faces behind the often underappreciated world of typeface design.
Watch it now on Amazon or iTunes.

Movies for Paper Nerds
The Science of Sleep
There's a lot going on in this 2006 Michael Gondry movie that follows Stephane (Gael Garcia Bernal) as he wavers between dreams, imagination and occasional moment of reality. Although the entire film provides eye candy for creatives, of particular interest to paper lovers is a complex city built out of cardboard tubing.
Watch it now on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.


Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


Visit Distinct Papers to buy high-quality paper or card stock for your next project or to find the right copy paper, correspondence stationery and envelopes.


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