The egress from celluloid to digital is becoming a mass exodus in Hollywood. Theaters that still project film are becoming an endangered species, with film houses like the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles going as far as to launch their own “Save 35MM” campaign and petition in order to keep screening movies from film prints (they’ve won their battle for now). And right in step with theaters moving towards the inevitable future are the filmmakers themselves.
Christopher Nolan is one famous auteur holdout who favors the quality of film over digital, but he’s quickly being outnumbered by other auteurs like David Fincher, James Cameron, Steven Soderbergh, and frankly, most of the film industry. To see this celluloid vs. digital discussion and debate take place, one should definitely watch the upcoming documentary on the very subject, “Side By Side” produced and narrated by Keanu Reeves. In it, many famous filmmakers espouse the virtues of film or digital or both, but definitely in the minority are those that still champion film.
To that end, one more famous holdout, Martin Scorsese, seems to have fallen from the side of digital, which is interesting, if not, a total surprise, given that in the “Side By Side” doc, Scorsese is one of the few filmmakers who sees the value in both (most of the directors interviewed are either/or).
In a recent Empire interview with Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s longtime editor and friend says the “Hugo” director is likely making the switchover. “It would appear that we’ve lost the battle,” she said, confirming that Scorsese’s next film “The Wolf Of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCaprio would be shot digitally. “I think Marty just feels it’s unfortunately over, and there’s been no bigger champion of film than him.”
Thelma, his name is Chris Nolan, but we suppose that’s beside the point now. She continues: “It’s a very bittersweet thing to be watching films with him now that are on film. We’re cherishing every moment of it. The number of prints that are now being made for release has just gone down, and it would appear that the theatres have converted so quickly to digital.”
Also of minor note in case you believed Marty when he said he’d like to shoot more dramas in 3D, well, he’s not. Or at least “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” which begins principal (digital) photography in August, will be shot in regular old 2D. Or rather, regular old digital 2D. A shame? Inevitable? Discuss.