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Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow Lead the Charge to Keep Film Stock Alive

Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Judd Apatow Lead the Charge to Keep Film Stock Alive

As the shift to digital projection has nearly eliminated film prints and Kodak remains the last factory that manufactures film stock, Hollywood directors including Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow have urged Hollywood studios to support Kodak to keep film stock in use. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, after being lobbied by the A-list directors, a coalition of Hollywood studios are close to sealing a deal with Kodak which will ensure the continued production of film stock. As part of the deal, studios would commit to buying a certain amount of film stock even though they don’t know how much of it they will use on future productions.

Abrams is currently shooting "Star Wars Episode VII" on film.

Sales of movie film stock have dropped by 96% since 2006 as studios such as the Weinstein Co. and Paramount have said they are looking to end film print distribution entirely.

"It’s a financial commitment, no doubt about it," Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of Weinstein Co., told The Wall Street Journal. "But I don’t think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn’t do it."

READ MORE: Christopher Nolan Bashes 3-D and Digital Filmmaking at CinemaCon

Nolan has been vocal about his support for film, which earlier this year at the Scientific & Technical Academy Awards he said "still represents the gold standard" for filmmaking technology. Tarantino has also been a critic of digital filmmaking. "As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the death of cinema," said Tarantino at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. "The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema."

Apatow told The Wall Street Journal that film and digital are "are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn’t have the opportunity to shoot on film. Apatow is shooting his latest film, "Trainwreck" on film. "There’s a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film," he said.

For its part, Kodak said that while film is expected to account for less than 10% of its $2.2 billion revenue this year, closing the company’s movie film plant would still be a huge blow. "The unprecedented decline in the use of film in the entertainment industry created an enormous amount of uncertainty," Jeff Clarke, Kodak’s new chief executive, told The Wall Street Journal. "We had to build a coalition among all the parties in order to reach a solution."

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Comments

Rodrigo Armando

I too am glad of the decision of these men. Altough I currently shoot on digital till I can afford film stock later on, including 35mm and IMAX stock, it would be a tragedy to lose this old school method. I mean, there’s tonnes of digital books, but libraries don’t go broke yet, do they?

David

Also, RIP Savides, you are greatly missed.

David

Roger Deakins
John Seale
Jeff Cronenweth
John Toll
Dean Semler
Amir Mokri
Emmanuel Lubezki
Guillermo Navarro
Robert Richardson
Don Burgess
Peter Deming
John Mathieson
Darius Khondji
Dick Pope
Steven Soderbergh
Caleb Deschanel
Dariusz Wolski
Seamus McGarvey
Chris Menges
Newton Thomas Sigel
Shelly Johnson
Trent Opaloch
Dante Spinotti
Harris Savides
Jo Willems
Peter Suschitzky
Claudio Miranda
Aaron Morton
Andrew Lesnie
Simon Duggan
Benoit Delhomme
Paul Cameron
John Schwartzman

They all use digital. I heard Hurlbut is even starting a organization called "Shane’s Inner Circle" where he is going to upload LUTs, etc. on his website very soon.

Jack

It’s just another bandwagon for people (mainly "hipsters") to jump on. It’s just like vinyl. I thought those people cared for the environment? Digital is definitely the way to go.

Director NooN

So what you’re saying is why drive the latest car, when I can ride my horse to work? Most of the world is going digital, it’s way cheaper and the turn around is faster and you can do more on a budget. it’s a god send for indie filmmakers.

Darius Khondji

Film is an a beautiful and unique and there is no reason to abandon it to a 2K or 4k digital that is still an imitation of Film, we should be able to express ourselves with both medias.
We Cinematographers , Directors and all Filmmakers should defend the ability of using Film and not let it die.

lvs

Davian: Tim Burton shot his new – not yet released – film digitally. His previous films were _all_ shot on film. :-)

There’s a huge difference between the alexa and film. I’m not saying digital is bad in any way, it’s just doesn’t look film. On film you’ve got plenty of choices like 2-perf, 3-perf, 4-perf, or super16, 65mm. You can push it, pull it, because film has incredible dynamic range and latitude. I’ve seen a huge amount of Alexa footage and I still can tell it’s digital. It looks great, but I love the grain and the texture of film more. That’s it. Film is heritage, legacy and all in all: CHOICE. Cinema won’t be the same without celluloid film.

Randal

At the end of the day, we can all debate the quality of film vs. digital, and no one will win the argument. All I can say as a filmmaker who prefers film over digital, the idea of having my preferred tools to make my art being taken out to pasture and die simply because of changes in technology and economics just isn’t right. Could you imagine telling a painter that he can no longer use paint, a brush and canvas anymore, and instead had to create solely on a tablet? Is digital the future? Yes. But why are we all in such a hurry to kill film so quickly? Forget making new films on celluloid, older movies that need restoration still need film to help restore and archive them. If Kodak is no longer producing, then what?

This new deal Kodak has made with the Hollywood big-wigs comes with a sigh of relief for me.

Robert

I’ll be honest. The idea of shooting film is just not for me. I prefer the smaller camera size that digital affords me but to outright lose the choice of shooting film is depressing. Every filmmaker deserves the choice (if they can afford it).

Helene Leff

"no one can tell the difference." If you’re a film director and you can’t tell the difference between digital and film, then you’re in luck. But if you love film and aren’t being driven to create by market forces then you
re in luck that some other directors with the ear of "studio heads" is championing your cause. Money is a poor consideration in my opinion. They used to say when budgeting a movie, that the film stock was the cheapest element on the budget. I made many films on FILM and I’m by no means being funded by a studio. The advent of digital has been driven by many other forces, least of them the filmmakers. I guess you either were brought to film by film itself or you weren’t. I started on super 8 and cutting on super 8 and still love the quality. Cassavetes and Coppola could have in theory shot on video and had an easier time of it, but then we wouldn’t have the richness of film culture we have; shooting on film makes a difference.
film makes a difference!

Helene Leff

Thank God someone is paying attention with some power and sense. I don’t care if God himself shoots on digital " and

Davian

Michael Mann, Tim Burton and David Fincher still make great cinema with the new digital format and I dare anyone to tell the difference in cinema between a movie shot on filmstock or shot on Alexa. QT and Nolan have enough money to spend, independent filmmakers don’t and the digital format make a lot of dreams come through. Not to mention it is far better for the environment.

VC

My first 3 features were film but film shot itself in the foot, every filmmaker would shoot film if they could afford it. Camera rental prices , insurance, filmstock prices, lab processing prices, negative cutting, answer printing, all very expensive stuff.

Steve Mcquien

I shoot and love film myself! But to read that Judd Apatow feels the same way makes me not want to like film.

Director NooN

This type of new 3D VR movie watching will destroy theatrical movie going and put the final nail in out date film technology. To move around in 360 degrees, grab it with your left mouse button and watch the technology work. This is the future if digital movie making, keep up or get out the way!

Director Noon

A guy wrote me his opinion about 3D and virtual technology. He said, ” I don’t think it’ll destroy theatrical movie-going. Ordinary 3D didn’t – it was, and still is, pretty much just a gimmick. I played the clip but it wouldn’t let me move the mouse or camera angle, so would suggest it’s got some way to go.”

I replied:
This type of exhibit requires a robust set of i7 processors and a very fast video card. It’s going to happen, just a little more time for the tech and the viewer to come together.

Are you familiar with the Microsoft Hololens? https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us They’re selling the beta sets right now and people are buying them as fast as they can produce them. The problem is, there will always be people who are stuck in the present. They can’t see any further than today, Star Trek was made before the moon walk. It predicted big screen tv, cell phones, advanced scanning equipment, ships the size of small cities controlled by computers. palm sized computers and they said then, impossible. See any of that now?

Anything that we can imagine, we can build. Lights that appeared by flipping a switch, horseless carriages, moving faster than the speed of a horse, flying, communicating over vast distances through a copper wire, all considered impossible or a novelty then. Just a gimmick they said, every piece of technology today was unbelievable 50, 100 years ago. Just think of what you won’t believe tomorrow.

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