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Exclusive: Keanu Reeves on Why Film Should Stick Around in the Digital Age

Exclusive: Keanu Reeves on Why Film Should Stick Around in the Digital Age

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To some, the name Keanu Reeves conjures up images from “The Matrix,” “Speed” or even “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” but for true cineastes, Reeves’ most significant role yet may be as the producer of “Side by Side,” the 2012 documentary about the transition from photochemical film to digital production.

Now, Reeves has produced the follow-up, “Side by Side Extra,” Volumes 1-5, a five-volume DVD collection of some of the most fascinating extended interviews captured during the making of “Side by Side.” Directed by Christopher Kenneally, director of the original documentary and produced by Reeves and Justin Szlasa, “Side by Side Extra” is a comprehensive exploration of how digital technology has transformed the way films are made.

In an interview with Indiewire, Reeves conjectured why we feel so sentimental towards celluloid. “It was the medium we grew up falling in love with,” he said. “That was the medium we were told stories. It touched who we are in terms of storytelling and its beauty. We grew up with it. It’s been around for 100 years. There’s such a rich tradition.”

Reeves explained his initial interest in the project. “For me, it originally was the transition [from film to digital]. It was called ‘Side by Side’ for that reason, to see what we were losing and what we were gaining or the perception of what we were losing and the perception of what we were gaining,” he said. “And then how that impacts technology on a legacy technology, and how did that translate down to the artists and to the audience and to archival, really investigating that.”

“Side by Side Extra” came about because there was so much rich material that didn’t make it into the original documentary. “We interviewed probably about 140 people in about 40 minutes to an hour with each interview, sometimes more. It was a massive undertaking to edit all that down to make a movie, which I think was about 95 minutes,” Kenneally told Indiewire. “It just seemed like there was a lot of really useful, fascinating information that was not out there for people to experience.”

Starting today, every week for the next four weeks, Indiewire will feature an exclusive clip from “Side by Side Extra.”

Watch our first exclusive clip from “Side by Side Extra” below featuring Oscar-winning special effects artist Dennis Muren (“Jurassic Park,” “The Abyss”) and visit the web site to purchase the DVDs.

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