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Martin Scorsese Rallies to Keep Film Stock Alive: 'Film is an art form'

Photo of Paula Bernstein By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire August 4, 2014 at 11:09AM

We can always count on Martin Scorsese to support the art of film -- and the production of film stock.
Martin Scorsese
Paramount Pictures Martin Scorsese in "Hugo"

Hollywood directors including Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow recently lobbied Hollywood studios to support Kodak to keep film stock in use -- and their efforts seemed to have worked with Kodak announcing it will continue to produce film stock.

Now Martin Scorsese, Chair of The Film Foundation, and longtime supporter of film, has issued the following statement in support of the announcement of Kodak's decision to continue its production of film stock:

"Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film." -- Martin Scorsese

We have many names for what we do – cinema, movies, motion pictures. And…film. We're called directors, but more often we're called filmmakers. Filmmakers. I'm not suggesting that we ignore the obvious: HD isn't coming, it's here. The advantages are numerous: the cameras are lighter, it's much easier to shoot at night, we have many more means at our disposal for altering and perfecting our images. And, the cameras are more affordable: films really can be made now for very little money. Even those of us still shooting on film finish in HD, and our movies are projected in HD. So, we could easily agree that the future is here, that film is cumbersome and imperfect and difficult to transport and prone to wear and decay, and that it’s time to forget the past and say goodbye – really, that could be easily done. Too easily.

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

It seems like we're always being reminded that film is, after all, a business. But film is also an art form, and young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form. Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of course not. In the history of motion pictures, only a minuscule percentage of the works comprising our art form was not shot on film. Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film. Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital informaton will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for.

READ MORE: 10 Reasons Why Filmmakers Should Shoot Film According to Kodak

Our industry – our filmmakers – rallied behind Kodak because we knew that we couldn't afford to lose them, the way we’ve lost so many other film stocks. This news is a positive step towards preserving film, the art form we love.

This article is related to: Martin Scorsese, Kodak, Filmmaker Toolkit, Digital, Digital Future, Digital Projection, Tech

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