Last week Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow banded together in an effort to convince studios to buy a set amount of Kodak film over the next few years (Kodak being the only major company left producing motion-picture film). Now Martin Scorsese is tossing his hat in the ring as well. While digital filmmaking is obviously going to be the way most movies are shot in the future, it’s nice to at least have the means to go for a more traditional aesthetic. As good as digital looks, it still has a bit of a way to go before it appears as cinematic as film does. Not to mention the fact that, although shooting on digital is cheaper, storing digital information is actually more expensive if done properly since it has to be transferred to a new medium every few years.
On the heels of Kodak’s decision to keep producing film, Scorsese issued a statement. It contains some salient points, so hit the jump to check out Martin Scorsese’s letter of support to Kodak.
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.
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.
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.