Posted by Valentina Valentini on August 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm
NOTE: This article was filed before Kodak made its announcement late last night that they are looking at the possibility of selling off their Personalized and Document Imaging businesses. For more information: http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Home.htm
I keep hearing the phrase:
“Film is dead.”
That is completely inaccurate. And moreover, it’s hurtful. Hurtful to Kodak and Fuji who are still very much around (albeit in a much, much smaller sense), and hurtful to the people that still have a love affair with the one cinematic medium that has been around longer than any other.
Perhaps in 100 years we’ll be saying, ‘Digital is dead,’ because some other newer/better/cheaper/faster technology will have taken its place, and we’ll have to be nostalgic about the days of the Alexa or DSLRs. But for now, let’s try and be sensitive to a part of our industry that is not quite in the ground – a part of our industry that, against all odds, is actually making a comeback on the indie side of the tracks in regards to projects that are originally slated to shoot HD that switch to film. This month alone, there are three low budget feature projects that were slated for HD that are now shooting 16mm.
“There is definitely a resurgence of independents shooting on film,” says Lorette Bayle, Kodak’s feature film account manager. “Mostly on Super 16mm. In Los Angeles last month, there were six projects that decided to go from HD to film – four on 16mm and two on 35mm. Two-perf 35mm was considered by all.”
Doesn’t seem like film is dead, does it? Sure, it’s shrunk – like old ladies and gents do in their ripening years. They shrink, they reform a bit, they learn new things and have to adapt with the ever-changing and ever-increasing amount of technology that seeps into their lives. If they want to talk to their grandkids anymore, they better learn how to FaceTime. So if Kodak wants to stay relevant, they better learn how to compete in a different way, with different people in the industry. And they seem, so far, to be coping fairly well.
Although Kodak has always had a big presence in the indie world, their programs and sponsorships have been slashed due to the severe budget cuts in the company and its recent filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy (the non-fatal kind of bankruptcy).
“Kodak has sponsored every film festival of any significance – big and small – in the world,” Bayle states. “As well as non-profits that have programs for independent projects like Sundance Institute, FIND, and Film Independent. There are several programs around the world that Kodak has sponsored and continues to sponsor, including programs in place for film students. However, these programs and sponsorships are not expanding, they are shrinking.”
On the bigger budgeted indies like PT Anderson’s The Master and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, 65mm and 35mm have become the cult directors’ choice. Eighty percent of the soon-to-be-released The Master, was shot on 65 mm and 20 percent on 35mm, and Django Unchained used over a million feet of 35mm (it will be in theaters this fall).
So we all know that Kodak and film are not what they used to be. That’s clear – but dead? That’d be like calling your 83-year-old grandmother dead as she’s taking off to her weekly bingo game.