For many, the difference between film and digital recording isn’t a difference of technology, but one of medium. Movies shot on celluloid film have both tangible and psychological importance to the creators and the movie-watchers, and in the hands of masters, film can still be used to terrific and unique aesthetic effect. That’s why it’s good to know that film will still be around, at least for a little while.
Kodak, one of the last few producers of 35mm and 70mm film, had planned on completely halting production of film this year. That has something to do with the fact that film sales have tanked by 96 percent in the last ten years, which is a big reason why Kodak found itself restructuring in Chapter 11 bankruptcy not too long ago. Financially, producing film has become untenable.
But, there are some excellent filmmakers who know exactly how to get the most out of film, and it’d be a shame if that medium got taken away from them entirely. Fortunately, some of those filmmakers, along with some major studios, got together to hammer out a deal with Kodak to keep film in production. Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and Weinstein Co. have all signed on to purchase a set quantity of film from Kodak for at least the next few years—all told, 450 million linear feet of film.
Some of that 450 million linear feet is going to contribute to some pretty exciting upcoming projects. J.J. Abrams, one of the directors behind the push to save film, is shooting Star Wars Episode VII on film. Another director who was instrumental in making the deal happen was Quentin Tarantino, whose Hateful Eight will be shot on 70mm film. Art is more enjoyable when the creators get to use the tools they’re most comfortable with—seems like this is one of those all-too-rare deals where everyone really does win.