Last week, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams banded together in support of Kodak’s announcement they’ll continue to produce film stock. Today, the man who has dedicated much of his life to preserving cinema has gone above and beyond the others, issuing a statement on why this initiative is so important.
Martin Scorsese, chair of The Film Foundation, is no stranger to being vocal about his opinion regarding the industry. (In 1980, around the release of Raging Bull, he even lashed out at Kodak for the quality of their film stock.) His latest words are more positive, celebrating Kodak’s decision, but still provides a warning for what a future without film might look like.
There’s certainly still hope to be had regarding shooting on film, as Interstellar, Star Wars: Episode VII, The Hateful Eight, and more projects utilize the format. While digital becomes more prevalent, let’s always hope there’s still an option for filmmakers to decide which they’d like to use. Check out Scorsese’s statement below.
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 information 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.
What was most convincing in Scorsese’s statement?