Read Martin Scorsese's Passionate Statement About Saving Celluloid
by Ethan Anderton
August 4, 2014
Just last week we learned that directors Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, Quentin Tarantino and J.J. Abrams assembled like The Avengers in order to convince major movie studios to buy a set quantity of film for the next several years in order to keep Kodak in business and not let film die. This would ensure that Kodak could keep making film stock and give the format at least some life in the industry being taken over by digital technology. Now longtime film advocate Martin Scorsese has made a statement in support of this initiative by these filmmakers to save a pivotal part of film history that needed a savior. More below!
Here's the full statement made by Scorsese about the effort to save film:
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.
Scorsese himself has switched to digital, because digital technology can finally match the quality of real film, though he still pushes the importance of film in the world of cinema, especially when it comes to preserving prints of the past for future generations. This is truly a passionate statement from a man who loves film not just as a medium, but literally as a format. While technology is changing the face of filmmaking, it doesn't mean that we have to abandon formats like this completely. After all, the difference between shooting on film and shooting digital isn't the same as the difference between 8-track tapes and MP3s. Cool?