One of last year’s most discussed films, “Boyhood”, was filmed on film. “Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens is being filmed this year – on film. Oscar nominated “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was filmed on film. Why should three such disparate and yet highly successful movies have been produced on film stock?
The answer is different in each case – “Boyhood” went for a documentary-style filming, seeking the grainy immediacy of film as a way of emphasising the down-to-earth and unscripted nature of the film’s storyline. J.J. Abrams has always been a huge fan of film and so it’s no surprise after his huge success with the Star Trek franchise that he’s taking Star Wars back to its roots, not just with Han and Leia reprising their original roles but with celluloid as the medium on which he shoots. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” sought a very specific style – crisp but rich and allowing for a brilliancy of colour that emphasised the age and sumptuous nature of its settings whilst remaining human in scale, for that, film was the only logical choice.
But it’s not just film-makers that love film – digital transfer is not the whole answer
Cinema goers also love films, and film projection. Kodak has been urging indie theatres and cinemas to maintain film projection and as cinema attendance becomes increasingly fractured between those who only go to the Multiplex to see the latest release, and those who attend indie showings, often accompanied by live events such as panels, cosplays and debates, there appears to still be scope for a future based on film.
Film fans, rather than movie watchers, appear to have a heritage based response to film which can keep local cinemas thriving and indie film producers in business for decades to come.
One final reason to maintain film production and technology – as rare film reels of previously unseen or apparently lost footage still surface, there’s no knowing what may be found in future – or what a tragedy it would be if we were unable to view it, because the film transfer process had become a digital monopoly.