The director, who’s been actively involved in film preservation, noted that “film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies.”
Kodak revealed last week that it was planning to continue the production of film stock as the company worked to finalize agreements with studios to save the format in the digital age. Major filmmakers like J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino have lobbied to save Kodak, which has seen sales fall 96% in the past eight years.
Scorsese chairs The Film Foundation. Here’s the entire statement:
“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.”
Paris Barclay, president of the Directors Guild of America, issued a similar statement on July 31: “We join our members in applauding efforts to ensure that directors have the continued choice of making our movies on film. Film vs digital is a topic of passionate discussion within the filmmaking community; while most appreciate the opportunities that digital provides, directors and fans alike share a love for the beauty and history of film. We’re incredibly pleased that film will remain a viable option for filmmakers for the foreseeable future.”