Martin Scorsese Backs Kodak on Film Stock Production

Martin Scorsese Backs Kodak Film
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Martin Scorsese has strongly supported Kodak’s decision to continue its production of film stock.

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.”


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  1. Kinoeye says:

    It’s a shame that the studios persist in paying actors and other “above-the-line” talent millions and millions for a negligible amount of labor, but balk at the costs of a superior capture and preservation medium. We’ll really lose something special when film dies, but what are we gaining when we keep paying people in this industry salaries that are as inflated as their egos?

  2. filmsharks says:

    I’ve donated to the Film Foundation. I have a lot of respect for Martin Scorsese and his appreciation of preserving film classics.

  3. film is great but only so great. one question i’d ask is if he feels that using machinery to process the film once its been shot is the same as the “artisan” “film makers” he pretends to be one of? i mean, if it’s so beautiful because it feels organic and requires delicate chemical reactions to bring out the final image… is feeding your mile of footage through a machine and editing it with machines using time codes the same thing? is running a winery full of machines where you stand there and push one button and then a series of machines feed grapes through, seal them in casks and shuffle them off the same as… anyway… i’m impressed with modern digital cinema, particularly the RED cameras, but i highly suggest appreciation/understanding of what IMAX really IS. the film is HUGE and VERY heavy because it’s basically… FAT. it somewhat dwarfs average film and us as creatures because it’s just too much. “Platters with a 2.5 hour feature film weigh 250 kilograms (550 lb).”

  4. hanshotfirst1138 says:

    I still feel it’s just life support of a dead patient. I would love nothing better than for celluloid to survive, but it simply doesn’t look like a financially feasible possibility, or anything other than delaying the inevitable. So many films I’ll never see projected on film :(. I fear it’s all over but the crying at this point :(. I wish them the best of luck. I’d love to have a “save Kodak” or “Long live 35mm” T-shirt. Fuji went down, and I think Kodak are just next in line :(.

  5. I don’t know why so many people think true artists would compromise so fully as to abandon the best medium for image capture that’s ever existed. Personally, I’m in still photography and campaign for film as much as I can. I’m extremely grateful to the people in the movie industry that are so powerful that people will actually listen to them. To all the people that speak up on behalf of film, thank you! It’s the most important creative choice available.

  6. Daniel says:

    What took these peole so damn long?
    Magnanimous pricks.

  7. Eduardo N. says:

    In celluloid we trust.

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