“It was a fight every step of the way,” she said while accepting an Auteur Award on Wednesday at the Kodak Film Awards in Hollywood.
Fortunately, Quentin Tarantino‘s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was underway at Sony Pictures, the same studio behind “Little Women.” Gerwig said she asked Sony executives,”What’s Quentin getting?” During pre-production, she and producer Adam Merins didn’t give up.
Gerwig said, “It was mainly dudes” who stood in the way. “I knew if I didn’t say I had to shoot a movie on film, I knew it wouldn’t happen,” she said.
Gerwig recalled being on partner Noah Baumbach‘s sets and the feeling of being shot on celluloid. “As an actor, I remember that feeling of importance,” she said. “The performance felt like it was being written down on some record that mattered. I felt my soul rose closer to the surface so it could be seen. And, it was like a communion with a machine that you could have.”
She also revealed that she had wanted to shoot her 2017 directorial debut “Lady Bird” on film, but faced resistance. “I was told it’s too expensive. It’s too hard. It’s a big problem. No one knows how to load it,” Gerwig recalled.
Tarantino, who was presented with the Lifetime Award, recalled Gerwig’s fight, remembering her asking, “How many 35 prints did you make for Quentin? How many theaters are they playing in? I want the same amount of prints.”
Tarantino stressed the importance of film and as the owner of Los Angeles’ New Beverly cinema, reminding his peers that he always screens movies on film at the theater. He joked, “If Kodak stops making film tomorrow, I’ll start writing books the day after.”
Baumbach was honored with the second Auteur Award of the night. “Every young filmmaker who wants to make a movie on film now is told that it’s too expensive,” the “Marriage Story” director said, adding, “Digital is great. Choosing to shoot on film or digital should be an aesthetic choice, not a financial one.” He implored the industry “to support theaters who project movies on film.”
“The Irishman” DP Rodrigo Prieto was honored with a Lumiere Award said. “Film versus digital is so 2015,” he said. “Film is here to stay. It’s a medium I appreciate.”