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The thing about film as an art form that most entices me is that it is always in motion; it's always changing and developing. Silent movies transitioned to talkies. Black and white pictures moved to color. And with each innovation there was outcry from those declaring this latest shift would be the end of film as we know it! And in a way these critics are always right, but that's because filmmaking is an art that is always evolving along with technology. The debate is what elements and executions best exemplify what we cinephiles love about the movies.
For better or worse, film the format is dying, being overtaken by the emergence of digital media. The world's leading manufacturers of film cameras have retired their lines, and digital projection is quickly making film projectors obsolete. They could in fact be gone completely by 2015. And yet there are contemporary moviemakers who refuse to give up on film, chief among them The Dark Knight Rises' director and cinematographer Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister. But many more auteurs—including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Steven Soderbergh, and Danny Boyle—believe that digital is not only the way of the future, but also an exciting new tool that can take the medium to incredible new heights.
In the remarkably engrossing documentary Side by Side Keanu Reeves hosts a lively and in-depth debate that gives these filmmakers and many more the chance to talk about their craft and their opinion of film's latest evolution. Check out its trailer below courtesy of Tribeca Film:
I actually had the good fortune to see this feature at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, and was blown away by how accessible it makes all the technical aspects of this debate. Beyond that, I was elated that the doc's director Christopher Kenneally reached out not only to directors, but to cinematographers, actors, colorists, and editors to give a wide scope of how digital filmmaking has transformed the medium. Flat out, if you are movie lover you need to see Side by Side, and with it now being in select theaters and On Demand it really couldn't be easier to do so. But if you have the option, see it in theaters. Obviously.