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Week in Review: Christopher Nolan leads charge to save celluloid

Week in Review: Christopher Nolan leads charge to save celluloid


Film and celluloid is going the way of vinyl. The shift from tactile mediums to ones and zeroes has happened so quickly that for a while it had looked like these records and film strips that we had used to record our artistic history for the entire 20th century would suddenly become obsolete and erased forever. While vinyl has experienced a resurgence among those who truly love music, the already struggling movie theaters and multiplexes have all but done away with film in place of digital projection. Kodak’s film sales have dropped 96 percent in the last decade.

In fact, you can almost count on two hands the number of major filmmakers still actively using film when making studio pictures today: Quentin Tarantino, J.J. Abrams (who is making Star Wars: Episode VII on film), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Christopher Nolan.

Nolan this week spoke at an event hosted by the Getty Research Institute, appealing for the preservation of film and speaking to the misconceptions of celluloid’s cost. This comes weeks after Kodak signed a deal with all the major studios, including Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. to extend the shelf life of film for “a few” years.

“If you want the choice, it’s very important to support film now,” Nolan said via THR. “Filmmakers are going out of their way to shoot film and talk about it. We want to see a world where there’s a choice; it’s important to preserve it for future generations.”

Nolan stressed the importance of providing a choice for filmmakers moving into the future, but he also explained that not letting film preservation slide is essential because there are no policies currently in place to protect and preserve even digital films, a point illustrated by Matthew Dessem’s brilliant feature story in The Dissolve back in February of 2014.

“We don’t have a uniform standard for preservation and archiving for the studios, at the Academy or at archival institutions,” Nolan explained. “There’s no stable digital archiving medium, [at least not] in the immediate future. If there is, it would need to be tested for decades.” Film archiving on the other hand, “works and is resolution independent … and future proof.”


Though the big news coming out of Disney‘s shareholder meeting Thursday was the confirmation that Frozen 2 was in the works, CEO Bob Iger laid down the law banning the depiction of smoking in all Disney films. This ban extends to characters in Star Wars, Marvel or Pixar films. According to The Wrap, Iger cited a study linking smoking in films to kids later taking up the habit. The exception to the rule would be of historical figures, including one Disney is working on involving Abraham Lincoln. Not that smoking has ever been a problem in Disney films before.

Richard Glatzer, a co-director and writer of the Oscar winning Still Alice along with Wash Westmoreland, passed away Wednesday at the age of 63. Glatzer had been battling ALS and suffered through it as he was filming Still Alice. Westmoreland, who was also Glatzer’s husband, tweeted the above photo after Glatzer passed. Glatzer and Westmoreland also directed 2013’s The Last of Robin Hood on the life of Errol Flynn, and Glatzer served as a producer and creative consultant on America’s Next Top Model for many years.

Following the death of documentarian Albert Maysles last week, Thompson on Hollywood is reporting that Turner Classic Movies will host a retrospective of his films. Here’s the schedule:

TCM Remembers Albert Maysles– Monday, March 23
8 p.m. “Grey Gardens” (1976)
10:00 p.m. “Salesman” (1968)
11:45 p.m. “Gimme Shelter” (1970)
1:30 a.m. “Meet Marlon Brando” (1968)

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