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‘Our aim is to ensure freedom of choice for artists and filmmakers’: Christopher Nolan

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a close up of Christopher Nolan © Provided by Screen

Speaking about what made Dean and him join hands, Nolan said, “Medium specificity is a concept in the art world. The institution has to respect the medium the artist chooses to work on, you cannot simply take a photo of a Picasso painting, stick to the wall and tell people they are seeing original work. Look at the history of cinema and film restoration, you have to start applying that principle to the medium specificity.”

In March 2015, Dean and Nolan presented the introductory edition of “Reframing the Future of Film”at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. “When we did the first talk, the struggle was to diffuse the misconception that it was a film-versus-digital conversation. I believe things have moved forward. People are beginning to understand our message, which is more about freedom of choice for artists and filmmakers,” said Nolan, and added, “We have to stand up to the idea that there’s a difference between something that’s shot and presented photochemically and something that's done digitally.”

Citing the proverb “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, Nolan said that, once the viewers were disconnected from celluloid projections, everything feels like television. “So, it is important to understand why we are advocating the use of photochemical. Once you show it to people, they understand that,” added Nolan. This conversation was succeeded by the 70mm IMAX film screening of Dunkirk and 35 mm screening of Interstellar. Nolan announced during the talk that, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Bros will screen an “unrestored” 70mm print of the landmark science fiction at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. “The idea is to give the audience a chance to experience as closely as possible what it would have been to watch 2001: A Space Odyssey when it came out in 1968,” he added.

The conversation set the stage for Jeffrey Clarke, CEO of Eastman Kodak Company, to assure that “film is not going away” and make the announcement that his company would keep producing photochemical films. “We don’t sell many films in India. You need the infrastructure and the labs. We are going to expand the lab in India to create the ecosystem for people to shoot on films again,” he said. Kodak is the last factory in the world to make motion picture film. Though Indian filmmakers were using celluloid widely till 2010, today digital filming dominates the market.

Addressing the concerns that using celluloid is a costly affair, Nolan maintained that it was not very expensive. One of the factors that drives Nolan to use celluloid is the experience it creates for the audience. “I always feel I’m the audience. I’m part of my audience and am watching the films. That makes me think of photochemical films even when I’m writing my movie’s script,” Nolan said.

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