The technology used to make films has been changing at a rapid pace for the past twenty years. Digital video has gone from being an upstart media to a primary means for creating movies. Major companies are no longer producing new film cameras. Native 3D requires shooting on digital, but the popularity of IMAX keeps some film purists going. Companies like Kodak are experiencing tougher times than ever.

Side by Side is a documentary directed by Chris Kenneally in which Keanu Reeves (who also produced) talks about film and video with a wide variety of filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Martin Scorsese, Andy & Lana Wachowski, Christopher Nolan, Walter Pfister, David Fincher and many, many more.

See a trailer below.

So which side do you take, if you feel it is necessary to take a side at all? I’m of the age where film still seems like something to hold on to, and the occasional really ugly example of digital cinematography (In Time, for example) makes me long for the prevalence of film. But I have to accept that things are changing, and film could be a marginal technology within a decade.

Side by Side will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation. We show what artists and filmmakers have been able to accomplish with both film and digital and how their needs and innovations have helped push filmmaking in new directions. Interviews with directors, cinematographers, colorists, scientists, engineers and artists reveal their experiences and feelings about working with film and digital–where we are now, how we got here and what the future may bring.

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