Fight for 35mm
Are the days of 35mm film numbered? Recent moves by the major Hollywood (and foreign) studios don’t augur well for the format. While it takes thousands of dollars to duplicate a 35mm print and disseminate several thousand copies to movie theaters around the U.S., a digital copy of that 35mm print can be made for about $200 and then shipped on a hard drive (or, soon, by satellite or cable) to theaters, saving the studios millions of dollars every year. That’s great for the studios’ bottom lines, and they’re pretty much forcing America’s theater-owners to convert to digital projectors by threatening the elimination of film and by offering monetary incentives to defray the cost of conversion. The problem is that digital “prints” are great for DVD and home entertainment, but should never be used for big-screen, theatrical presentations. There is a warmth, fluidity and depth to 35mm film that digital can never replicate. (See Jerry Mander’s “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television,” which details the physical and psychological differences between watching a continuous image on film and an image broken up into dots and bits on digital). Worse, the change to digital will lock-out the few remaining small theater-owners and art-houses, who won’t be able to get 35mm prints of classic films — and, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t afford the digital changeover. What to do? Check out the following sites (Fight for 35mm, Row Three, Movieline) that discuss the issue, then sign the “Fight for 35mm” Petition. Please. Now.