The Dark Knight Rises director’s comments sparked an avalanche of commentary. One responded with “…Admire Nolan for his stance…it is one, however, that will be lost in the long run… the benefits from technology are often good yet this technology leaves a toxic trail in its path….because [they] think it is less costly than film… not necessarily better for the shoot… just cheaper.”
Nolan was quick to dismiss those who praise the low cost of digital filmmaking… So I decided to check in with a few of our Latino indie filmmakers to ask them what they thought of Nolan’s lack of love for digital.
When I mentioned that Nolan said that using digital, “is reducing most theaters to showing TV commercials…. comparing video, like television,” Hendricksen countered with: I watched Nolan’s Inception, which was shot on 35mm and I was still confused!”
Cunliffe added, “This is a great time to be making films, because digital technology has helped to level the playing field across the board. This is the first time in the history of movies, that people who are not especially well-connected, or do not have an abundance of resources, are still able to tell their stories on an affordable medium, and to have them accessible for viewing in a variety of ways beyond the traditional. In fact, filmmakers are being much more creative in their methods of storytelling because of the digital medium. Yes, film is beautiful, but the bottom line is still about story. Is your story engaging? In my opinion, it is the content that matters most...not what medium it was shot on.”
“Its beauty is still unmatchable by digital,”said Najera. But he understands the change. “Look, I started out cutting film on flatbeds but do I want to go back to that? Even 35mm film is digitized today for easier editing and it took only a few years to move on to digital cameras. The quality isn't perfect but the reality is most kids under 25 already live in a digital world and don't understand what all the fuss is about. I disagree with Nolan when he says they are just 'video' movies. Like any medium it’s how you use it to tell great stories. What Nolan needs to do is be a part of improving the medium not complaining. Somebody ought to put some of the new cameras in his hands, take away his budget and see what he comes with.” Najera's credits include his award-winning indie Libertad and Dancing on the Edge, won the Outstanding Documentary at the IMAGEeNation Film Festival. His AIDS documentary Phillip's Story, also was a film festival favorite.
“No one would argue that film captures a layer of mood,” commented a filmmaker at the Produced By Conference, “that is lacking with digital, can enhance a feeling you’d take away from watching, but does that ultimately matter in today’s world of entertainment?” I don’t think so with the new way of how we watch movies: ipad, plasma, LEDs, PC, etc.
And, all three directors agreed that there is no way that any of them would give up turing their stories into movies simply because they do not have the money to shoot on film.
At the end of the day, film or digital, it is like JoJo Hendricksen said, “it is the story that matters.”
Check out JoJo Hendricksen’s website for his GB2525 film: http://www.gb2525.com
Indie Filmmakers on Digital Filmmaking
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