July 30, 2014 1:02pm PT by Carolyn Giardina
Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams Win Studio Bailout Plan to Save Kodak Film
Troubled Kodak has all but finalized a deal with the major Hollywood studios that will allow film to remain alive in certain instances, at least for the near future.
“After extensive discussions with filmmakers, leading studios and others who recognize the unique artistic and archival qualities of film, we intend to continue production. Kodak thanks these industry leaders for their support and ingenuity in finding a way to extend the life of film," Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement Wednesday.
J.J. Abrams, who is currently shooting Star Wars: Episode VII on celluloid, Christopher Nolan, who used film on his upcoming Interstellar, Quentin Tarantino and Judd Apatow are among a group of leading filmmakers who are passionate film supporters and have stepped up to urge Hollywood to keep film going. Their campaign has worked, with the studios coming aboard to guarantee they will pay for some film processing.
With the rise of digital imaging technologies, Kodak's film sales have plummeted by 96 percent over the last decade. The decline has accelerated in the last two years as most theaters have converted their conversion to digital.
The film supplier has long maintained that it would continue to manufacture film as long as it was profitable. That was a notable part of the company's plans when it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September. The company is the last remaining maker of motion picture film after Fujifilm exited the business last year.
A Kodak spokesman said labs and other suppliers also are part of the discussions, in order to ensure an infrastructure to support film. That includes, she said, the Burbank, Calif.-based Fotokem, the last remaining lab in Hollywood.