Produced By: J.J. Abrams on Film's Future and his Love-Hate Relationship With Tech

"If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it — then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away," the director said.
Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
J.J. Abrams

On Saturday during PGA’s Produced By Conference, J.J. Abrams made the case for why he wants film to remain a creative option for filmmaking. 

“I have not yet shot a movie digitally,” he explained. “Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

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Abrams, who chose film for Star Trek Into Darkness, said he wanted to match the look of the previous Star Trek film. "Also, with all the CG, it was important to me that it was as warm and human and analog as possible," he remarked. "It may not be obvious to many of the people who saw it, but I think it is more important than people know."

During the session, Abrams also talked about his love-hate relationship with consumer technology. "When you go out, you might as well be in the office, because [you have your mobile] phone," he said. "This technology connects you with everyone you are not with, and disconnects you from everyone you are with."

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He added that technology is also changing the notion of communal activities. Abrams described how his kids play video games connected to their friends, compared with his own childhood of playing with friends face to face. “What is social is very different from when we were kids,” Abrams said.

He then pointed to his love of cinema, explaining to the filled session at Fox's Zanuck Theatre, "the sound of a room this size experiencing something as a community is in our DNA.”

Kodak hosted the session at the theater on Saturday. In his welcome remarks, Andrew Evenski, Kodak’s president and general manager for entertainment and commercial films, received plenty of applause when he firmly stated: “Film is not dead.”

He added: “There are plenty of labs around the world to process motion picture film, and we are here to help.”