Re: [Frameworks] Forbes editorial about Kodak

From: Pip Chodorov <>
Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2011 11:09:59 +0200

This also is a fallacy. Film is a choice more than ever today. 20
years ago it was an obvious choice but today it is a choice with a
committment attached - an esthetic, political, poetic or personal

More and more young students are getting interested in working with
super-8 for example, and Kodak has released new stocks, faced with
new demand. Our federation of 26 film labs has grown to 32 over the
past few years, with new artist-run labs springing up in new places
(Athens, Vilnius, Reykjavic...) For the almost-complete list see

You say the process is losing footing but I see it stable and
growing: The chemicals are readily avaiable (they are used in other
industries), cameras and projectors and editing equipment are
everywhere and still coveted, snapped up on ebay as soon as they are
made available, and most of that equipment is easy to fix with a
little know-how - spare parts can always be made or found (not so
with most digital technology). I have seen engaged artists
resuscitate all kinds of equipment, and even refabricate the rare
lens-mount or obsolete battery.

Thanks to the digital revolution, we film artists can now get our
hands on machines that we could never have even dreamt about in the
past: Optical printers! Contact printers! Developing machines! 35mm
projectors! Optical sound cameras! Six-plate Steenbecks galore! Even
the mythical Nagra! L'Abominable has finally found, after ten years
of searching, an Oxberry 16mm/Super-16mm/35mm optical printer, a
machine that cost $20.000 just a couple of years ago, for free if we
pick it up - we will be able to make all sorts of work in all three
formats, from optical effects to release prints, for the cost of

It is certainly not about deep pockets. L'Abominable got a call in
1996 from a friend in Bourges who found a Debrie contact printer in a
junkyard for cars - we went and picked it up. Sure it took some time
and effort and engineering know-how to get it working properly, but
on that Matipo I eventually made over the past decade a half-dozen
films that have shown in festivals around the world. Not only me but
over 200 people have worked on that printer. We also found that
festivals were overjoyed to receive 16mm prints as these have become
rare occurrences.

The production budget and the cost of prints are minimal - 10
cents/foot for developing, printing AND processing the print! My
22-minute film"Piltzer" cost roughly $600 to produce. It has shown in
dozens of festivals and is rented regularly from the film coops in
Paris, New York and San Francisco. At $60 per rental, each print is
reimbursed after five screenings. The film has made its money back
several times over.

Even if you disagree that this way of working is tenable or
long-lasting, it exists, and the argument that "film may not be a
choice anymore" is not an evidence at all.

To Maya Deren's remark that she can make a film for the price that a
Hollywood studio spends on lipstick, I say: I can make a film for the
price that a videaste has to spend on a new hard drive!

-Pip Chodorov

At 23:21 -0400 8/10/11, Mark Longolucco wrote:
>>It doesn't matter if digital looks like film or not.
>I would beg to differ that it is kind of the point- not as to why
>artists choose to work in film, but for why film may not be a choice
>for an artist anymore.
>This issue with film's struggle to stay vibrant is that it is the
>entire process that is losing footing. It's not just the celluloid
>production, it's the chemicals, it's physical cameras, it's the
>processing labs, it's projectors, the editors, it's everything. All
>of these individual parts have to fight with the idea that much of
>what can be done visually with film, can be mimicked with digital
>cameras. Not just buy the companies that produce these things but
>that the artist that will be using them. And while I understand
>artists now can see the value of film and its physical differences
>from digital "film", I have a hard time believing future artists
>will feel the need to go through the processes of film or challenge
>an idea that they might need to.

FrameWorks mailing list
Received on Sun Oct 09 2011 - 02:10:17 CDT