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Five Questions: Andrew Evenski, President, Kodak Entertainment & Commercial Film

What's Next for Kodak Film Stock as the Company Emerges from Bankruptcy?

On Tuesday, Kodak announced its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, having spun off many of its businesses — including still-photography products, retail photo kiosks, and document scanners — to refocus on a market it calls "imaging for business." That includes motion picture film, still in demand but also in decline as more and more projects move to digital acquisition. We asked Kodak President of Entertainment & Commerical Film Andrew Evenski Five Questions via email about the future of film, Kodak's R&D efforts, and more.

StudioDaily: Kodak shed a lot of business in its restructuring. Why did the company decide to keep producing motion picture film, and what does the company’s emergence from bankruptcy mean to its customers in the motion picture business?

Andrew Evenski: Our Entertainment Imaging (EI) division, which includes our motion picture film products and services, is a stable and profitable division of the company, so it made sense for it to remain part of the company. EI is also the largest driver of film manufacturing volume. We’re going to continue to manufacture and sell a diverse portfolio of film products – from camera negative and intermediate film, to print and archival stocks. The bottom line is: Kodak is committed to this space. As long as there is demand, we will supply it. And now we are a stronger, more focused company positioned to serve the industry’s needs well into the future.

Who is still shooting film? Where are film prints being distributed? And how long do you expect that demand to continue?

Filmmakers today choose film for the same reasons they’ve always chosen film. We hear over and over about the many benefits and factors that go into a creative team’s decision to originate on film. Just look at some of the anticipated movies that have chosen to tell their stories on film: Transcendence, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Interstellar, August: Osage County, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Saving Mr. Banks, among many more. Furthermore, there is still a steady demand within the global print film business. And over the last year and a half, we signed new contracts with the major Hollywood studios who have committed to buying Kodak film products.

Some DPs have become concerned about the continued availability of high-quality 35mm film stock in quantity. What assurances can you offer cinematographers, directors, and producers about Kodak's commitment to meeting their needs?

We are here for filmmakers who want to shoot film, with a wide range of quality products and a team of experts to support them. We live in a world that is rapidly changing, and we are aware there are a multitude of creative and technical choices. Over the years, we have responded by making sure that our product, in its space, remained the very best, and that product quality is bar none. We want filmmakers to choose Kodak film, and we are doing everything to make it happen.

What about the archival part of the business? How long do you see film remaining a standard for archival elements, rather than some form of digital archiving?

At the end of the day, film is the most stable and reliable preservation medium. Hands down, it lives on in a way that cannot be compared to other formats. Last year, we introduced two archival films – KODAK Color Asset Protection Film 2332, optimized for content owners who originate or finish their productions on digital formats and want to protect their valuable media for the future, and Kodak Vision3 Digital Separation Film 2237, a black-and-white separation film for preserving images from color digital masters. Only film offers a standardized, human-readable format that has been in existence for well over a century, and methods for retrieving content from a 35mm frame will exist well into the future. When content is preserved on film, no re-mastering is necessary. 

Is research and development continuing on new film technology, or is the business essentially in a holding pattern?

Kodak’s R&D continues and is focused on film technology that makes manufacturing more efficient. Kodak is a materials science company with a wealth of experience and expertise in specialty chemistry, deposition technologies, and roll-to-roll manufacture – all of which are important to making the world’s premier film products. These core capabilities are the foundation of the emerging company, and they are what enable Kodak’s focus in other areas, including packaging, commercial printing and functional printing.

3 Comments

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  • Cinema Camera Operator

    Film is always better,better than digital or any electronic format.All people who use digital will be ended using film if they want to preserve who they record,yes record because only on film you can shoot…film is an art..digiatl just tv…video tv..say what they say.Long life to cinema on real film as must be

  • Mark

    Look, EVERYONE knows that film is better than digital capture (the digital people just cannot bring themselves to admit it) Film offers a textural and even spatial quality that digital video simply cannot match. Video adherents say that they cannot tell DV from 35mm. I say they need glasses (and not the 3D kind either) I have seen digital movies and and they look like crappy VIDEO to me. Even the ones out of Hollywood have never fooled me. The only times I have been fooled is when they shoot on film, but then make the stupid decision to have the color played with as with the case of “300″. But if you get a proper exposure in front of your camera, film will look good without the need for a lengthy and expensive scene-by-scene color correction (get that one-lite and save a bundle ;-)

  • woodyherman

    I just went through 8 rolls of KODAK vision 3 Super 8 negative film. Where do I get it developed and a positive copy made?

    I was showing my daughter this past summer on a visit to my hometown where the foto-mat was. I had to explain that the foto-mat was a drive up Kiosk in the middle of a shopping mall lot where you dropped your film off and picked it up later.
    Kodak make it easier to use your products through third party support. DWAYNE’s out of Kansas does not deal with negative film. Others will develop the negative and shoot it in HD which is hundreds of dollars.