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Ballad of Narayama

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Kodak says film is alive and well

From Kim Snyder, Hollywood, CA:

I wanted to personally reply to your post yesterday about the ‘death' of film. Because, despite what you may have heard, film is not dead. Kodak is still making billions of feet of film. Yes, the landscape has changed, and digital technology is giving filmmakers new options, but we are committed to giving today's artists a choice when deciding which “paint” will best illustrate their stories.

As you know, because you've visited our research facilities, Kodak is a leader in imaging science. We have the best and brightest minds at work on new and innovative technologies, including a new color negative film to be released later this year. You'll also see our premier technologies on screens when anticipated blockbusters such as "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol" and "The Dark Knight Rises" are released, and currently with indie darlings such as "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "My Week with Marilyn."

Your concerns about preserving the art form are real, as well. As the only recognized archival medium for motion picture content, film continues to be valued for its longevity. There is no digital archival master format with endurance characteristics equivalent to that of celluloid. Film is proven to last 100-plus years, and with no widely-accepted process for digital motion picture preservation in sight, this should not be overlooked or undervalued.

So, that's a little bit about Kodak color negative film today. Of course, in your post, you primarily discussed the transition to digital cinema, and the switch from film prints to this new method of displaying content. You're right that digital cinema conversions continue at a brisk pace –- especially in the US. But, just to help give you an idea of the size our print film market –- as of last year, an average of roughly 70 million people per week around the world watched a movie printed on Kodak film. We still make a lot of film for theatrical distribution.

In closing, I understand that you've probably seen plenty of news coverage recently about Kodak, and heard much speculation about our future. Please rest assured that we are committed to this industry and to our filmmaking customers. I expect that Kodak will continue to be in the news in the days and weeks ahead. Regardless of what that coverage brings, we will not let the volatility of the market distract us from doing our best on behalf of the motion picture business, which will always be about telling stories in which the technology is transparent, where the technology works behind the scenes to enable the filmmakers' creativity.

Thank you for lending Kodak your ear, and know we are doing everything in our power to keep your “celluloid dreams” alive!

Kim Snyder
President, Entertainment Imaging, Vice President Eastman Kodak Company

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