Over the last decade or two, the medium of film has been on the decline, with the stratospheric rise of digital technology. Noting the business component of “show business,” this makes sense: Increasingly abundant and cheaper by the day, professional grade digital cameras provide a cheaper and easier workflow than any film camera could, also allowing a director to shoot off as many takes as he or she wishes, running the camera for any amount of time.
Though film is disappearing, even within film schools, count Kodachrome director Mark Raso among those who see the value of film—despite all costs and any extra labor—and an aesthetic in film that cannot be replicated. Based on an article by A.G. Sulzberger of The New York Times—with a screenplay by lauded novelist Jonathan Tropper—the director’s second feature focuses on a troubled father-son relationship between a disillusioned A&R exec (Jason Sudeikis) and a renowned photographer (Westworld‘s Ed Harris), who coaxes his son into a road trip to Kansas to process four rolls of film before the last Kodachrome facility closes down. The feature, of course, is shot on film.
“The very first short film I ever did was on film,” Raso explains, speaking to his affection for the format. “I hadn’t touched it for maybe 12, 15 years, and one thing that it did that I kind of enjoyed—and I think it relates to the broader spectrum of this move toward digital—is it made me more present on set, because you couldn’t push a button to re-watch what you shot. It kind of grounded me, it kind of made me present, and I think that was a wonderful thing.”
As actors, Harris and Sudeikis certainly appreciate the medium of film and the increasingly rare opportunity to work within it. “I shoot pictures here and there, and there’s an intention that you bring to something, versus film, where every frame, you can put a dollar amount, literally, if you want. Because it is actually tangible, it’s not as ephemeral as digital,” Sudekis reflects. “I know when I shoot pictures, if I have a Leika digital camera, I’ll pop off 20 pictures of the same damn thing—and then with a film camera, I’ll take one, maybe two, and look at that photo ages later. I’m more proud and excited to look at the stuff that I shoot on film.”
Proudly wearing his Man in Black aesthetic to TIFF—wearing the signature black hat at Deadline’s Toronto Studio—Harris suggested his optimism for the continuance of film’s place in entertainment. Noting that Westworld is shot on film, the actor finds hope in auteurs like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino—not to mention Raso—who are not only keeping the format alive, but continuing to push for the cinematic, big screen experience.
To view Deadline’s TIFF conversation with Kodachrome stars Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis, and director Mark Raso, click above.
Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii Love, Watford Group, Philosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Joking.