Produced and hosted by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Kenneally, SIDE BY SIDE: THE SCIENCE, Art, AND IMPACT OF DIGITAL CINEMA is a provocative and in-depth examination of how digital filmmaking is challenging traditional celluloid film as the gold standard in moviemaking. SIDE BY SIDE captures the essence of the film versus digital debate through unprecedented access to influential filmmakers such as James Cameron, David Fincher, George Lucas, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Robert Rodriguez, Lana and Andy Wachowski, Steven Soderbergh and many more. Presented by Maryland Public Television, SIDE BY SIDE premieres on Friday, August 30, 2013, from 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.
For almost one hundred years there was only one way to make a movie — on film. But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking. In 2009 Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, the first time the award was given to a film shot almost entirely digitally and not on film.
“Cinema is at a tipping point. Digital has challenged, and in some ways completely overturned, a process of making movies on photochemical film that has been a tradition for over one hundred years,” says director Chris Kenneally. “SIDE BY SIDE is an intimate conversation between Keanu and the top professionals in the industry about this revolution and its impact.”
SIDE BY SIDE investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation, and how — at least for now — the two forms coexist side by side. The evolving relationship between art and technology is revealed through clips of groundbreaking films, as well as visits to movie sets. Directors, producers, cinematographers, colorists, editors and actors offer anecdotes and candid opinions about how the digital revolution is transforming their storytelling tools and techniques.
SIDE BY SIDE examines what is gained and what is lost both practically and philosophically in the changeover from film to digital. Those who embrace digital cite how it democratizes the filmmaking process and allows for infinite creativity.
“I’m always looking for whatever is new to help invigorate storytelling to push the art form even further,” says Sin City and Spy Kids director/cinematographer Robert Rodriguez, who sees digital as the future of filmmaking. Others, such as The Dark Knight cinematographer Wally Pfister, champion film for its artistic integrity and unique ability to create evocative, nuanced images. “I’m not going to trade my oil paints for a set of crayons,” he says. But most agree that digital filmmaking is here to stay. As Martin Scorsese says, “The issue is that it is different. How to you use it and how do you use it to tell a story? It’s up to the filmmaker.”
SIDE BY SIDE is directed by Chris Kenneally and produced by Keanu Reeves and Justin Szlasa. The Director of Photography is Chris Cassidy and the Editors are Mike Long and Malcolm Hearn. Kamil Dobrowski is the Assistant Editor and the Production Coordinator is Tommy Strauss. Original Music is by Brendan Ryan and Billy Ryan.