Side-by-side-documentary-film-224x106Film vs. Digital. Celluloid vs. Silicon. While the debate is beginning to die down due to economics and advancements in digital cinema cameras, a documentary on the subject called Side by Side takes a look at the issue with some of the premiere directors and cinematographers. We mentioned a few months ago that the doc, produced by Keanu Reeves, was available to buy, but now the film is available to watch right now on Netflix. Click through for some clips from the movie.

Here is the trailer:

I think what's great about the film is that it's not just a debate about one being better or worse than the other, it's really a discussion about what we as filmmakers do and why we feel the medium is so important to tell stories. The conversation also ventures into more than film vs. digital as an acquisition medium, but also about the transition from film to digital in movie theaters. Though there are still plenty of filmmakers who want to shoot on film until the very end, many of them are now seeing the major benefit to projecting digitally. Here is David Lynch on that very subject:

Check out some more clips from the film below:

Steven Soderbergh

David Fincher

Reed Morano

Ellen Kuras

Michael Chapman

I think for most people digital acquisition and projection/distribution aren't even a second thought. Digital is just cheaper for independent filmmakers, and unless you have a serious budget, you're not going to be able to afford the thousands of dollars for film stock and processing.

The comments from Kuras and Chapman show that the discussion is evolving. Trying to save film or kill it in the name of digital is almost a side point when you look at the bigger picture. The tastes of consumers is changing, and the medium of the 21st century is the internet. I think the more important discussion is whether feature films will continue being as important culturally as they have been in the past, and how we will preserve these digital motion pictures for generations to come.

What do you think? Have you seen the film? What do you think of the future of film as an art form and as a culturally significant phenomenon?