It's no easy to feat to shoot a movie on film these days, but Kodak and Kickstarter are trying to change that. The two companies have partnered to offer free and discounted film to select Kickstarter campaigns. If a filmmaker's campaign qualifies for Kodak's help, Kodak will offer up to $20,000 worth of 35mm film or $15,000 worth of Super 16mm film.
"We are open to any filmmaker who wants to participate."
The exact amount is determined by how much the campaign raises, with Kodak offering a 20 percent match (worth of film) on funding for 35mm campaigns and a 15 percent match on Super 16mm campaigns, with a cap on both once the campaign hits $100,000. Since it's likely that neither will be enough film to complete a movie, Kodak will offer discounts on additional 35mm and Super 16mm stock.
It's not clear how many campaigns will be allowed to take advantage of the program. Kickstarter tells The Verge that it doesn't have a set number, "but we are open to any filmmaker who wants to participate." The company set up an email (email@example.com) that filmmakers can get in touch with before starting a campaign. Once they do, Kickstarter says, "Kickstarter and Kodak will evaluate the requests and projects together and select filmmakers to participate in the program." That suggests that, while everyone may be eligible to apply, all may not receive Kodak's help.
Though it'll depend on the size, Kodak's initiative sounds like it could be a boon for up-and-coming filmmakers, who may well share the glamorized view of film that many cinematic greats do. Nowadays, it's unlikely that an amateur filmmaker would choose to use film. Before, it was the only option; but today, shooting digital is far cheaper — and doesn't necessarily deliver a worse result, either. Film has also become more expensive and more difficult to procure and develop, as the number of companies producing it shrinks to basically just Kodak.
Kodak is fighting for a film revival
Kodak, in concert with a number of enthusiastic filmmakers who refuse to shoot on anything but 35mm, has been working to revive film in filmmaking over the past couple years. In 2014 it struck a deal with movie studios to produce film for their more demanding directors. And at CES this year, Kodak unveiled a new Super 8 film camera and announced plans to create a simple process for buying and developing its film.
On one hand, Kodak's work in reviving interest in film is certainly in its business interest. On the other, it's a wonderful analog throwback, and it's hard to argue too much when so many directors swear by it. It'll take a lot of luck, but maybe Kodak is hoping this partnership can get a new generation of directors and cinematographers to be every bit as passionate about shooting movies on film.
Update April 25th, 1:27PM ET: This story has been updated with a more detailed quote from Kickstarter.