Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan is a digital refusenik. "I am constantly being asked to justify why I shoot film," he says in the new documentary Side by Side. "But no one is asked to justify shooting digital." Nolan may be outnumbered, but—for now, anyway—he's adamant: "I'm not going to trade my oil paints for a set of crayons."
The digital takeover of contemporary movie-making may not be a hot topic around the American water cooler, writes Kurt Loder, but in Side by Side it is revealed as a large and fascinating subject—the most radical development in the industry since the introduction of sound in the 1920s. The director, Christopher Kenneally, is a busy young post-production supervisor. Two years ago he was working on a Keanu Reeves movie called Henry's Crime. Reeves was around a lot for the post sessions, and he and Kenneally began talking about the changes being effected in their industry by digital cameras, imagery, and editing, and what they meant for the future of traditional photographic film—if it had one. Reeves decided they should make a movie about this. He would produce and also conduct interviews with top directors, editors, and cinematographers—something at which he turns out to be very adept.