Envisioning bright future for celluloid in India, courtesy Christopher Nolan

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Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) As Christopher Nolan sets out on an India trip to draw attention to the importance of celluloid in the digital age, Indian filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur hopes the globally acclaimed and commercially successful filmmaker encourages shooting and projection of films in the good old format.

Dungarpur, founder of the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF), is hosting Nolan at a three-day event ‘Reframing the Future of Film’ here from March 30 to April 1. They will be joined by celebrated visual artist Tacita Dean to also talk about preserving on film, and the necessity of determining new archival and exhibition standards that secure a film’s future.

“Nolan is coming to India to talk about the advent of celluloid and shooting films in celluloid, something that he prefers. He is also going to talk about how the celluloid medium can co-exist with the digital mode. Nolan and Tacita Dean are coming to support the cause of celluloid film.

“With their visit, along with the participation of some of the who’s who of our Indian film industry, hopefully, the talk and encouragement of shooting and projecting film in celluloid will start,” Dungarpur told IANS.

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With titles like “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Inception”, “Interstellar” and “Dunkirk”, Nolan is regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of the 21st century. He continues to use the traditional film for his movies.

Nolan is impressed by India’s cinema.

“India has such wonderful cinema and such a rich history of art that everything needs to be done not only to encourage its proper preservation for future generations but also to re-introduce the film medium to the younger artists and filmmakers in the country,” he said in an earlier statement.

Helping out in this endeavour, Nolan and Dean will be a part of a round table conversation, alongside iconic Indian film personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Kamal Hassan, Shah Rukh Khan, Santosh Sivan, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap and Farhan Akhtar.

“We are delighted to know that two of world’s greatest filmmaker and visual artists are coming to our country to support a cause for cinema. The irony is, as a Foundation, we did not receive as much support as needed within the country, with the film industry. But a great man like Nolan is coming to our country to support us,” said Dungarpur.

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Since the idea is to create awareness about films among the common people, there will be a few public events in different parts of the city.

Dean will hold a public lecture at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum on Friday. A day later, there will be a 70 mm IMAX film screening of “Dunkirk”, followed by a 35 mm film screening of “Interstellar” — both to be introduced by Nolan himself.

“The projectors are coming from the US,” Dungarpur said.

On April 1, ‘Reframing the Future of Film: In Conversation with Christopher Nolan, Tacita Dean and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’ will be held at the NCPA here.

It was in Los Angeles in 2015 that Dean and Nolan staged the first in this series of events highlighting the necessity of preserving photochemical film in the digital age.

In India, Dungarpur has been an active voice in preservation and restoration of film. He started FHF in 2014.

“From the time we started FHF, at least the awareness of film preservation started. It is unfortunate that by 1950, we had lost almost 70 per cent of the films that were a part of our film history and cinematic heritage.

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“So more than restoration, we need to preserve films of our olden days. Our old films are getting destroyed everyday. In the US, the restoration work is going on because they have their old films in the right condition, its prints and film negatives are in good condition to restore. But in India, the first and utmost important thing is to preserve film.”

With Nolan’s visit, talk about returning to the virtues of shooting on film are likely to get a boost. However, isn’t shooting in a film camera much more expensive than a digital camera?

“No, that is a misconception,” Dungarpur said.

“Processing the digital footage to get the final film also is a huge cost. So it is not about the cost, it is about the practice.”

But these days, films are being shot even on digital cameras, isn’t it?

“Well, our idea is not to fight on digital versus celluloid, but we are encouraging the practice of celluloid film shooting. These days, youngsters are only shooting in digital, but they should also have the choice of celluloid film. For that, they should know the advent of celluloid to reframe the future of film.”



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