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Side by Side (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 22 August 2012 (USA)
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The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.


(as Chris Kenneally)


(as Chris Kenneally)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Extended interviews with the filmmakers of the critically-acclaimed documentary Side by Side.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Geoff Boyle ...
Michael Chapman ...
Don Ciana ...
Gary Einhaus ...
Jonathan Fawkner ...


Investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation. It shows what artists and filmmakers have been able to accomplish with both film and digital and how their needs and innovations have helped push filmmaking in new directions. Interviews with directors, cinematographers, colorists, scientists, engineers and artists reveal their experiences and feelings about working with film and digital. Where we are now, how we got here and what the future may bring. Written by aolse9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


a documentary about the science, art, and impact of digital cinema




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 August 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Celuloidno i digitalno  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,956 (USA) (17 August 2012)


$28,592 (USA) (31 August 2012)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV) (2012)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

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[first lines]
Keanu Reeves: Since the late 1880s, visual artists and storytellers have used moving images to create amazing works. Movies have inspired us, thrilled us, and captured our imaginations. Film has helped us share our experiences and dreams. Photochemical film has been the exclusive format used to capture, project, and store moving images for over 100 years. It is only recently that new technology has emerged that is challenging film's place as the gold standard for quality and workflow. Digital ...
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User Reviews

standing at the crossroads of cinematography: the digital v celluloid debate
2 December 2012 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

Seen in the comfort of a small "traditional" cinema during Brighton (UK) Film Festival, glad I had searched to find a screening so as to see this as it should be seen. There were perhaps ?<50 others in the audience dotted around. Surprisingly, before the film was a Short about that particular cinema's Projectionist, how he started as a young man and how his job is changing since the good old days of film - a lonely and solitary process that was labour intensive - and now his expertise is becoming obsolete because of the increasing switch to digital where it's more about pressing a button. Apropos and rather poignant. Cue curtains; Company Films' Production of Side by Side with Keanu Reeves' opening narration in his clear, measured and reassuringly authoritative voice.

The film is a balanced documentary, incredibly well laid out, highlighting the informative in-business discussion surrounding the merits, disadvantages and progress in the increasing trend of migration from celluloid to digital film-making. At first dialogue is straight up "film or digital?" but as the process opens up and more is investigated following a pleasing linear train of thought, the Directors and other Film-Makers discuss the finer points of the debate ie the quality of the different media, how the variety of cameras have changed, how the industry has led development of new technologies (SONY in the vanguard), the effects of the change on actors' experience (with some amusing anecdotes), timing, budget, film colouration, editing and SFX/VFX. At every stage examples of the various films are shown with subtitle labels; whether a film was shot with a specific camera, on digital or film, what mm film etc, and with each interviewee his or her notable achievements are provided often with behind the scenes footage as they reminisce.

Christopher Kenneally's Direction is flawless, artistic and tight and his writing is succinct, understandable and unbiased. It isn't too technical for novices, but wasn't so basic as to feel dumbed down (the simplicity of the 'how a camera works' visual aid graphics were very brief and explanations of abbreviations were only explained once) and you got to see various methods and techniques of film-making - a real behind the scenes. Reeves asks leading questions of the film-makers that he interviews, he sits by the lens discretely often off camera, but prompts them and occasionally responds making it quite informal, watchable and even laugh out loud funny in places. It's certainly not a dry production and I noted that a lot of those interviewed were people that Reeves had worked with in the past, and a number of his own films ie Matrix and 47 Ronin (can't wait!) were used as examples.

Really absorbing, the 90 mins went quickly, and I came away animated and challenged mentally to think about it, with a greater understanding of what goes into making a film. I can't say I had appreciated various subtle differences that were being described, or understood the significance of some Academy awards as a result of new methods of film-making, had just taken films at face value so will look now with new eyes! On balance I saw that most were nostalgic about celluloid film, and don't want to abandon it completely, and worry about the artistry being lost but many see the inevitable progress with technology and the benefits, ease, cheapness and potential for development ie CGI, 3D and greater movement and intimacy for cameras in digital. Mention was made that with digital filming accessibility of the Industry has opened up as anyone can purchase a digital camera and a laptop and make a film now!

Brilliant, historically important film. I hope it gets the recognition it deserves as a snapshot at a crossroads in an industry that is 120 years old. On a light, flippant note, the breakthrough star of the film is the continuity "errors" of Keanu's hair and beard, much giggled about in Press interviews! ;-)

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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