UNIQUE

By Joris Bulstra

Film has an edginess drawing my attention. The imperfections found in celluloid make it absolutely perfect for me. The grain in the negative, the softness of the image and the way the highlights hold detail, all get me started. The more digital is going stellar, the more film manages to simply hold that beautiful look of its own. If that isn’t reason enough to agree on the need for diversity and choice, then what is?

Shooting analogue means that all our decisions for story-telling are made during pre-production and principal photography. The net result being all minds tuned to the same important moment in time. The need to make clear decisions in the present and the acute focus this procedure is bringing to actors and crew alike is another aspect making all the difference on-set. By its physical presence, film manages to build up the momentum to a perfect take, getting the best performances out of everyone and thereby serving the director as much as the cinematographer. Motion pictures shot on film don’t just satisfy the creative needs of filmmakers; they are well appreciated by audiences too. Film is addictive to professionals and fascinating to beginners. Film bonds and motivates. Film teaches discipline and self-reliance. Film offers this industry future perspective through sheer enthrallment. If that isn’t reason enough to cherish this medium, then what is?

Film has been fascinating newcomers for over a century and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This attraction is universally recognised and these days the contrast just keeps getting starker. Ask any loader how he feels after an intense day of shooting film and they will invariably show immense personal satisfaction about being on the set. Ask the focus puller likewise and you can be sure he will mention the positive change in attitude and discipline. So if you are looking for a motivated crew, why not turn to film?

As a cinematographer, I’m very much interested in camera - and lighting technique. When shooting gets underway however, I don’t want technical specs or digital camera settings to become the main focus. Using a film camera, I am free to concentrate on my stake in the project; creating and relating directly with my colleagues. Film making for me is here and now; a spontaneous – and intuitive way of constructing a story. When I am exposing that story on film, all I need is my personal vision and a light meter. I will be respectfully left in peace to make the decisions I’m responsible for. Think hard, shoot film. Set the look in stone and don’t leave yourself a way out. If that isn’t a fantastic way to making a cinematic statement, then what is?

For these – and many other reasons, I want film to stay as a tool for the cinematographer to tell a story with. Together we can preserve this unique visual medium and keep on shooting beautiful stories on film. As president of Filmfoundation.info, I will give it everything I have.

Best regards,

Joris Bulstra
Former president Filmfoundation.info