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Watch the Enticing Trailer for Keanu Reeves' New Documentary (UPDATED)

by Caryn James
January 17, 2012 11:30 PM
  • |
Celebrities get publicity, publicity puts the festival and the town on the map. The audience wants it to happen. Win-win, right? Wrong.
Celebrities get publicity, publicity puts the festival and the town on the map. The audience wants it to happen. Win-win, right? Wrong.

UPDATE: In a great, forward-looking match, Tribeca Film has just acquired Side By Side, and plans a summer release.

A film about the changing technology of movies – film, digital, 3D – may sound like a snooze, but I promise you that the trailer for Side By Side, a new documentary produced by on-camera interviewer Keanu Reeves, is lively and enticing even for non-techies like me. (So that's what Reeves has been doing with some of that Matrix money.)

As you can see from the trailer, he has gotten the very best directors and cinematographers to talk, and has drawn them out in a way that makes the doc seem full of personalities, not abstractions or science.

He asks David Lynch, “Are you done with film?” and Lynch drawls, “Don’t hold me to it, Keanu, but I probably am.”

The always blunt James Cameron says, “You can’t shoot 3D on film, so film has been dead in my heart for ten years,” and is followed immediately in the trailer by The Dark Knight’s great cinematographer Wally Pfister, who says, “I hate 3D. I put on those 3D glasses, I get sick to my stomach. The whole 3D phenomenon, it’s a marketing scheme, isn’t it?”

And along with remarks from George Lucas, Christopher Nolan and Steven Soderbergh, there’s Lena Dunham, who adds a generational difference: “Without digital video culture I don’t think I would ever have been making movies because . . .  basically in my head I was, like,  ‘You’ve got to be a dude who knows how to operate machines to do this job.’”

I might not have found this so intriguing if Martin Scorsese’s Hugo hadn’t shown what a true artist can do with 3D, so it makes sense that he puts it in perspective here. He’s astute and commonsensical as he says of the changing technology: “The issue is – it’s different. How is it different, and how do you use it to tell a story? It’s up to the filmmaker.”

The film, also produced by Justin Szlasa and directed by Christopher Kenneally, will have its world premiere in the Special Section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Here's the all-star trailer. (You can go to the Side By Side website for updates about the film’s post-Berlin life.)

Side by Side Official Trailer (2012) from Company Films on Vimeo.

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  • Yelena | January 24, 2012 5:44 PMReply

    As Caryn James sais, it's " lively and enticing even for non-techies like me". I'm not a prof, honestly speaking, I hardly understand differece betwen film- and digital moviemaking. I only know, that I always forgot to change the roll in my old camera and now I always forget to charge my new one.And then one day you hear one very long man asking anther, not so long men the questions about something very far from your daily life... and don't switch the programm. Now I'm interested. I want to now . I'm looking around and see more and more signs of changing. I'm seaching for information about all this digital stuff among the teenagers and smartlooking bearded nerds.What have you done with my mind , Mr. Reeves? 20 years ago my boyfriend tried to do it , without success. Am I wiser or are you better? Any way, thank you.

  • ARYA | January 18, 2012 7:54 PMReply

    I am psyched to see Keanu as interviewer. Usually not so psyched to see a documentary, so this is different. Very cool that the Wachowski's are allowing a camera interview. WTG Mr Reeves.

  • Robin | January 18, 2012 6:19 PMReply

    The opening with Lynch is a real kick in the gut. I also like how intimate and personal it seems with Keanu doing the interviewing. It's like being at a party and eavesdropping on the conversations of all these really cool people, discussing this wonky topic that is vital to their industry.

  • adam | January 18, 2012 2:25 AMReply

    Willy? Hah.

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