Filmmakers Win Right to Choose Super 16 for Television

Published on website: November 26, 2013
Categories: 16mm , Industry , Television , The StoryBoard Blog

A recent campaign to reinstate Super 16mm film for broadcast in Europe has resulted in victory with all major UK broadcasters agreeing to accept programs originated on the format.

“This is an exciting resolution for filmmakers, who now have complete freedom to choose the right aesthetic format for telling their stories,” notes Andrew Evenski, president and GM of Kodak’s Entertainment & Commercial Films division. “Storytellers understand the power of 16mm film, and can take full advantage of the beauty, flexibility and budget-friendly benefits that this format offers.”

The campaign was led by Ian Softley (The Wings of the Dove, The Skeleton Key) on behalf of the non-profit organization Directors UK, which represents 4,500 film and TV directors. An open letter from prominent directors including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Sam Mendes, Nic Roeg, Stephen Frears, Terence Davies, Paul Greengrass, Kenneth Branagh, Alan Parker, Roger Michell, Mike Hodges, Terry Gilliam and Michael Apted, among others, expressed their desire “to work with the BBC and other broadcasters to encourage a more creative environment for the benefit of audiences, broadcasters and industry practitioners.”

“Our campaign was about ensuring that filmmakers have the freedom to make the right choice - whether film or digital - for their projects, and it was clear that this had wide support from filmmakers and the industry,” explains Softley.

The new standard will be applied by all broadcasters in the Digital Production Partnership (DPP), including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C, BSkyB and BT Sport. The DPP has published a supplement to its delivery document, giving details of how programs acquired in the Super 16mm format should be used.

Super 16 has been used worldwide for popular, long-running series such as The Walking Dead, Doc Martin, Merlin, and Sex & The City.