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#SavingFilm: The relevance of film today

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

We kick-off a series of stories about film, its influence and efforts to save it. On this episode, we talk about the relevance of film in today's saturated world of digital.

Interest in film went on a decline since digital was introduced in the 2000s but with the help of loyal enthusiasts, film survives to this day.

According to Ilford's survey, among 6800 respondents aged 44 and below shoot more film than digital compared to those who’re older —a growing interest among the younger generation.

But with few film cameras on the market, and its factory machines obsolete, the question remains to haunt us, is film still relevant today?

We spoke to Mario de Leon, a film enthusiast and an entrepreneur who’s passion revolves around saving pieces of what remains from the film era.

“Film introduces the present into the eyes of the past. It's only recently that the digital world has taken over. A world where the faster and flawless dominate.”


We zoom into the Philippines —the social media capital of the world with a rate of 99% penetration according to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s report in January. Mario explains that there’s also a bright side to digital's dominance over analog.

“It is the case that some people just never stopped using film. Armed with their own chemicals, aficionados kept shooting. If its one thing digital has contributed to film, its communication. People reside online.”

But as it took over, producing photographs became an automated process with less of the physical aspect involved. Unlike emulation through filters on smartphone apps, film’s unique and organic nature is authentic, and among its greatest trait.

“Filter swiping has allowed for the democratization of art, but easily made and easily consumed, much of the labor of art is lost."

Mario came to the Philippines after studying in Canada —a country with one of the highest rates of active newbies and returning film users.

“In Vancouver, I've had the pleasure to work some amazing photographers and even befriended Take Kayo from BigheadTaco. It's common to see film cameras slung on passerby’s shoulders downtown."