Keanu Reeves was in Berlin as the producer and presenter of Side By Side, a well-received documentary about the changes in filmmaking presented by the digital revolution.

Chris Kenneally and Keanu Reeves in Berlin

Source: Chris Cassidy

Chris Kenneally and Keanu Reeves in Berlin

Reeves spoke to select journalists with Side By Side’s director Chris Kenneally, who he met working on a previous film.

Reeves remembers: “Chris and I were working on a film called Henry’s Crime and it was in that process that the digital intermediate was being compared to the photochemical, and we saw the timer and the colorist talking and we thought, this is ‘side by side,’ photochemical and digital. This transition might be happening. We looked at each other and said, ‘Want to make a documentary?’ And we did. We started on this journey.”

Kenneally adds: “The questions were what are we losing if film is no longer around, or what are we gaining or what’s the impact with this coming digital age?”

The film includes interviews with greats such as James Cameron, Martin Scorses, Chris Nolan, Lars von Trier and the Wachowskis.

Of the dozens of impressive interviewees, Reeves says one highlight was meeting the man behind Star Wars. “It was great to have the opportunity specifically for the film to speak with George Lucas, because of his impact on digital cinema. And all aspects, sound and projection, visual effects, cameras, he’s such a pioneer. “

Reeves is currently in pre-production in Beijing for his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi. He says that “because of the circumstances” he’s going digital on that one and that he’s “happy” with that decision. He’ll use the ARRI Alexa Studio.

As a director, he says he’s excited for “the opportunity to tell the story of the film, and to see what the challenges will be and the creativity of it.”

As he prepares to take the director’s chair, did any of those A-list directors give him any valuable tips? He remembers one key one: “Cameron just said, ‘Shoot it!’”