In the realm of Hollywood documentaries it's hard to get notoriety if the film's base subject isn't something pop culture relevant or highly controversial. Even in the small demographic of audiences who like watching non-fiction films, the studios still want to make a little money. But, luckily, for every March of the Penguins or Michal Moore doc, there's still a small avenue for movies like the quiet, under-the-radar Side by Side. Despite its depiction of a very Hollywood topic, the movie was released with somewhat less-than-stellar press.
With a unique backstory on the how and why the film was produced, the underlining fight is the debate between Hollywood movers and shakers on whether real, celluloid film is the best for filmmaking, or the new, digital format. Everyone from George Lucas and James Cameron (digital effects artists and wizards) to arthouse names like David Lynch and Lars von Trier weigh in on the debate.
Produced on a very small budget, in regards to bigger released docus, Side by Side doesn't falter on providing an incredible look at the making of American cinema and how it's ever-changing approaches (and subsequent fear of change) has effected the most beloved modern art form. Most notable are the snippets of well-known films and which type of film they were shot on, as well as the incredibly in depth look at how the different film cameras work.
For filmmakers and film-lovers, Side by Side is a great educational and entertaining look behind the camera.