Kodak took part in the Academy Awards Sunday night, not just because Kodak film was used in some of the nominated movies, but also because the company held a fundraiser in its hometown.
The event attracted about 250 people to the Kodak Center for the Performing Arts, the former Theatre on the Ridge building, in an event designed to raise money for the American Heart Association.
But CEO Jeff Clarke says it's also symbolic of an effort to get Kodak more involved in the community again, as well as highlight the importance of motion picture film, which is made in Rochester. Clarke sees renewed interest in film in Hollywood.
“The acceptance of film by the artists, it’s a bit of an analog renaissance that’s happening. You see it in vinyl, you see it in the maker’s movement, you see where schools are adding woodshops and things like that again. Film is critical to that, and this is a big thing for Kodak.”
Clarke says film combined with digital makes for a strong combination for motion pictures. Film is only about 10 percent of Kodak's overall revenues, but the CEO says it still has a lot of symbolic importance.
“Yes, technically that’s how big it is in revenues, but it’s part of our history and it’s part of our science that goes to create things that are artistic and different than many of the things other people make.”
Clarke is coming up on his 2-year anniversary as CEO, and he says while there is still work to do, the company is making progress.
“We’ve made a decision around the film business which we’re talking about tonight, which was very close to closing and now it’s open and growing and thriving and profitable again. But we have growth in many of our businesses, most noticeably our core business around printing and packaging and this is an area where we really see growth and that’s the key for us, here at Kodak, is to grow again."
The Sunday night gala in Rochester included a red carpet reception followed by photos of guests holding Oscar statuettes, celebrating Kodak’s nine Academy Awards for technical achievement. Several of the nominated films this year were produced on Kodak film.
Videography by Patrick Harney & Sasha-Ann Simons