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SunMar 5

Reel Film Day – March 5, 2023

Reel Film Day is observed every year on March 5. The day is celebrated in the U.S. with film screenings and showcase events organized by independent cinemas across the country. Award shows, trailer launches, movie releases, premieres, parties, and other social events will be hosted by many from the American film industry. Film fans can enjoy this day by watching as many of these events will be open to the public or televised, or simply enjoying their favorite classics with friends and discovering fun trivia surrounding them. Reel Film Day is celebrated by cinephiles and just about anyone who enjoys a good movie. Film fans who wish to indulge more in performance criticism and movie star related updates can also see the work of top film journalists from entertainment fraternity. 

History of Reel Film Day

From engineers to technicians and filmmakers, there are countless people who contributed to the invention and production of the 35mm film. The first was Thomas Edison who invented the camera and projector to shoot films on. Edison’s cameras and projectors had a width of 35mm which meant they needed film of the same width. Eastman Kodak Company, or simply Kodak’s, founder George Eastman created and produced the film rolls that would eventually be used to make movies. To this day, Kodak supplies the film used for movies. 

Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal, and Warner Bros. Studios came together in 2002 to form the Digital Cinema Initiative (D.C.I.) with the purpose of facilitating the move to digital filmmaking, ensuring a uniform, high level of technical performance, reliability, and quality control. Since the creation of D.C.I., more movie directors have veered away from traditional film to creating digital movies. 

It is important to preserve these historic movies that were shot and displayed on film, and Reel Film Day is a day to do just that, a day to commemorate this revolutionary period in entertainment history. It was in the late 19th century that the first motion picture was shot on film, “The Horse In Motion,” and till the 2000s, the 35mm film was the standard. Kodak and Alamo Drafthouse, famous for being one of the only theaters in recent times that can run film, came together on March 5, 2017, to announce the first-ever Reel Film Day. On that day, Alamo Drafthouse and independent theaters all over the country displayed the beauty of 35mm film through screenings of a few timeless classics. Part of the proceeds of the inaugural observance of the holiday was donated to the Film Foundation for their film preservation efforts.

Reel Film Day timeline

1895
Pioneers of Filmmaking

In Berlin, Max and Emil Skladanowsky present the first moving picture show through the Bioscope, a movie projector they developed, and a month later, the Lumière brothers, who invented their own filming system, the Cinematographe, host the first commercial screening of 10 short films in Paris.

1896
The Fairy of the Cabbages

A woman directs a film for the first time, and it also happens to be the first film with a narrative; Alice Guy remained the only female filmmaker for a decade.

1902
The Father of Hollywood

Real estate and banking tycoon H. J. Whitley arrives in Cahuenga Valley and opens the Hollywood Hotel where the Dolby Theater now stands.

1906
A New Length

The Australian film, “The Story of the Kelly Gang,” is released — the very first 60-minute feature film.

1911
Sunset Boulevard and the Birth of Hollywood

The first Hollywood studio is established on Sunset Boulevard.

1915
The Rise of Hollywood

Major film companies start relocating to Hollywood to escape being sued by Thomas Edison for infringing his film patents on the East Coast.

The 1920s
Golden Age of Hollywood

The Golden Age is born, defined by the technical and narrative style now characteristic of American cinema.

2017
Reel Film Day

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in collaboration with Kodak organizes the first Reel Film Day.

Reel Film Day FAQs

What is a film reel used for?

Motion is recorded one movement at a time in frames of individual photographs. The collective frames make up a strip of film which is shown at a certain speed to simulate a motion picture. One or more of these strips are wound around a reel and fixed onto the movie projector. 

Are film reels still used?

Yes, they are, despite being overtaken by digital filming. The nostalgia of film is something that attracts filmmakers, both commercial and independent, and there’s nothing quite like the look that shooting on film gives.

What is a reel in film?

A light circular frame with radial arms and a central axis, originally designed to hold approximately 1,000 feet of 35-mm motion-picture film. The film containing captured images or motion is wound around the reel to be displayed through a projector.

Reel Film Day Activities

  1. Watch 35mm films

    Celebrate Reel Film Day by watching movies made on the 35mm reel. Some modern movie examples include “Wonder Woman,” “Interstellar,” and “La La Land.”

  2. Attend an event at your local theater

    Find out if your local theater is hosting an event for Reel Film Day. Sometimes, theaters play movies that were shot on film the entire day.

  3. Watch a classic

    If you can’t find a movie that was made on the 35mm reel, celebrate Reel Film Day by watching a classic. The day is after all a celebration of movies.

5 Facts About Hollywood That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. The Walk of Fame star doesn’t come cheap

    It costs $30,000 to get yourself a star on the walk of fame.

  2. Frank Sinatra has three stars

    On the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he has a star each for film, music, and television.

  3. The Hollywood sign was erected in 1923

    A real estate agent called Harry Chandler wanted to advertise properties in the locality.

  4. The first Hollywood movie was “In Old California”

    This was a 17-minute short film directed by D.W. Griffith in 1910.

  5. The Oscars were first held in 1929

    It was attended by 270 people and only 15 different awards were presented.

Why We Love Reel Film Day

  1. It revisits film history

    Since most movies are made digitally today, Reel Film Day revisits the years when filmmaking was manual. It preserved this history of using reels and films.

  2. It’s a celebration of engineering and art

    Movie making combines engineering and art to bring us the best of entertainment. Reel Film Day celebrates this spectacular achievement.

  3. Cinephiles love this day

    Reel Film Day is a big day for all cinephiles. It’s a perfect excuse to geek out on their favorite movies, characters, stars, and trivia.

Reel Film Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 5Sunday
2024March 5Tuesday
2025March 5Wednesday
2026March 5Thursday
2027March 5Friday

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