Kodak Stopped Making This Film Nearly a Decade Ago. But It’s About to Have an Unusual Comeback
Kodachrome, the once-popular and successful color reversal film used by professional photographers, is making a comeback. But this time, it’s on the small screen.
This Friday, Netflix is releasing the movie “Kodachrome.” The movie is based on the 2010 New York Times article, “For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas” and stars Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen and Ed Harris. It follows a dying father, his son, and his nurse/personal assistant on a road trip from New York to Kansas to process the father’s last rolls of Kodachrome before the final lab closes.
Kodak CEO Jeff Clare tweeted out the film was shot on Kodak 35mm film. Photographer Steve McCurry, best known for his photo “Afghan Girl” that was published on the cover of National Geographic in 1985, provided some of his original photographs for the film.
Kodachrome was discontinued in 2010 after nearly 75 years in use due to plunging sales and to the rise of digital cameras (and high-powered cameras on cellphones). The process to develop Kodachrome film also required a more complex method and could only be done by expert labs, unlike Ektachrome, the other color reversal film by Kodak that could be processed more quickly and by amateurs. The last Kodachrome lab was Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, but the lab stopped processing the film in 2012. Dwayne’s developed the last roll of Kodachrome manufactured to McCurry.
The gallery below shows an array of photos shot with Kodachrome film by many successful photographers who have worked for Fortune.
But does that mean other discontinued films could follow? Dennis Olbrich — president of the imaging, paper, photo chemicals and film division at Kodak Alaris, which took over Kodak’s film photography businesses — told TIME last year they have been evaluating what other films they could bring back. Unfortunately, Kodachrome doesn’t seem to be on the table. “I would love for it to be Kodachrome, obviously,” says Olbrich. “It’s such an iconic film – that rich saturation, the graininess that people love. But it’s a very difficult proposition to get that whole infrastructure back in place.”
The company confirmed to Fortune they still remain open to the possibility of bringing back other discontinued film stocks.