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Eastman Kodak, the company that makes Kodak photographic film, said it wants to hire more people for its film production division as demand for film continues to soar.
Nagraj Bokinkere, Vice President of Film Manufacturing at Eastman Kodak, pleaded during his appearance on the Get Real podcast for Great Rochester Enterprise, a business center in the city of New York State where the film producer is based.
“Consumer demand, especially for 35mm films, has exploded in recent years,” says Bokinkere.
“Our retailers are constantly telling us that they can’t keep these movies on the shelves and they want more,” Bokinkere told the podcast.
“So really our strategy of being the last company standing in color film, the last company making color film for both consumer and theatrical use, is paying off. We literally can’t keep up with the demand , we need more employees. We are hiring,” Bokinkere said.
“Our film finishing area, for example, went from a five-day-a-week operation to a single-shift operation a few years ago. Until last year we were three shifts, five days a week and now we are operating 24/7. Over the past 18 months, we have hired over 300 people in the film and chemical industry, and we are looking to hire more.
Bokinkere’s comments were later shared on Kodak’s Twitter accountwith the post liked over 12,000 times at the time of writing.
However, the recent increase in demand has also been accompanied by serious logistical problems since before the Covid pandemic.
Kodak’s film sales have exploded over the past five years, following a decade and a half of decline due to the rise of digital photography. Sales had plummeted so much that by 2012 Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcywhich gave him time to reorganize the business.
In 2020, Eastman Kodak said filmstrip production more than doubled between 2015 and 2019, driven by renewed interest in film shooting. At the time, Eastman Kodak’s managing director of film, Ed Hurley, told NBC’s ‘Left Field’: “It’s been a steady increase – it’s been up 15, 20, even 30 percent a year. It’s been great for us, it’s been a challenge for us, but it’s been great for us to see this growth.
However, the recent surge in demand has also been accompanied by serious logistical problems since before the Covid pandemic, with films often in short supply. And photographers have also had to deal with a number of price hikes in recent years, which Eastman Kodak has blamed on logistical problems, rising raw material costs and production problems.