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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Mama took my Kodachrome away: Super 8's demise

Another nail in the coffin of Super 8 film, writes Will Hodgkinson in the Guardian. “The factory in Lausanne, Switzerland, kodachrome40.gifthat processes Europe’s supplies of Kodachrome—grainy, colour-saturated frames of 8mm film that have convinced a generation that their 60s and 70s childhood and adolescence was spent leaping through flowers in a Technicolor haze—is shutting its doors on Saturday. The ritual of shooting a three-minute masterpiece on your Super 8 camera, sending off the film in a little yellow envelope and waiting… for the ready-to-project reel to drop on to the doormat is over. If you want to get your Kodachrome film developed now, you are going to have to get in touch with an outfit in Kansas called Dwayne’s Photo… fake_-543478.jpgKodachrome is black-and-white stock to which colour is added during the processing. This gives the film its kaleidoscopic, escapist charm, but it is also expensive… [T]he Lausanne lab’s closure coincides with the biggest boom in Super 8 usage since its 70s heyday. The Widescreen Centre in London is shifting more than 250 reels a week, and its clients include the BBC, independent production companies, pop-video directors and even a few amateur-movie enthusiasts, who shoot the film and have it transferred to digital format… [T]he Burbank-based Pro8mm company is supplying Hollywood with reconditioned cameras and Super 8 stock, as more and more directors succumb to the film’s grainy allure. “Regular film doesn’t come with scratches and tramlines,” says Jake Astbury, a film-maker who has shot videos for the Corrs… and much of Nicholas Cage’s movie 8mm on Super 8. “You can deteriorate video but it looks fake. Only Super 8 has that romantic, worn quality. It has a roughness that no other medium has.” More at the link, including the high cost of refurbished Super 8 cameras. [Here’s Kodak’s telling of the tale.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch