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Film Ferrania


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I thought this was some of the more interesting photography news in a while:




The video is good, but in a nutshell: Some people in Italy are trying to restart production at the old Ferrania film factory. This is the only color film production line in the world that is sitting idle and available to salvage, refurbish and put back into operation.


There are two catches. First, the factory complex was designed to produce vast quantities of film in the pre-digital era. Nobody shoots that much film anymore. Second, they only have until the end of this year to salvage the equipment from several of the larger buildings before they are scheduled to be demolished. The Kickstarter is raising money to accomplish that.


They've already hit their goal, which means this is going to happen. I went ahead and put in my pledge for $70 and a "reward" of four rolls of 120 film. That's pretty expensive if all I wanted to do was buy some film. All the film from this first batch is coming off the small production line in the old 3M (yes, that 3M!) R&D laboratory on the site, which they already have complete and ready to run. That'll fund the setup of the new full-scale production line. Then the R&D lab will, presumably, go back to doing R&D on new films.


I find this exciting for some reasons that aren't even touched on in the video. This will be the first truly modern color film business, right-sized for the market and run by film people, not as a mere footnote or sideline to a giant conglomerate. They'll be able to do their own R&D on site, do their own chemical synthesis, and create products for niches that Fuji and Kodak would never look at. (Rumors persist that Fuji and Kodak would like to get out of the color film business entirely, though of course they can't say that openly.)


Ilford have found their niche making B&W film, and The Impossible Project have, amazingly, found their niche making Polaroid film and refurbishing old cameras -- reputedly they've overhauled and re-sold over 30,000 vintage Polaroid cameras and are now planning their first new production camera! So, it seems like FILM Ferrania should be able to make a viable business out of color film. Then film photography will be around for a long time to come.

Edited by tonybelding
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not a photographer, but can't express how much I'd like to haul out my old Pentax, and maybe even the family Brownie, and be an analog girl again.


once took a friend holding a beach ball out on a sailboat to shoot a comparison of two color films, and sold lots of agfa from the results. (humble but fun job : )

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