The future of film is not bleak, but bright

I love hearing news from Ferrania.  I’m also glad that, after a 6-month stretch of time when they didn’t let out a peep, they’ve finally started communicating with their future customers.  In the last month they have given us quite a lot of good news, and this hour-long interview is the best so far.

Here are some good things to take away from this:

-The current Ferrania plant was a small self-contained facility set up for test batches; this makes it much more economically sustainable in today’s climate.

-They expect to be able to maintain their manufacturing for the next century.  100 years.  That’s really been my ultimate photographic wish: to be able to shoot film for the rest of my life.  It’s certainly all I want for Christmas.

-Only five companies in the world manufactured color film, ever:
Kodak (USA)
AGFA (Germany)
Ferrania (Italy)
Svema (Ukraine)
Fuji (Japan)

-Film is made from…cotton?  I certainly didn’t know that one.

-The Italian government was far-sighted enough to take responsibility for maintaining/preserving the buildings and manufacturing equipment, as well keeping select employees on retainer.  Wow!  It’s because of this that these people were able to buy the infrastructure necessary and resurrect this plant.  So a big Thank You to the entire country of Italy.

-They inherited all the old 3M/Ferrania emulsion recipes.  First up are the three most-recent Scotch Chrome films in ASA100, 640, and 800/P3200.

-Direct-to-customer sales!  They’re going to sell film directly from their website.  I hope that they don’t completely abandon brick-and-mortar establishments, though.  I support my local camera store as much as possible and would love to see them carry Ferrania.

-A small-scale, self-contained, made-from-scratch film company, they want to be able to supply any material needed for the chemical photographic process.

A few questions I have:

-With Kodak ceasing production of acetate base, will Ferrania then be able to supply Kodak once their stock is depleted?  I’d like that.  They seem to want to be there to pick up the slack of bigger companies when they might find it too expensive to make certain parts or ingredients themselves, when their demand drops below profitability.

-Will Ferrania also supply developing and printing chemicals?

-I’d love to see them bring back Solaris color negative film.  Every time I see it I just love the way it looks.  It’s classic ’90s, something the modern films like Portra and Ektar have gotten away from.  Maybe that’s why I shoot so much Fuji Superia…

-Given that they should have all the necessary manufacturing equipment, is it possible that they could make magnetic tape as well as film?  As far as I know it’s a lot less complicated than film, besides requiring very precise slitting for tape sizes.

edit, one more: It would be nice to have a tungsten-balanced high speed reversal film. edit again: there are three speeds of Scotch Chrome: 100, 640T, and P3200 (true ASA is 800).

Thumbs up, Ferrania.  Film forever.


3 thoughts on “The future of film is not bleak, but bright

    • Thanks for reminding me of Lucky. I looked at the timeline and they started with color around 1977. Yeah, who knows if it’s really true or not. If I remember correctly, Technicolor sold their 2-strip process and machinery to the Chinese government somewhere around that time, which could explain it.

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