straight 8, the Super 8mm film competition set up by Ed Sayers in 1999, is back for 2016 after a three year hiatus.

The competition has seen entries from respected filmmakers such as Edgar Wright [below], Slavek Hörak, Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Rich Fulcher and Julia Davies and asks people to make a short film on one cartridge of Kodak Super 8mm cine film [which has a maximum length of three minutes and 20 seconds] with no retakes, no editing, no post- production and a separately recorded sound track.



First time selected filmmakers will see their films screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May of this year and below Sayers, an independent London-based director who has his own production company, Seven Productions, discusses the competition, the reason for it's three year absence and how you can get involved.

straight 8 has been on hiatus for three years; why have you decided to return now?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We've been looking forward to it. It was just a question of when, with whom and on what film stock, since film itself was having a hard time and came closer to total death than many realise. 

Has anything changed about the competition between then and now?

The outlook for celluloid film is rosier than it has been for a long time. A few top movie directors literally saved it from the brink. It remains a creative choice for filmmakers for the foreseeable future and Kodak have a fresh energy and are investing in film. Have you seen their new Super 8 camera [below]? It'a also worth ogling their 'shot on film' page of their site. 

On a more personal note, I was able to reshape how I work as a director (directly with people that want to work with me now) and we also created the free straight 8 ios app. It hasn't been a prolonged vacation!


What do you think the enduring appeal of straight 8 is?

I hope that it has one! Maybe you should ask some of the people who have entered? The straight8ers page of the site shows who they all are and where they all come from and now links out to what they're doing now.

It's an amazing bunch of 1000s of people and many work together on projects in the industry. But to answer the question a bit more, I guess it's something about the challenge, the simplicity, the level playing field and the potential glory. And also the near impossibility of total perfection!

Talking of enduring... the plan is to make straight 8 properly sustainable so that, like film itself hopefully, it's always there for anyone to try. So we are working with people and organisations that can bring something to that party - and people know how to find us!

How are the entered films judged?

Carefully. Whether it's just a couple of us or a larger group of judges, every film is considered properly. We don't care who's made it and their creds, it's all about what the audience will think when it runs through that projector.

It's a big responsibility: the filmmaker has not seen their own film at that point and they trust that if we've selected it, it must be good.

What advice can you give to prospective straight 8-ers?   

When you say "i don't know where to get a camera" this usually means you don't really want to do it, and that's fine. 

If you do, get a great idea, keep it simple or embrace the complex with a damn good plan and people. Like any film, pull together everything you need to succeed (including the right camera). Plan all that stuff well and then when shit hits the fan, re-plan it right there on your feet. It's basically like a normal shoot in that way!

Entry to straight 8 2016 is only available at until 29 February and finished films need to be submitted back to straight 8, exposed but undeveloped by 4 April. 

For testimonials from previous straight 8-ers, click here. 

To view more straight 8 videos, visit the Vimeo page

Key partners for this year's event are KodakCinelab London and elevenfiftyfive.

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