straight 8 Shootout Takes Aim at Events in New Territories
straight 8, the renowned super 8mm film competition, has announced that it is taking its charitable advertising industry competition, called Shootout, to the US, Japan and South Africa.
Created and run by director/creative Ed Sayers, straight 8 invites participants to create a two-and-a-half-minute film, shot on one cartridge of super 8mm film, with editing, special effects, titles and all elements of the shoot created completely in-camera. Now, the Shootout is branching out, with competitions set to take place in the US, South Africa and Japan across November and December of 2018.
Above: straight 8 founder, Ed Sayers.
straight 8 began life in 1999 when Sayers asked friends to have a go at making a short film on super 8. Since 2003 the competition has held premieres at Cannes Film Festival, receiving 100-200 entries for every annual open competition. straight 8 has also enjoyed stints on UK broadcast channel, Channel 4.
"It's liberating to be creative in a situation where it's near impossible to achieve perfection."
The Shootout element of straight 8 was introduced, with the help of London's APA and Cinelab in 2016 and invites advertising companies to create and enter a film. There is a limit of 20 companies entering per territory due to the fact that every film will be screened (for the very first time) at the respective territories' event. The winner of the Shootout will be able to donate a cash prize to the charitable cause of their choice.
Below, Sayers explains why he's extending straight 8's geographic reach, and the allure of shooting on 8mm.
"You can’t take it too lightly, but you can’t take it too seriously either; it brings people together and we all raise money for great causes at the same time."
Why have you decided to expand straight 8?
The challenge of straight 8 is the same as it’s always been - people make a film on one cartridge of super 8 and see the work (even their own) for the very first time at our premieres. Now, more and more people seem to want to try it out (and do it again). So, our role is to keep providing the opportunities and keep saying that if you have a straight 8 in you we want to see it. The straight 8 Shootout format, where ad industry companies compete at straight 8 for charity, is a really fun platform and a good way to help introduce straight 8 to more places around the world.
Above: I Am Justin Waite, the Cannes 2018 Shootout winner from Iris Worldwide. You can watch all the entrants to the Cannes 2018 Shootout by clicking here.
The Shootout competition has gone from strength-to-strength since its launch; why do you think that is?
What I'm hearing is that people find the sheer thrill of it refreshing. There's an immediacy both on the shoot, where every pull of the trigger counts, and at the premiere where they see their work for the first time - but not knowing if it’s come out well, or even at all. In between is an agonising wait. It's fun to compete with other companies in the industry on a level playing field with such jeopardy. You can’t take it too lightly, but you can’t take it too seriously either; it brings people together and we all raise money for great causes at the same time.
How did you decide on the three territories you've chosen to expand Shootout into?
In part, because warm conversations with industry friends and contacts in those places has led to these ones happening now. And also because this geography started to look good to us from a ‘story’ point of view, radiating east, west and south from our relatively northerly London/Cannes, feels like a good initial statement of intent! We need to see how these go first, but there are other conversations afoot.
Above: An early straight 8 entry, from 2001, from director Edgar Wright.
With digital technology and all it's built-in functionality, do you think the challenge of doing something that's equally as artistic but much more DIY, is part of the appeal of the s8 challenge?
It feels like we've come full-circle and film has caught up with itself again. When straight 8 began in 1999, MiniDV was probably the main, cheap shooting format at anyone’s fingertips. Now it’s 4K Raw! It’s broadcast quality and as clean and crisp as you like, so to get the material to have an atmosphere, a presence, takes work.
People are excited to try film if they haven’t already, and to try super 8. Aside from all the amazing virtues of film and the inherent look of super 8, the medium lends itself to enforcing our no-going-back ethos which is the 'straight' in straight 8: i.e. a totally linear workflow that happens on the shoot.
Some will remember when non-linear editing came on the scene with Avid and Lightworks battling for market share over splice-tape and film cement. This though is linear filmmaking on the shoot itself... It's liberating to be creative in a situation where it's near impossible to achieve perfection (whatever that is!). Plus, with us all spending so much time on screens, whether it's tweaking photos on your phone or sitting in post production suites, I think people are enjoying the chance to collectively shun the undo button and be instinctive, take risks, and then shine or fail publicly. You can't spin the story. This is not fake views.
"People find the sheer thrill of it refreshing. There's an immediacy both on the shoot, where every pull of the trigger counts, and at the premiere where they see their work for the first time."
Above: The winner of the 2017 Ciclope straight 8 Shootout; Woman Potion from Paris-based Moonwalk Films.
What tips would you give to those who might be taking on straight 8 SHOOTOUT for the first time?
- If you’re entering straight 8 Shootout don't just look at the past Shootout winners, look at some of the straight 8's that we've screened at our premieres at Cannes Film Festival over 13 years. There's a lot of inspiration there too.
- Read the rules and re-read them.
- Don’t get hung up on where you’ll find a camera. Find a great idea, then the camera, crew, props and everything you need will magnetically come around it.
- Finally, you’re playing the same rules as the movie business: what do you want to put up on that big screen? And don’t forget to think about the audience before you decide.
We hope people will keep being tempted to try straight 8 so we’re available to answer your questions (and persuade you that you NEED to do this!).
For more information about straight 8, the straight 8 Shootout and how to enter, visit the straight 8 website. And here's where you can find specific information on new events in Japan, South Africa and the USA.