More often than not nowadays we hear of film manufacturers discontinuing emulsions rather than creating new ones.
So it’s a great pleasure to hear that after many years of delays, the Italian film startup FILM Ferrania has finally begun preparing for the mass manufacturing of analog film. They’ll be making a slide emulsion for both still and movie cameras, and should be able to finally deliver their first batch of film to their patient backers on their Kickstarter campaign, which was first launched two years ago in October 2014.
At the time, the company successfully raised US$322,420 for a project they called “100 More Years of Analog Film”, with the intention of taking over the abandoned Ferrania factory in northern Italy.
Since 1923 the factory had manufactured a variety of photographic equipment, and produced film stocks under the brands Solaris, Dynachrome, and Scotch Chrome all the way until 2012 — when Ferrania was forced to lay off 198 out of their 230 involved in making film.
That would have been the end to a long, and at times glamorous history had not FILM Ferrania come along to take over the factory and project. They rehired many of the old technicians, and vowed to put Italy back on the map for analog photography.
Even though they promised to ship out their first batch of film by April 2015, they encountered difficulties and pushed their delivery date to June 2015. Further problems related to the harsh weather in northern Italy followed, but even after the company rallied and got ready for production at last, asbestos was soon discovered in one of the factory buildings, and whole place was shut down.
FILM Ferrania have been very open in their communications with their backers, and provide constant updates on the progress of their factory work. Their most recent blog post was shared just two days ago on October 11th, mentioning how they have started using an old French film slitter from 1917 to prepare the length and width of the base of their film rolls.
Now that quite a few tests have been completed, it’s only a matter of time before their first emulsion should roll out of the factory and out to backers. The next step is coating, which must take place in complete darkness, and then the films will be transferred into an aging room and later to a converting room.
Their blog puts everything into great detail, and is a fantastic insight into exactly how analog emulsions are created. For anyone interested, be sure to follow their Facebook page and website for updates, although FILM Ferrania haven’t announced a definite shipping date yet. At the moment, their most optimistic estimate is around early 2017, so those 5,582 backers will have to wait just a little bit longer to see the results of all this painstaking work.