Cambridge International Super 8 Festival 2009
Jan Gilbert talks to Thierry Bonnaud
If you don't know your Super 8 from your supernova, fear not! The Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival is here to enlighten you about the joys of moviemaking with the Super 8 format launched in the swinging 60s.
Cambridge Super 8 Festival
The festival runs from Wednesday 29th April to Saturday 2nd May at the University Social Club on Mill Lane and at the Mill Lane Lecture Theatre.
Named after the width of its film (which comes in cartridges that fit in to the camera), Super 8 used to be the preserve of amateur moviemakers. But these days its grainy look is embraced by professional directors for everything from music videos to feature films. Jan Gilbert gets the lowdown on this year's festival from one of its organisers, Thierry Bonnaud:
How did you get involved in Super 8?
I started using my parents' Super 8 camera to make animated films when I was a teenager. Later on in Cambridge I met some people who were quite enthusiastic about the possibilities of Super 8 cameras and I started making films again using this format.
What about the Cambridge Super 8 Festival, how did that come about?
Because we like short films and Super 8 we thought we should create a film festival in Cambridge to share all the good films we had seen when we visited other festivals abroad. We had plenty of ideas for a new festival and there aren't enough places to see interesting independent short films!
The festival's in its third year now, what can people expect from this year's event?
As well as a full set of competitive programmes, there'll be a workshop on how to make a Super 8 film led by the international prize-winning filmmaker Dagie Brundert. And we'll also have a retrospective programme of Dagie's intensely personal and entertaining films. There will also be an Industry Panel consisting of rising filmmakers and industry representatives who'll talk about the choices and opportunities available to filmmakers who decide to use the Super 8 format.
More than 20 filmmakers are coming from all over the world to be at the festival and anyone who comes along will be able to ask them questions about their work after each film programme. And the festival is proud to host the world premiere of the feature film Love Suicides by David Teague who's coming especially from the USA to introduce his film.
And there'll be lots more exciting events such as a magic lantern show during our opening party and the first showing of our "Cambridge memories" programme.
Tell me about the "Cambridge memories" section?
We're aiming to create an archive of how Cambridgeshire looked in the past and then screen those movies at the festival. We're looking for old Super 8 footage shot in Cambridgeshire from the 50s to the 90s. What we have collected so far is fascinating!
We're going to have a free screening where we'll show some of these rescued films for the first time. And if anyone has any film reels, they can contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01223 321 705. Or you can meet us at the free "Cambridge Memories" screening at 3pm on Saturday 2nd May at the University Social Club on Mill Lane.
What about the magic lantern show - what will that involve?
We'll have a presentation of Victorian magic lantern slides. The hand-painted slides are over a 100 years old, often contain mechanical moving parts and are substantial constructions of wood and brass. Physically the slides are beautiful to look at, but they become truly magical during a Magic Lantern show. You'll be transported back more than a 100 years, giving you a glamorous glimpse of the dawn of modern cinema, and you'll see a man eat a rat!
How can local people get involved in the festival?
The festival's open to everybody and is run entirely by volunteers. People interested in giving us a hand during the event can contact us through our website www.cambridge-super8.org
If anyone feels inspired to try their hand at making their own Super 8 movie, what would they need?
You may need some basics to start with and you can get these at the workshops we're running at this year's festival. Cameras are cheap and you can find them almost everywhere - in secondhand shops, on ebay, or you may even find you or a family member has one stashed away in the attic! As for the film cartridges, you can find those on the internet.
You can catch Jan's weekly movie reviews and gossip with Antonia Brickell on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Drivetime show between 4 and 6pm on 95.7, 96FM and 1026 MW.
The Cambridge International Super 8 Film Festival runs from Wednesday 29th April to Saturday 2nd May at the University Social Club on Mill Lane and at the Mill Lane Lecture Theatre.
last updated: 23/04/2009 at 12:42