What do Oliver Stone, Peter Jackson and the Coen Brothers have in common? Aside from being famous directors of course, they all started their filmmaking career working on Super 8.

To begin with, a little precision. Super 8 is not the name of a newfangled psychoactive drug, nor of any Herculean, American grocery retailer. Super 8 is a motion picture film format that has been developed by Kodak since 1965. It was the first format before the introduction of video and paradoxically, it is in the present age of digital video filmmaking and the internet that it is enjoying a revival. The Cambridge Super 8 Group are central to this, running the only annual International Film Festival dedicated to the Super 8 format in the country, every April since 2007.

Five years ago a group of friends living in Cambridge, among them Thierry Bonnaud, a French chemist and  Tony Clarke, member of the University Careers Service’s staff, took  part in  the “Straight 8” contest where filmmakers are invited to  shoot and edit on a single Super 8 cartridge and admire the results on  a big screen.

Thierry, now President of Cambridge Super 8, recalls: “We suddenly discovered  very good films that may have disappeared because no one  was screening  Super 8 anymore”. Soon enough,  the first Cambridge Super 8 film festival was organized with no funding and four people watching over 150 films in the selection process for the festival. The group has now grown and includes many students of the University.

Thierry believes “that Super 8 film is a crucial art form which we should protect rather than just give up.” Indeed, Super 8 cameras can be found for as little as £1 online, making it ideal for any interested amateur.

In addition to the annual film festival, the society organizes many activities revolving around Super 8 film-making. For more information or to get involved visit www.cambridge-super8.org.

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