As worldwide demand for colour reversal films has plummeted, so has the choice of film reduced. Since the demise of Kodak we are left now with just reversal stock manufactured by Fuji Film. Excellent though this film is, it leaves us with the dangers of a single source of supply.
So it was with some delight that we heard about, and contributed to, the Kickstarter project started by ex-employees of the defunct Italian film manufacturer Ferrania. It is an ambitious project to bring back reversal film production, using the existing plant that finally shut down in 2010, but in a way more closely matched to today’s demand.
Our pleasure is partly nostalgia of course. The author, as a teenager in the early 70’s, was happily processing Ferraniacolor in the kitchen sink using processing kits supplied by Johnsons of Hendon!
The Ferrania company dates back to 1882 and made explosives, but turned their nitro cellulose production to film base manufacture. In the 1920s they made their first monochrome photographic film and it wasn’t until 1952 that Ferraniacolor was launched. 3M Corporation bought them out in 1964 and the company went from strength to strength. However, the Ferrania brand name was lost and competition from the big hitters (Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, Agfa) became so great that Ferrania film was sold to the consumer market under 3M’s Imation brand – plus a thousand and one ‘own brands’ of supermarkets, photo labs and the like.
The FILM Ferrania team are battling to clean up and revive the plant and, despite setbacks, look set to have a production run in the last quarter of 2015 – and we look forward to our samples arriving for testing!