“The film event is made up of filmmakers from the Syracuse community, many of whom have never made a film before,” explained Jason Kohlbrenner, one of the event organizers. The gist of the event, and its name, is that each filmmaker—there are 25 of them this year—shoots one reel on Super 8 film, a short loop of 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
The catch? “Once it’s shot, we send it in for processing, and no one gets to see it until the event day,” Kohlbrenner said. “Everyone is getting to see it for the first time.” Gives the word “premiere” a whole new and very literal meaning, doesn’t it?
So why use this Super 8 film—a type of Kodak film from back in the 1960s, which was often used to capture home videos and was revolutionary in size at the time—and not just a normal, modern camera on which the filmmakers could edit their work? Simple: This is more fun.
The lack of pressure and competition makes for a friendly event; like our moms told us when we were kids—everyone wins. Along with premiering their film, the filmmakers are invited to add audio beyond dialogue to their piece, making it a truly multimedia experience. And on occasion, if the film doesn’t turn out the way the filmmaker expected, this is a great option. “If the films just don’t come out, if they’re either under- or overexposed,” Kohlbrenner noted, “more often than not, they’ll say ‘Let’s just play it,’ and we’ll do something over it.”
As for the films that are viewed, the event has attracted a wide variety of talent in the past four years since its birth, with at least 17 films each year. “We’ve had some narrative films, some experimental films. People just overall have a lot of fun with it,” Kohlbrenner said. “It’s a very free medium. People really have to strategize and make something up if they want to do something meticulously, or they can just let the camera roll and have fun. You can’t go back and redo something.
Once it’s on the film, you’ve captured it and everyone’s going to see it.”
For the past four years, the event has been held at Funk N’ Waffles, 727 S. Crouse Ave. This year, the organizers have decided to expand, moving to the new locale. “It’s an old M&T Bank, so we’re actually activating an empty storefront,” Kohlbrenner said. “We’re partnering with the Public Arts Task Force, so it’s something we’re able to partner on, and get into this space.”
The PATF is a group of artists, community leaders, arts organizers and volunteers that is trying to integrate public art projects into the fabric of city life.
Along with the PATF, the One-Take Super 8 event is organized by the Syracuse Experimental Film & Media Workshop, a group of arts, programmers and educators who encourage experimentation through film.
The idea for Syracuse’s One-Take Super 8 event was born in Saskatchewan, Canada when Alex Rogalski created the first event in 2000 with 20 filmmakers. Since March 24, 2007, when Brett Kashmere brought the event to Syracuse, the event has grown quite a bit. “Every year, we always have more interest,” Kohlbrenner said. “We’re really excited this year—it’s going to be quite a long event.”
For more information, check out www.super8syracuse.blogpost.com.