Save Packfilm Travelog No. 8: No! But Yes!


Dear all,

please forgive the long silence, but the last hours have not been very easy for me.

Allow me to start this update with the 2 worst pictures I so far managed to squeeze out of this wonderful camera. These images are my 2 desperate attempts to at least create some real and tangible outcome of my meeting in Osaka yesterday.


The gentleman to the left is the wonderful high rank Fuji manager Mr. Sadahiro Fujibayashi, and on the right, you can hopefully see Mr. Shinichi Sano, from On and On, one of the most powerful instant photography distributors in Japan.

Well, please do not ask me in detail what exactly happened in this meeting, as most of the time the language switched to Japanese and most of the translated phrases sounded like "this most likely might maybe not even eventually be slightly possible" (which is at least much better than the clear statement I heard back then from Polaroid "This is impossible"). 

But to be as serious as I possibly can, my dear analog ladies and gentlemen:

NO! None of my 3 detailed proposals immediately created a promising reaction.

BUT YES! I have at least been promised that my proposals and my detailed presentation as well as this WONDERFUL and impressive list of signatures (which I printed out) will be passed on to the next level in Tokyo and that MAYBE I will receive feedback.

At least, that's better than nothing and I would not have expected a straight and simple YES even in my most positive dreams. BUT, to be completely honest, I'm frustrated right now as Jun and I have been waiting the whole day for the confirmation that my meeting at the Tokyo Office will be called on again (after being put on hold beginning of the week). By now the hope to have a chance to explain my proposals in front of the next level of FUJI management has gone.

Still, according to some super supportive FUJI insiders that I had the pleasure to meet here and also due to some Japanese press contacts, this must not be a final dead end street.

And honestly it feels like this was just the beginning and the warm up to be built around one big hope that these machines are still not destroyed. Even if I'm disappointed and tired right now, I do feel like we still have a chance and that this first attempt was not a complete failure but an important first step on a long journey that now turns out to be as difficult as we all have been afraid it would be.

I'm flying back home with a lot more insight of the more than delicate situation, with a deep freshly discovered love for packfilm and still an indestructible hope for the essential importance of keeping iconic creative materials like this one alive and even pass it on to our children.

If you could find the time and energy to stay with me, even if I could not yet really deliver any good results, I would be more than honored as only united we finally will make this happen. 

Yours truly, 




    I think if you can purchase the entire operation turnkey so as to assure a continuity of quality and take the burden of their hands they may consider it. any strings attached I doubt since the money is too small for such a huge company- they have been trying to get rid of this needle in the haystack for a generation now- the entire Fujifilm was too small of a profit for the Fuji empire. I you can take the buildings the staff and the business model you may have a chance- telling Japanese Buisness men you have better ideas is like instant hara-kiri;). YES YOU DID GET FARTHER lol

  • Kraig H.

    Thank you for all that you are doing, shooting pack film is a great pleasure for us. showing our younger generation how film was process way back before their parents were young, I shoot a Land 420 and still get reactions/comments from young and older generation “that still works?” or “they still make film for those?” its a great feeling knowing that in this digital age film photography still is alive and lets keep it alive. for many generations to come. save pack film!

  • Genny

    We all support you. I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing. What if a new camera were made, and mass produced, that used pack film? If the new camera were properly marketed perhaps demand for pack film would make its production a no-brainer for fugi.

  • susanne melanie berry

    i have faith in you. take a breather, refocus, and get back in there.

  • Vince

    Hi Doc,

    I hope you’ve made it safely made it home and are decompressing after such a rough ride. After 15 years working for large Japanese companies and one of the national universities, I’ve seen that played out many times. I don’t think it’s over yet, as you said, but I think you’ll need to come at this from another direction to gain traction. Though, it would probably be helpful if you and your colleagues here in Japan could figure out why Fujifilm is saying no.

    The first thing I thought of is that one should never underestimate the conservatism of Japanese business culture. They may see selling their technology to you as giving a potential boost to TIP. At the end of the day, however, there is very little track record of Japanese industrial companies selling a business unit (even a shuttered one) to foreign investors, which may be the root problem.

    A few things you might consider as options are: proposing a joint venture with Fujifilm to produce and sell FP-100C (and FP-100B and FP-3000B!!!), proposing a JV to do that based in Japan, commissioning a SO run of FP-100C to give everyone another five years.

    Keep your hopes up. Fujifilm is a lock, and you just need to find the right key. If anyone can do that it will be you. Good luck!

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