Save Packfilm Travelog No. 9: GRANDE AIRPORT SUMMARY


GRANDE AIRPORT SUMMARY

On March 18th I found myself again at the same Sushi Bar as exactly 6 days ago. There I had some time to summarize the developments of my savepackfilm efforts over some last Chirashi Sushi before Europe and an early morning beer. 

The biggest challenge of this adventure is the astonishing fact of how “light tight” this giant black box called FujiFilm really is. Nobody seems to know anything, so it's incredibly hard to develop a better understanding of how to push the right buttons and offer useful proposals. Maybe this is caused by the fact that I don't have any personal contacts and don't share any history with Fujifilm, but honestly I think this is only a small part of the problem.

FujiFilm seems to be really famous for its very restrictive information policy. Inside but also outside of Japan. We would urgently need an “André Bosman” NOW!!! Sitting on a bench in Enschede with André back in 2008 and listening to all the details of how to keep this factory alive had been the big turning point for saving the last Polaroid factory.

“Dear Mrs or Mr. Fuji Packfilm insider! As you have produced this wonderful material for so many years, please please call me, so we all can understand better how to keep this wonderful and iconic film material alive!”

Because this
 time, I don't even have the slightest idea where these last packfilm machines are standing!! How many are still available? Are they still producing? When has the management scheduled their demolition? It just feels like fighting against a ghost, which for sure is one of Fuji`s main intentions.

The second biggest problem is obviously the massively decreasing demand for this material. I had to discover that the percentage of packfilm consumption by photographers in whole Asia is most likely a small one digit number, and that only the passport and ID picture business (mainly in the lower developed regions) had kept this format alive for the past years. Even if the situation might be slightly different in Europe and North America, FujiFilm management simply has to have hard times to see any future for this material, without any chance to really see the essential difference between their Instax Wide material that produces images of exactly the same size, with just a little different border.

Fighting this “lack of analog vision” does not feel like the right strategy, so I basically only see 2 realistic directions to proceed:

1.  Offering a long term purchase agreement with a defined minimum order quantity, that turns this product back into a profitable item for FujiFilm.

2.  If this agreement can't be reached (and so far I have not even received any information of the actual average yearly sales for this product. My best guess would be around 250.000 packs per year globally) I really begged them literally on my knees to give us – the wild gang of crazy people all over the world who do not just believe but also did act – the chance to keep this format alive by selling us the key machines which – as always - are the essential foundation to all future production plans. At least ONE assembly machine and MAYBE PLEASE some of the molds for the cartridge. Not to mention some left over materials for rails, paper, pod-materials,…

The most positive outcome of this journey so far is the fact that there have been 2 official proposals of how to keep this material alive and an impressive amount of signatures personally handed over to the Fuji management. Hopefully they can NOW no longer continue like there is no interest or chance for this material any longer.

With the growing group of supporters in Japan (another positive outcome from this trip) I agreed to wait one week for the Fuji management to come up with a reaction to my proposals before taking next steps. But based on the super slow progress so far, I plan to already prepare for these steps with the team as well as start discussing possible next moves and some new ideas with our brothers in arms: IMPOSSIBLE, NEW55, FERRANIA, but also some other so far not actively involved gentlemen.

As always, I will of course keep you closely in the loop,

Doc

 P.S.: Just seconds before boarding my plane back home, I got another savepackfilm energy boost from these 2 kids. They simply could not believe their eyes as I took (and handed over) the picture I took of them. Once again it felt so very good to experience how powerful the magic of this i1947-invention still is in a world where visual entertainment is defined by the iPad.

 

www.savepackfilm.net


22 comments


  • Drew

    Thank you, Doc! As someone with over 50 Polaroid cameras in their collection. I need some hope. I just used my last shot of Polaroid 600 film last week and have been shooting Impossible since you started. I love instant. I have 30-40 packs of peel apart I am clicking my way through. I’d love to see something positive come out of this.

    I’m hoping for the best and thank you for doing all you can.

    -Drew


  • ROn

    I truly appreciate all of your efforts. You are already an analog film hero in my book!


  • bob barrett

    Thank you for your efforts! I am a fan of all Fuji-roid products and hope they (Fuji) do not abandon production. I have less than two packs of FP 100c left in two of my beloved Polaroid 180’s. I think the idea of asking Fuji what yearly requirement would make the product viable, then assembling a worldwide group who each pledge a given usage to fulfill this requirement is the best way to proceed. Hopefully…BB


  • john

    I just bought an old polaroid that uses peel apart film at Value Village & was hoping to use the peel apart film (although it could still be used as decoration).I use Instax film, but I like the ability to keep a negative. I know Mr. Bellamy of Japan Camera Hunter has commented that the film is selling really well in Asia (so well that it disappears from store shelves soon after it arrives). Option #1 would probably be the best, as #2 would likely require re-assembling machinery & learning the process from scratch. If Fuji decides to stop production, maybe someone should look into a way to design an attachment/back for peel apart cameras that can use Instax…


  • Heiko Krause

    Why not propose Fuji a list of people who make a kind of monthly subscription to buy the FP 100 C – 5-10 packs a month? If there will be enough subscribers, so that Fuji has a fixed number of monthly sales, let’s see what happens…


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