Save Packfilm Travelog No. 18: Up. And Down.


JOIN DOC ON AN INSTANT ADVENTURE

 

Dear all,


what a day! Starting incredibly promising, with beautiful sunshine and an early morning coffee at the beautiful house of my friend Heinz Lichtenegger. He is the founder, mastermind and CEO of Pro-Ject and godfather of the world's most beautiful turntables.

Followed by an entertaining, 2-hours drive through maybe the most beautiful parts of Austria and discussing all kinds of analog topics, whilst heading towards the Pro-Ject factory in the Czech Republic.

And there it was: another factory that has been only a few days away from being closed forever, saved by Heinz at the very last minute and now filled with almost 400 workers, producing more than 12.000 splendid turntables every month. Currently they are even building a new facility as the backorders are piling up like crazy!

 

 

These are the best places to recharge hope for our slow and exhausting fight for packfilm!! With a smile I sat in the sun in the early afternoon, enjoying a small local beer and fully motivated for the next steps with FUJI. 

But than this message popped up at my mobile:

FUJI officially responded to the latest letter and our 3 detailed proposals of how to keep packfilm alive, even without the availability of the ingredients needed to continue the production of the legendary FP-100C.

I really had to read the short reply over and over again, as I simply could not believe what I was reading at first sight!!!!

"... we cannot now change our decision. Thus, we respectfully decline your proposals. "

This simply can not be true?! All my positive energy was gone within a second. Can it get any worse????????? Pffffffff. Unbelievable.

Ok. My dear gentlemen FUJI management, I really think this is enough of the phase no. 1 and the polite exchange of letters. I honestly think it is now the time for entering phase 2 and inform the world about this unbelievable attitude of Fuji, which in my understanding is against basically all the brand values they are so eager to celebrate.

They simply seem to not to be interested at all in the fact that millions of cameras are becoming obsolete and that they're killing a legendary invention forever. Not even interested to talk about any of our proposals!!!! Not at all interested to even look more closely at our realistic solutions, as technically speaking there are several options available right now and we are even ready and able to cover all the costs!!!

This is simply breathtaking and against all logic thought, and I will for sure not rest until every single photographer in the world has learned about this cruel decision of the FUJI management.

Already on my way back to Vienna, I drafted the first version of a global press release to reveal the brutal truth to the world. At the beginning of the next week, I will send this to my global press network. If you my dear friends, have dried your tears of anger, please also start thinking about the best and most efficient ways to spread this press release that of course I also will publish here at my travelog as for me the journey has to go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Onwards,

Doc

 

 

www.savepackfilm.net

 


28 comments


  • K.Engle

    Polaroid Originals is currently manufacturing Polaroid Film and marketing on Amazon and selling on their website. Fuji FP 100-c compatible could be a line item Polaroid Originals might start making if enough of a demand is to be had.. https://us.polaroidoriginals.com


  • BrianThowl

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  • Ianalog

    Super project; Dream can become reality. But there is a concern, No one talks about it, nor does it communicate that.
    There is currently a KICKSTARTER campaign set up by the partner and collaborator of florian kaps DOC: NEW 55, which deals with the development of technologies and machines
    To start an industrial production of the support which will serve to perpetuate the 100 packfilm type, abandoned by FUJIFILM.
    If you want the legacy to be perpetuated, it is very important to communicate around you the presence of this project and the link, if you want this to happen.
    Thank you all for sharing and participating in this campaign.
    Here is the link: http://kck.st/2eoPqQf


  • iGlad

    No wonder the Japanese economy has been in such a slump for the past 15 years or more with decisions like these being made in their boardrooms!!


  • Jamie

    Doc, thank you for your perseverance and never giving up the fight!!


  • Michael

    May take a while but looks like CatLabs is committed to carrying the torch! A little hope a least:
    http://www.catlabs.info/we-will-make-packfilm


  • Michael

    Hi Dr. Florian Kaps, first of all I would like to thank you for all you have done for us. I absolutely understand how angry and frustrating you are right now. Traveling thousands of miles and waited for a week to meet up, coming up with logical and workable proposals, networking with people and many other things which took plenty of time to do.

    Now you have received an “answer” from Fuji which in a way translate (sorry for the language) “they don’t give a fuck about you and everyone” absolutely will anger everyone including me. However I hope you will keep on reading what I think of the whole situation.

    Based on your proposals, 1 and 2 are not going to happened. But for 3: buying over the machines and formula from Fuji to me till now may still be plausible. Why? because Fuji officially HAVE NOT released a statement like “we have destroyed everything including blueprints. Stop wasting your time”.

    Why I believe the machines may still be around:
    1. [Japanese people are thrifty and don’t like to waste things.] It makes absolutely no sense that they would rather destroy the machines than disposed (money spent). If the factory is located in Japan, it most likely will be in a rural or sub urban area. Keeping the factory and idle machines collecting dust do incur money but I think for FUJI is not a huge loss.
    2. [It takes time] although it is now the 21st century. Japan is still an conservative country which have rules and hierarchy traditional practices. Maybe they have not yet decided, and they are putting this on hold. It is less than 6 months since they officially announced they will forever discontinue their FP film line. I suspect it will take at least a year before they start thinking what to do with the machines.
    3. [Fuji are observing and waiting], FP-100C is very hot now, I heard the sale in Japan is so good that they have not shipped the “oversea” stock to US market. They may want to see how the market responds to it. The crazier it went, the more bargaining power they have when they do want to sell the machines.
    4. [Made in Japan, Stay in Japan], I may be wrong, but I think Fuji sort of makes many improvements to the old Polaroid peel film that It is good enough to say that it was reinvented by Fuji Japan. There is a Chinese saying “肥水不流外人田”directly translates into “never let futile rich water flow into other people’s farm”. It is possible that they just don’t want or not ready to sell their peel film technology to a foreign company.
    5. [Lost in Translation + now is really not a good time] As you know currently Japan is hit by earthquakes and many factories have been affected. I believe Fuji is one of them. Give them some time to reset and recover from the disasters. Also, when I translate a Japanese phase using different translation software, the results are often into different versions. When I translate it to Chinese, it has a totally different meaning to the English version. Maybe we just misinterpret the Japanese heavily business slang message.

    What now? Maybe we give Fuji some time? We can show them Peel film is not a failed film product. New55 is going to fund raise a Colored New55. If the fund raise worked out, it will be a strong message to Fuji that the market still has demands.

    What else? We really need to confirm if Fuji REALLY HAS DESTROYED everything before picking up our pitchfork and torches. Taking any drastic reaction now may not be a good time. You have built a bridge with Fuji and you are the only English speaking foreign representative that can best represent all of us. You are known as “Doc” and your words/actions will definitely pack a heavy punch in overseas photography community. If a punch is delivered, Fuji may react negatively and burn the ‘trust’ bridge you have just built.

    No matter what, I will always support you.

    Thank you so much again for all the hard work.
    Best Regards
    M


  • Mark

    http://www.catlabs.info/we-will-make-packfilm


  • Vernon Jenewein

    Class action lawsuit. I’ll sign. They have provided a camera that they now will stop film for that particular camera effectively making all those Fotorama FP-1 Pro and other cameras worthless, as well as Older Polaroid that people paid good money to use with their film. Some are being sold at very high cost for their ability to create excellent photos (manual shutter speeds, aperture, flash, etc) and they will be same as bricks in very short time.

    Problem is that these pack films, the Fuji FP-100C film, cannot be frozen like color and black and white film extending the life indefinitely. They can only be refrigerated to slow down the aging process.

    It is those that have bought cameras and were relying on this film that have standing (standing is a person that has lost because of something), and there are plenty. It might be a whole lot cheaper to continue the manufacturing than to give the world the middle finger and cut all production.


  • petet

    It seems Catlabs is taking upon themselves to pick up where Fuji is leaving.


  • Raymond van Mil

    “Instax film has less resolution” — I hate them now, but have to say this is not true. I connected an instax back to a mamiya universal and its sharp as it gets.


  • Raymond van Mil

    #fuckfujifilm


  • Steve

    Fuji has made a simple, completely predictable, even inevitable, business decision – terminate an unprofitable product to concentrate on the lines that support the company. There is no appeal, no one to fight. I’m sure Fuji does not like to kill a product but they cannot profitably produce films with extremely low sales volume. FP-100C isn’t the only product to disappear from their offerings.

    I will sorely miss peel-apart instant film. I love using my Polaroids. They are my favorite cameras and there are no Instax cameras nearly as appealing. Further, Instax film has less resolution. This a a sad situation for all Polaroid fans. Have to face it, my few remaining packs are all I will see. Unwilling to pay $3 a frame.

    That said, I do not expect Fuji to lose money supporting my habit any more than I expect someone to start producing 118 or 122 film for my old Kodaks. FP films are niche products, clearly unprofitable at current sales levels and only declining.

    Fuji certainly has the capability of producing a decent camera for Instax Wide. Do so and I will reluctantly convert, leaving my beloved Polaroids gathering dust.


  • Vincent Johnson

    Dear Doc Kaps,

    I’m just a researcher, not a business person, but I’ve spent the last 15 years working for companies and universities in Japan. While I can’t tell you how to do a deal here, I do have an insight into Japanese business culture. Reading your posts through the lens of that experience, I really believe you’ve gone about this all wrong, and it shows. From what you’re written, I would say they know who you are and how serious you feel about this cause, but they never had any intention of doing a deal with you — you’ve simply imbued Japanese “politeness” with hope, and misconstrued their respect as an invitation to go forward. So now that they’ve definitely said no, you’re going to distribute a press release that can only make people feel bad for using the products that Fuji currently makes, e.g., Instax, Neopan and Velvia… really? I have a great deal of admiration for what you did to save Polaroid’s integral film line, but I don’t believe this post or your forthcoming press release are correct, and I hope you reconsider the latter.

    Basically, you still have no idea why Fujifilm said no to your proposal (three actually, which was also a mistake, but I digress). Maybe they have sealed bids for the equipment, maybe they will get more in tax relief by closing the line than the value of your best offer, maybe parts of their (currently profitable) Instax line shares technology with FP-100c that they don’t want to leak out, or maybe they are upset that you’re carrying this negotiation out in the public eye. Again, I can’t suggest anything for how to get them to reconsider, but unless you’re able to understand why Fujifilm is saying no, I doubt you’ll be successful.


  • patrick j. clarke

    Fuji, great job on making AMAZING film for the masses that won’t buy it any more, now let us take over and do our part.

    WE want it to be different, unique and to be honest, a little flawed…

    WE won’t outsell your giant empire of packfilm at it’s height, and that’s okay with us.

    WE want it to be saved so that we can make art and yes, some profit, but…

    WE actually want it to survive because we love it.


  • Ernie

    Has there been any effort into confirming if the packfilm assembly plant has been/will be refitted to produce Instax? Last year, Instax was the number one product for sale on Amazon. I’ve read that Fujifilm’s response to that demand was to build more production capacity. If the pack film plant was/will be adapted to meet that demand, then there wouldn’t be any machines to lease/sell to a continuing entity. If New55 can get by with hand assembly and recently, in-house built machinery, can there not be a group to take on a similar effort and forget about Fujifilm?


  • WILLIAM LITTMAN

    have you tried offering buying the entire operation with buildings and employees and offering a share of the profits? that would be a starting point otherwise anything less is a nuisance and a liability to them which they see as a child’s refusal to let go. If you are saying you are the adult savior then what you propose cannot be a bluff- it has to show responsibility for the entire effort. They are trying to move on and you are saying they shouldn’t and they are bored . get i8nverstors and make a reasonable offer instead of hoping to buy something from someone as if it was abandoned. they want to abandon the responsibility whatever you propose has to prove you can assume it!


  • Jon

    I simply plan to stop using Instax. If you want my money, you need to listen to me. Simple.


  • Russ

    It’s hard but Fuji don’t really seem to care about their customers and when all said and done I think they expect people to move to their instax format which we would if their were any decent cameras. If they kill off pack film it’s just one less format for people to choose from, They won’t be bothered about the millions of cameras that could end up in landfill. its all about the balance sheet I’ve just bought a Polaroid 450 and I’ve enough film to last awhile but it is unfair of them to to play God and say that’s it and that’s the end of it!

    I think a fight is on the cards!


  • michael Bartosek

    This is disappointing news to be sure. Let’s just hope that somehow this is not the end of the story. Although, based on other readings and previous discussions it seems like this was an expected response by Fuji.


  • Jay Sorrels

    For what it is worth, Doc I highly doubt that public pressure and expression of justified anger and frustration will take things forward at this stage. Large, stable corporations are very used to such assaults. I find the statement “we cannot now change our decision” even harder to understand out of context. Can one assume it refers to the decision to withdraw from the packfilm market on all fronts – OEM or not? Or to scrap the machines? Or use them for something else? Or perhaps there is a private, sealed bid process much in the Japanese style. ‘Covering costs’ also can mean different things in different business contexts. Fuji may well have just looked at a spreadsheet and thought the disruption of even doing due diligence on any one of the proposals was not worth the trouble. There is some history of twilight industries in Japan being divested – Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) picked up most of the photo film assets of Konica Minolta a decade ago. They ran down the consumer products, true. But some of the tech survived in other forms. The sad truth is that a typical Japanese corporate mindset, while by no means as evil as that which exists elsewhere, would probably have seen petitions, personal appeals and more as a Quixotic transmission from Mars. This is a dead bit of their business, and if they can sell it or spin it off they will. But the Kieretsu system means this will be done in the shadows to known parties, if at all. Perhaps suggesting help to them, whomever they may be is a way forward? They cannot be seen to give in to activism – and probably will not notice it anyway. We still do not know – are the machines safe? Are they for sale or rent? These are the key questions. Perhaps purchase shares in Fuji and ask as a shareholder how these assets are being disposed of and if it is in the best financial interest of the firm?


  • Mark

    Just be very aware that the Japanese have a very different way of negotiating a deal as to us westerners.. Sometimes No means Yes and that depends who is in front of you and why !
    " The first thing you need to remember is that it is wrong to be brutally honest in Asia. They will be offended regardless of the content of your
    Secondly, the chit chat that comes before a serious debate during a business meeting is part of saving face. And it can take minutes to a couple of hours for this face-building to end.

    This does not mean that Asians do not appreciate honesty. They do and they value it very much but telling off a person in public is a big No-Go"
    Which brings me to your plan to turn the heat up for Fuji…. I’m far from being versed on Asian business protocol, but maybe finding somebody who has such an experience can advice with this ethnic difference in mind.
    I wish to believe that they are sending coded signals !
    Do not lose heart yet !
    LG M


  • George Patterson

    Should we arrange some kind of boycott on Fujifilm products or get the Impossible project leaders involved? Maybe if we united a superteam of underground business tycoons such as the Impossible Project leaders, Heinz Lichtenegger, Lomography people, and of course Doc, we can get those machines and save packfilm.


  • Axel

    How childish of them.


  • M.O.

    Instax..No thanks.


  • Elena Raga

    Crying in anger! No way I will by other Fuji products again.. How disappointing and eye opening.


  • Amanda

    This is just so aggravating! It is totally illogical and ridiculous that even from a business perspective. A business would say we have a product that is not making money, and even when someone comes and shows them how to make that product profitable. If only purely by selling the means of production. But their business decision is: No we don’t want to make money, we would rest her pay to destroy the factory than sell it to you. WHAT?!?!?? What kind of business does not want to make money?
    That is just crazy talk!
    Thank you Doc for all your hard work to save pack film! We are with you whatever we have to do to publicly shame Fujifilm into seeing reason on this point!!! We are ready to make as much noise as we need to in order to save pack film!!!


  • Dan

    Ugh.


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