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Life is Super Gr8

Last month Phil and Rhonda attended the second annual Super Gr8 Film Festival in Harrisonburg, Virginia, a charming little town in the Shenandoah Valley, and home to James Madison University.

Organized by two local residents and incredibly wonderful guys, Paul Somers (artist, poet, filmmaker and educator) and Tim Estep, (TimeStepFilms), The Super Gr8 Film Festival is a community-organized event that featured 48 super 8 short films (shown over two nights) made by local filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers had never made a short film before this event.

In August of this year, Tim and Paul asked Pro8mm if we could sponsor the event and attend the festival. We were thrilled and honored to do so, as this festival is one of the first to used Pro8mm workflows entirely. Paul and Tim bought 48 rolls of film ½ Super8/66 Tri-X and ½ Pro8/13 Tungsten for the festival participants, all processed and scanned on the M2 at Pro8. As a sponsor we also added The Power of Super 8 Film Seminar to the agenda the day before the festival. This pre- event was held on campus at J.M.U. where we were joined by award winning wedding super 8 filmmaker and photographer Kate Headley who drove down from Washington D.C. to speak to an enthusiastic and engaging audience.

Festival screening

All the short films, approximately 3.5 minutes in length were edited in-camera, with-out sound. Each filmmaker then created an original soundtrack for his or her short film. This in some cases included live performances during the screening. This festival is unique in that none of the filmmakers get to see their finished films until the night of the festival screenings.

The screening was held over two nights at the Court Square Theatre to a packed, sold-out house. The topics covered in the films were as diverse as you could possibly imagine and they were absolutely fantastic! The panel of judges voted, and then the audience also voted for an audience favorite. The first night featured the black and white films and the second evening color negative super 8 film. An after party and awards ceremony will follow the screenings each night.

Super Gr8’s mission is to bring the community together through film. It was amazing to me how in this small Shenandoah Valley college town, everyone, everywhere we went stepped right in and got totally behind Super Gr8. Actors, filmmakers, crew and fan club were all a part of the festival is some way. This was a community labor of love unlike I have seen before. Tim and Paul spent endless hours finding cameras, getting them repaired, lending them out to contestants, and training them how to use them. They contacted local merchants to sponsor the event and local artists to raffle off their work as a fund raising effort. Even the trophies were unique, one of kind objects of art hand made out of old super 8 cameras, mounted on a stand. It was clear to us that Tim and Paul were very well respected King Pins of the community.

For me, I have to say with absolutely honest, this Super Gr8 festival was the high light of my year. Never have I met people more appreciative, warm, and friendly as I did in Harrisonburg. It affirms what I have always believed. Give people a creative opportunity, make it affordable, accessible, and add in a chance to collaborate with others without competing for anything other than a chance to totally immerse themselves in something enjoyable and enhance a sense of community pride, and you have the perfect recipe for a life that is Super Gr8!
Photos by Josh Gooden
Festival Organized by Tim Estep and Paul Somers

Kate Headley speaking at The Power of Super 8
Kate Headley speaking at The Power of Super 8
Phil Vigeant talking about the tiny Super 8 format
Phil Vigeant talking about the tiny Super 8 format

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