Jun 9, 2024 | Featured, Interviews


Scott Miller Berry, one of the founders of the8fest back in 2008, tells us about this small gauge festival today represented at (S8) by Robin Riad.

Why did you decide to start a festival specifically on super 8 films? 

The four founders are all Super 8 makers and presenters/programmers ourselves. We all felt strongly about the beauty of small gauge filmmaking and its ability to make filmmaking easier for anyone who wants to make a film.

There was a Super 8 film festival called Splice This! from 1997-2006 in Toronto and after it stopped running we felt the loss and the need. While they would show film and video we started the8fest with a film only mandate.

Who was in this first year (in the organization, artists? Did you have any retrospectives?

Here’s the 1st program from 2008! We did this festival without any money –we did a retrospective (I chose these films) by Saul Levine–  and we did a Home Movie program (continues to this day) and we also did a live expanded cinema event (“Counternarratives”) and a “recent works” program called BAGEROO (also continues to this day)

The catalog is here.

What do you think are the specifics about super 8 as a format in experimental cinema?

It’s easier to teach and to “demystify” for non film/artists. It’s portable and can be very low barrier in terms of technical requirements 

Its possibilities are both limited and endless –both essential for experimental filmmaking!!

Do you think that the8fest encouraged a new generation of super 8 filmmakers?

I think so, yes. Mostly through many years of “commissions” –inviting people to make a new film by giving them a roll plus processing plus a creation fee– encouraging experimentation and often giving young and or non filmmakers an opportunity to make a Super 8 film! I’d like to think the 15+ years of screenings have also encouraged people to make a film too.

How has the organization of the festival changed over the years? Now it is led by young people.

It’s been more young people, which is very important… Also due to the nature of “project” grants the funding has been unstable so some years bigger grants meant more staff and more films… other years the opposite… It’s important that the8fest exists either way.

It’s ok to be smaller and nimble and scrape together resources –a nice metaphor for small gauge filmmaking!!!