NEWS: Call to Entry for 2023 STRAIGHT 8 Super 8 Film Competition

By Molly Kate

The STRAIGHT 8 super 8 short film competition is heading back to Cannes Film Festival in 2023 after 3 years of absence due to Covid-19. Entries are currently open to anyone around the world and the top 8 films will premiere at STRAIGHT 8’s Cannes Film Festival screening this May.

Entrants are allowed only one cartridge of super 8 film to make their movie. Everything must be done in camera when filming as there is also no digital editing allowed. Filmmakers also have to buy their entry before they start shooting their film to ensure all films are brand new as no already-made films can be entered.

The cartridge is submitted directly to STRAIGHT 8 whose partner Cinelab Film + Digital in London will take care of all processing and scanning. Soundtracks, titles, and subtitles are also submitted “blind” to Cinelab Film + Digital. Filmmakers do not see their films until the premiere.

Deadlines are February 21st for regular entry and March 21st for last-minute submissions. Entries cost 160 GBP for regular and 190 GBP for last minute. The fees cover the cost of processing, scanning, sound synching, digital delivery of pro-res of every entry, competition management, and putting on the premiere for the top 8 films. STRAIGHT 8 is offering readers a discount code, use 35MMC10 to take 10% off your entry.

Enter the competition or find more information about the rules and super 8 filmmaking on the STRAIGHT 8 website here!

Straight 8 competition poster for 2023
Image provided by STRAIGHT 8 team

The global filmmaking competition began in London in 1999. Over 2,500 films have been made and submitted as part of the program. 2023 will mark the 15th year the competition has premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

STRAIGHT 8 makes for an unusually level playing field where experts and rookies can do surprisingly well, or badly! Everyone learns loads, has fun and more gems are found every year. – Ed Sayers, STRAIGHT 8 Founder

Straight 8 competition poster for 2023
Image provided by STRAIGHT 8 team

Each submission runs through a series of reviews by multiple people to select the final 8 that will go to Cannes.

Alex Glynn from STRAIGHT 8 explains there are 3 steps to the judging process. First, all the films are watched by a team of previously selected “STRAIGHT 8ers” to make the “long list”.

Then the STRAIGHT 8 team watches all films on the long list to create the “short list”. The short list is selected based on the STRAIGHT 8 team’s judgment but also with input from the “STRAIGHT 8ers” that selected the long list initially for harder choices or discussions.

Alex explains what they look for in a film, “All of us are looking to finish a STRAIGHT 8 feeling something – horror, wonder, shock, amusement, awe. We’re thinking about the audience reaction in the cinema when they’re unveiled for the first time and always look out for a strong idea behind each film. There are absolutely no preferences for style, genre, etc.”

He adds that they want to encourage super 8 animators to take part as well.

A jury of filmmakers and programmers then selects the top 8 from the short list. This year’s jury includes Academy Award-winning Asif Kapadia (Diego Maradona, Amy, Senna), BAFTA-winning Mark Jenkin (Bait, Enys Men), Academy Award-nominated Director of Photography Robbie Ryan (Marriage Story, The Favourite, American Honey), editor and original 1999 STRAIGHT8-er Justine Wright (The Mauritanian, Locke, Touching the Void), film programme manager from the British Council, Jo Duncombe, and programmer from Nowness, Marley Hansen.

Straight 8 Jury
STRAIGHT 8 Jury – Screenshot from STRAIGHT 8 Webpage

STRAIGHT 8 says on their website of the jury:

Between them, they have an incredible breadth of film knowledge and, more importantly, strong opinions! Every year they put serious time and deliberation into judging your STRAIGHT 8s. We’re thrilled to have them back and it’s a real testament to the quality of your films that they keep coming back year-on-year.

Straight 8 competition poster for 2023
Image provided by STRAIGHT 8 team

The top 8 are shown for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival, but the rest are shown at cast and crew screenings. Afterward, the films will also be screened at BFI Southbank in London prior to embarking on a tour around the UK and beyond. All films will be returned to entrants by June 2023.

Examples of STRAIGHT 8 films can be found on the website as well as on social media if you want inspiration! If you are interested in submitting or learning more about the competition, head over to the STRAIGHT 8 website here.

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About The Author

By Molly Kate
Photographer, writer, and CPA currently running a Youtube channel called Eclectachrome. I'm a huge fan of shiny new objects which makes writing news a perfect fit. Favorite cameras are often mechanical rangefinders, folders, and compacts and I love most film stocks. I enjoy developing and scanning my own film as well as printing in the darkroom when there's extra time!
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