The premise is this: get a super 8 cartridge and shoot a film with no sound, no retakes, and only in-camera edits. Send it off to straight 8 2020, and then if it’s any good, you’ll get to see if for the very first time at the Cannes Film Festival. Even the likes of Edgar Wright have entered this contest!

Here’s the explanation from straight 8:

straight 8 - the global super 8 film competition invites anyone anywhere to make a short film on one cartridge of super 8 film - editing only with each pull of their camera’s trigger. No post-production, no grading, no fiddling or fixing. The soundtrack is created without having seen the film and must be original.”

Hot damn! So if one cartridge of Super 8 film is 50 feet of celluloid, the longest your film can be is 3 minutes and 20 seconds. (It’s scanned at 18 frames per second.) There are no themes or rules, other than coming up with something that can be pulled off in-camera. Oh, and make a soundtrack for it. (Yes, that means you have to make a soundtrack without seeing the film!)

Did you forget how to shoot Super 8, or maybe you've never done it at all?

No problem, just check out our fabulous article, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shooting on Super 8mm. I mean, it contains... everything you want to know. That should get you up to speed to shoot this fifty-foot film!

Straight_8_2018_-_behind_the_scenes_of_satans_bite_credit-_dom_mooreBehind the scenes of "Satan's Bite" a straight 8 entry from 2018.Credit: Dom Moore

"Within one month of those premiere screenings everyone who entered will receive their pro-res files (scanned at at least 2K, with sound synch'ed)."

By the way, straight 8 is the real deal — it’s been around for 20 years, and this is the 15th time that finalists will screen at Cannes. But unlike last year, this is the first time that the contest has opened early —July 8 is the opening day for this month, in an attempt to allow entrants to choose “the warmth of summer or the cool sharp light of winter” to shoot their films. Even better!

For inspiration, check out straight 8 films here, and watch this 2001 film from Edgar Wright. Watch his signature transitions that we’ve come to love in anything from Shaun of the Dead to The World’s End but in-camera on Super 8mm!

What’s the catch? It costs money to enter.

What’s the catch to the catch?

The money is only slightly more than the cost of developing your film, which is part of the entry fee. From Straight 8:

Within one month of those premiere screenings, everyone who entered will receive their pro-res files (scanned at at least 2K, with sound synch'ed). we do not return original film spools. entrants whose films were not selected to screen can request our feedback about their film. their film may go on to enjoy further life. the standard is so high now that even films that didn't make our selections are going on to get selected for other film festivals, up against films that had the benefit of editing and post-production!

So that means that the entry fee isn’t all that high because it includes the film being processed and scanned at 2k at cinelab London.

Not bad. How do you enter?

On the 8th of every month, 30 spots are opened up. Buy an entry spot before they are done for the month, and submit your cartridge by the corresponding deadline. Here are the dates and corresponding cost:

    •    enter on or after Jul 8 >>> film delivery by Oct 8 (£130)
    •    enter on or after Aug 8 >>> film delivery by Nov 8 (£140)
    •    enter on or after Sep 8 >>> film delivery by Dec 8 (£150)
    •    enter on or after Oct 8 >>> film delivery by Jan 8 (£160)
    •    enter on or after Nov 8 >>> film delivery by Feb 8 (£170)
    •    enter on or after Dec 8 >>> film delivery by Mar 8 (£180)
    •    enter on or after Jan 8 >>> film delivery by Mar 8 (£190)
    •    enter on or after Feb 8 >>> film delivery by Mar 8 (£200)

Last year the contests received 150 entries from 19 countries, which is a lot…until you think about how many filmmakers enter Cannes Film Festival outside of this contest.

If you think you can come up with an idea and get your hands on a Super 8 camera and cartridge, do it! Get the full details and enter here.

And let us crash the premiere if you get in.

If you enter, good luck.


Header image of a recent straight 9 Cannes premiere courtesy straight 8.