Sungraph Super 8mm films

Sungraph Super 8mm films

The Super 8mm timeline is now up, featuring films from 1960-1981. Most of the films date from (were distributed in) the 1970s. These include a number of Sungraph films of Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo and Mt. Fuji that were apparently sold as souvenirs, packaged with the title “Movies of Japan” (left). They were unopened when I purchased them. The color is faded, but otherwise they were in good condition. The seller informed me that they were part of an estate sale.

One film on the timeline, “Hong Kong/Chinese Street Scenes” was mislabeled as being about Japan, but I decided to include it on the timeline nevertheless. Other notable films on the timeline include The Japanese Earthquake of September 1, 1923, Kamikaze Attack at Okinawa, and “Japanese Rice Cakes While You Wait” (Fox Movietone excerpt), all marketed by Blackhawk Films for home viewing. I am grateful to David Shepard (Film Preservation Associates) for allowing me to post them on this site. Defeat of Japan was distributed by Mountain Films in the UK, issued as part of their “War Series.”  The makers of  “Japan 1970” and “1981 Trip to Kyoto” are unknown; they are amateur home movies and fall into the category of orphan works.

I made the Fuji Single 8mm film Gion Festival, which documents the Kyoto Gion Festival (祇園祭) that takes place in that city every year on July 17th. The film begins with the building of the yama and hoko (山鉾) processional floats in the city streets and continues with the subsequent festivities at Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社), the eve of the procession, or yoiyama (宵山) and the procession itself, the yamaboko junkō (山鉾巡行) on the 17th. I shot most of the footage in 1976 while I was a student at the Osaka University of Arts, but I re-edited the film in 1977 when I returned to the Kansas City Art Institute (where it was judged as “too slow-paced.”) Gion Festival had a soundtrack that I recorded separately in which I provided a history of the festival. The film used was Fuji Single 8 color film, virtually analogous to Kodak Super 8mm, but using a differently designed cartridge for use in Fuji cameras.

The film Exotic Nippon in the upper left hand corner of the photograph above is a Castle Films release, also distributed for the home viewing market. That film will be added to the site along with the other Regular 8mm films in the Re-Envisioning Japan collection that are currently being scanned by Selznick MA student Sophia Lorent at George Eastman House’s Moving Image Department on a custom made piece of equipment .