This special dossier of Pour le Cinema Belge was made to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the Belgian festival (1974-1983). The dossier is a gem, as it contains a summary of the Super 8 movement from around the world. La Galaxie Super 8, (Dossier Essentiel, nº 62, Novembre/Decembre 1983) has three parts: the magazine itself (with numbered pages); a colored one page program summary with the rules for the film competition and a grid showing the festival’s films hour by hour; and a set of four loose, unnumbered, double pages inserted in the middle of the program called “Jour and Nuit” (day and night). These loose pages describe the events that are taken place from 10 am to well into the night of November 10, 11, 12 and 13, 1983. The pages are loose, so that festival participants can take them independently and do not have to carry the whole program with them. As these pages are not numbered, they will be cited by their date followed by the page number ex. Jour and Nuit, Nov 11: 3 means the third page in the November 11 Jour and Nuit.
The dossier covers local and global information. At the local level it tells the story of Brussels’ Expression Super 8, the group that launched the national festival in 1974. In 1975 the same group created a center that organized audiovisual education in Brussel’s French community, the Centre de Creation et Diffusion Super 8 de la Communauté Fraincaise (12, 14, 23), which had courses for children (17). To decentralize the power of the capital, the Belgian Super 8 national festival was organized in different cities: Brussels 1974, 1975 and 1979; Liege 1976 and 1980; Louvain-La-Neuve 1977; Namur 1978. La Galaxie Super 8 includes a list of Belgian national entries for 1983 (7, 9-11); a list of winners for the Belgian national festival 1974-1982 (20-22), and films outside the competition, among them Belgian Ranchitos ou Nous ne sommes pas des animaux, by Jean-Claude Bronckart, a film shot in Caracas that shows Caracas shanty towns (13), and Vains Désirs on gay culture by Robert Malengreau (Empty Desires 13).
At the global level, the dossier gives information about the Belgian international festival. In 1978, the Belgians launched their international festival that brought many North African filmmakers, as well as well-known figures of the Super 8 world. La Galaxie Super 8 includes a list of winners for past international festivals (22). By looking at the jury list of the national festival (20-22), it is clear that well-known international Super 8 filmmakers and festival directors came to Brussels as juries well before the international festival was launched in 1978 (22). The dossier also includes a list of juries and prizes for the international festival, showing data from 1978 to 1982. The photos of important personalities appear in the “Album souvenir” (Souvenir Album, 23); many of them attended the 1983, others have their photos cutout from previous festivals.
Also at the global level, the dossier provides a history of the International Federation of Super 8 Cinema, the umbrella organization that coordinated festivals, which was based in Brussel (1976-1980) before moving to Montreal (1980-1983). The section “L’Internationale Super 8: un movement planétaire” (24) summarizes the organization’s history (created in 1975, in Iran); goals (coordinate festivals and organize Super 8 filmmakers around the world); and gives a list of the Federation’s board in 1983, which includes the president, secretary, and vice-presidents for Europe, Latin America, Middle East, as well as the names of administrators for different countries (24). The title of the section “L’Internationale Super 8: un movement planétaire” (Super 8’s Internationalism: a Planetary Movement) underscores the organization’s internationalism, by relating it to a planet. For the writers of the dossier the salient feature of the organization is its global reach, a view that is consistent with people who participated in the movement such as Toni Thready (Foreign Correspondence (1986). For 1983 standards, this was “Veritable ‘Internationalism du Super 8’” true internationalism (24), as European international festival did not have many entries beyond European or North American countries. There are however certain irregularities in the count of countries that belong to the Federation. In the front page of the dossier Malengreau counts thirty seven countries (1), in the section on the Federation’s history the number has increased to forty (24).
The festival organized retrospectives from Venezuela, Lebanon, Puerto Rico Algiers, Libanon, England and Germany. The guest’s list at the Brussel’s 1983 festival shows the movement’s reach. The ten year celebration gathered international guests who had played significant roles in Super 8 history. Among these are: Iranian Bassir Nassibi, founding member of the Federation (Nov. 10th: 1); Algerian filmmaker Ahmed Zir (13, Nov. 13th:1); Tunisian filmmaker Ridha Ben Halima (Nov. 12th:1); Egyptian Ahmed Anwar Ismail (Nov. 11th:3); Venezuelans Carlos Castillo (16, Nov. 12th:1, Nov. 12th:3), Juan Loyola (6, Nov. 10th: 1, Nov. 13th:1), Hugo Márquez (11) and Atahualpa Lichy (Nov. 11th:2, Nov. 12th:1); Afgan born French based Laelah Wali, who sent Super 8 camera to Afghan resistant groups to gather footage for her film (23); Libanese Jamel Farhat (Nov. 13th:1, 15); Brasilian Abrao Berman, director of Super 8 Action Brasil and organizer of the Sao Paulo Super 8 festival (Nov. 10th: 1, Nov. 12th:1); Portuguese director Joao Paolo Ferreira, who was part of the 1983 jury (13, Nov. 11th:2, Nov. 12th:4, 19); British Lewis Cooper, known for his animation (16); Puerto Rican filmmaker Poli Marichal, member of the collective Cine la Red and jury member (Nov. 10th: 1, Nov. 12th:4, 15); U.S. Michael Hinton, known for blowing-up Super 8 to 35mm (3); Toni Treadway and Bob Brodsky, known for their transfers to video (Nov. 10th: 2, 26); performance artist and director Sue Berkey, also from the U.S. (Nov. 10th: 2, Nov. 12th:1); British Sheila Hill, organizer of the Toronto Super 8 film festival (Nov. 11th:1) who came to talk about computer generated animation (19); Frenchs Marc Pierret (Nov. 11th:4), Joseph Morder (Nov. 11th:1, Nov. 12th:3), and France Marie-Guede and Laurent Huet, representatives from Audiopradif (Nov. 10th: 2); Germans Reinhart Wolf, president of the KOB 8 (Nov. 12th:1) and Andrea Hilen, ; Canadians Richard Clarck, General Secretary of the Federation (Nov. 12th:3), Armand Ventre, who documented a trip around the world in Super 8 (Nov. 12th:3) and Jean Hamel filmmaker and director of Quebec’s festival and jury member (Nov. 12th:4); Austrialian Marc Titmarch, director and jury member (Nov. 12th:2, Nov. 12th:4); Belgians Marcel Croes, founding member of the Federation (Nov. 10th: 1)and Rober Malengreau organizers of the Brussel’s festival (Nov. 10th: 1).
Celebrations included performance art well into the night. Castillo two performances “L’oiseau baigneur” (The Bathing Bird) and “Tout un portrait á cause d’un poignard” (Portrait caused by knife) started at midnight (Nov. 12th:3). There was also a Latin American (18) and an Arabian night celebration (18).
At this celebration, that gathered participants from all countries and all times and was meant to bring Super 8 rich history into the future there is already a sense that the end of the movement is coming. For example, the columnist of “Super 8 pas mort” affirms that Super 8 is not dead (19). In 1983, Super 8 filmmakers and sympathizers feared that new technology (video) could supersede Super 8. Some were for the change Berman (Nov. 12th:1) others against it (Nassibi Nov. 12th:2). The end of the movement will come towards the end of the 1980s, when Kodak stoped production of Super 8 film stock (different dates in different countries).
Pour le Cinema Belge, "La Galaxie Super 8" (1983). Super 8 Publications. 1.