Dave Bias and the FILM Ferrania Story - Part 1 (222)

To call Dave Bias a creative is too limiting. He is a story teller, a entrepreneur, a photographer, a graphic designer, and much more – a 21st century polymath. Dave's journey begins in a small West Virginia town as vinyl record shop owner. A love of folding cameras (such as the pre-World War II Voigtländer Bessa) and a chance encounter with a rented Hasselblad leads Dave into the world of photography. When Polaroid stopped making instant film, Dave took on what to some may have seemed to be a quixotic quest to save Polaroid. That led to his work with Impossible Project. And from there, Dave moved on to FILM Ferrania.

Ferrania was founded in 1917 and later started manufacturing photographic and motion picture film. In 1964 they were bought by 3M and became primarily a white label film manufacturer. The near death of film photography due to the dramatic advancement of digital cameras led to Ferrania ceasing film manufacturing and finally shuttered their plant doors in 2010.

Curiously, the pulse of the apparent corpse of film photography indicated a faint heart beat that began to grow stronger and stronger. A small but passionate group of artists and photographers from around the world clamored for something more tangible and beautiful – something that only film could provide. Film was not dead!

Nicola Baldini and Marco Pagni teamed together to bring back to life Ferrania as FILM Ferrania to bring back film. They ran a successful kickstarted that ended October 2014 with 5582 backers raising $322,420.

So where does Dave Bias fit in the FILM Ferrania story? He is now spearheading the marketing and sales of FILM Ferrania film in the United States. Dave wants to ensure that the FILM Ferrania makes analog film for the next 100 years and beyond. When pre-ordering opened for the first alpha batch of P30, the servers crashed and burned. When their e-commerce store came back online, P30 sold out almost immediately. That’s truly a good problem to have!

It’s a big story that one episode cannot comfortably contain so I’ve created two episodes to tell their story. Part 1 fittingly begins with the story of Dave Bias.

In this episode:

  • Dave Bias' record shop in West Virginia
  • Dave's love of vintage folding cameras
  • Dave's "sideways" entry into photography
  • The Polaroid SX-70's extraordinary design
  • Why people are drawn to analog film
  • How the higher cost of film makes you a better editor
  • The short-sighted discontinuation of Polaroid instant film
  • How Dave's attempt to save Polaroid led to his involvement with Impossible Project
  • There is a market for film in the 21st century
  • Scale of manufacturing for film today
  • Ferrania the Kodak of Italy

Images courtesy of Dave Bias.


FILM Ferrania

Dave Bias

Impossible Project


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