Film News: FuguFilm 400 Official Announcement

It really has been a bit of a week for film photography. First Kodak announced Gold 200 in 120. Then Cinestill blew us away with 400D. Can the film world be any more hopeful? Well, we think so.

Since 2019, Horatio Tan at Street Silhouettes and I have been working together to bring to reality a new ISO 400 positive film and we feel there is no time like the present to let people know what we have been doing.

We know what you’re thinking. How is that possible? Still pinching yourself? Well, it’s true, we have been biting our tongues for three years on this (which has not been easy). We went through many test versions trying to get the right balance, the right saturation and the right ISO. Many of the chemicals that were used in the earlier slide films are simply banned by many regions, so changes have had to be made to adapt to a different supply chain and environment.

This, of course, presented serious challenges to the project. We had to try many different approaches and we went though many test versions of the film.  You can actually see some of the earlier iterations of the film (albeit heavily edited by Horatio) on his blog. Follow the links below.

JCH Tokyo

JCH Tokyo

JCH Tokyo

The timeline

So, why are we coming forward now with this announcement? Well, Horatio is an idiosyncratic person. He thought that good news should come in threes, and that the previous two announcements were auspicious – seriously. Besides which, the film is nearing its last test iteration and will be ready for sale (barring any more worldwide shutdowns) in the near future. This isn’t something that might be happening, it is happening, and soon.

The backstory

The film that we are making will be called FuguFilm. Why Fugu? Well, it started as a joke. A discussion of gaijin in Japan led to Homer Simpson eating Fugu. At the moment, we just thought it apt to call it FuguFilm, because we wanted it to be fun. But, like the fugu fish, we are deadly serious about this. Below are the mock ups for FuguFilm.
Design by: Michael Nguyen
FuguFilm 400 is, we believe, the first completely new reversal film emulsion in nearly two decades. The film has been conceived and made completely from scratch, and has taken a great deal of time to reach a level we are happy with. And this was certainly hampered by Covid, which ended our plans for a release in late 2020, and mid 2021.
Did we mention that there will be no crowd funding for Fugu Film?
The development of our film is all out of pocket. It was an expensive direction to take – especially since it is the first new colour positive film since Fuji Fortia (as far as we are aware). It has cost us more than just (an awful lot of) money too, it has taken time, many headaches, frustrations and almost laughable misfortune in timing, but that is the nature of the beast and we are finally in a position to say we are happy with the results. We also wanted to show that we are seriously committed to this and are not looking have the community finance this venture.
Let us be clear, this is not an old storage roll pulled from the fabled Fuji freezer, or expired film, this is a completely new emulsion from the ground up and it has taken a huge amount of work and money to get it to this stage already.

Why a slide film?

Horatio and I decided that we wanted to make a slide film, since we believe better results are easier to get when digitising colour positive film than digitising colour negative film. You only need a digital camera to digitise film. With colour negatives, you need a scanner (made to digitise positives) and a method of inverting the colour to convert the negative to a positive. It’s one less step and also does away with the explicit need for dedicated software to perform the inversion.

FuguFilm is a labour of love and passion for film photography. From a financial perspective, it is a lousy investment (which is why there isn’t more deep-pocketed people making new film). You can make much more money by just investing in private equity. But as people who truly believe in film, we believe we have a duty to do this to help secure the future of film photography.

Added to this, there is a complete lack of high speed slide films since Fuji cut the Provia 400x line in 2013. So it seems like a natural place to start for FuguFilm. You can expect more from us in the future.

FuguFilm will be ready when it is ready but it will be this year and will be sold at a price that is competitive and available in all major retailers. We don’t have a data sheet yet, as we are still in the final stages of Beta testing and the final analysis is not complete. As more information becomes available there will be updates on FuguFilm’s social media.




Thank you to everyone for your support and feedback so far, the response has been amazing. We hope to have more good news for you in the near future.

JCH & Horatio