Testing Out Local Film, the Cira 800

Testing Out Local Film, the Cira 800

discovering local made film rolls feels equally the same like discovering hidden gems, although I never found actual gems myself but we all get the gist of it, don't we. the thing with analog is how experimentation with various film rolls gives you this boost of adrenaline on how the pictures will turn out. as someone who just recently got back to playing analog (in which I stopped in 2013 because I couldn't find where to develop my negatives), experimenting with every film roll I could get my hands on is the main priority. of course, the more professional lineup like kodak portra and fuji pro aren't cheap; the higher their ISO, the more expensive they get. that's just the basic rule for film rolls. most people usually start with the more affordable series such as kodak colorplus, kodak gold, kodak ultramax and fujicolor c200 and while I love them for random photo days, having a higher ISO film is really handy for someone who pretty much stays indoor 90% of the time.

when it comes to high ISO films, fancy names like cinestill, fujifilm natura, ilford delta and kodak portra ring some bells. there's no doubt these film rolls are highly recommended by most sites out there but here's the downside: they are both expensive and hard to get. I barely see any fujifilm natura 1600 nowadays that I don't even know if they're still in production. so naturally, I couldn't get any of them due to budget and accessibility. fortunately while I was searching for high ISO films, I randomly came across Cirafilm 800 on Instagram. it's a local Indonesian film as a collaboration between morning giant and tempo dulu inc, both who are local analog stores selling secondhand film cameras.

considered by some local enthusiasts as a cheaper dupe to cinestill 800T and like its luxurious counterpart, the cirafilm is also a motion or cinema film stock that has been modified accordingly to work as photographic film. while motion films are supposedly developed using the Eastman colour negative (ECN-2) process, modifying them allows us to process them using our standard C-41. also, developing rolls with ECN-2 processing might cost you more than the standard C-41 rolls. it can also take up to a week or two depending on the lab itself. for better explanation with technical aspects, check this video out.

now I'll be honest here. I've never tried shooting with cinema film stocks. I honestly didn't know what to expect. judging from the results I've seen floating around Instagram, cirafilm has a blue-greenish, borderline Japanese colour tone results. as a fan of Japanese colour tone, obviously I was excited to get this roll developed. I went ham the moment I loaded it into my pentax zoom 90 and believe it or not, finished the roll in less than a two weeks.


Film: Cirafilm
ISO: available in 200 and 800 (the one I used was ISO 800)
Format: 35mm
Developer: C-41
Exposures: 36
Made in: Indonesia
Availability: ★★☆☆☆ (only in Indonesia but ships worldwide)

when it comes to film photography, one has to ask whether or not they love grains. grains can make or crush your aesthetic and with high ISO films like this, grains are inevitable. I purposely tested this film stock in low light conditions too just to see how well it performed. as you can see, grains are heavy albeit not as rough. but of course, don't take my novice word for it. I can't conclude whether or not I love such grains on my pictures since I haven't tried a lot of high iso films in the past but colour-wise, I quite like the blues and greens.

the above photos were taken around 7 pm from when I met with the boyfriend to after work. we went to Little Tokyo, a district in the south filled with Japanese pubs and restaurants and hotels. obviously this place is also filled with Japanese office men drinking beer and eating grilled skewers and watch Japanese tv stations with their friends. aside from my photo hunt, Little Tokyo is actually a fun place to be at night. fun fact, all the waiters in the izakayas know how to speak Japanese and most izakayas are also owned by actual Japanese.

when it comes to popular films like kodak portra or fujifilm superia, it's easy to conclude whether you like them or not. for films like this, however, I can't really say. as you can see, my photos turn out really grainy with strong blue-green highlights that give off this really hazy, kind of lomographic effect. this is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I personally would only use this stock again if I ever want to achieve that very specific result. it's definitely not a flexible film stock because no matter if it's daylight or low light situations, indoor or outdoor, the results will always have that intense blue-greens. I will definitely buy another roll or two and try to use it outdoor in broad daylight just to see how it's going to perform. I might also try the lower ISO versions because I think I'm someone who prefers shooting with ISO 400 at max.

that aside, I can't wait to discover more local made film stocks and will happily support them. long live the film community for keeping film alive. #staybrokeshootfilm