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Meanwhile, in Italy...

Bill DiPietra

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It's so cool these guys are putting in the effort. I really hope when things are running, they can find some return on their investment. Been following their story ever since the online fundraiser.


Setbacks like this are totally normal and should be expected. The steam power thing, that's just crazy to me!

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Setbacks like this are totally normal and should be expected. The steam power thing, that's just crazy to me!


...if it ain't broke, I guess.


I used to work for a print shop that was originally founded in the 1800s. The equipment ran off of a common belt-drive system. Each device (printers, terrifying paper cutters, etc) had a belt going up to a spinning shaft that ran the length of the shop. That shaft was always spinning. You engaged a gigantic clutch lever to turn on the thing you were working with, then disengaged it to shut that machine down. No safety measures, either.


At some point in the 1950s, they disconnected the paddle wheel down at the river that spun the main drive shaft, and connected an electric motor to it, inside the building. It was still running when I worked there in the 1980s, and those printers and paper cutters were better than the modern ones they had!



Edited by Perry Paolantonio
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  • 2 months later...
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They've still got a long road ahead of them. It's really too bad they've hit so many road blocks, I just hope they can recoup and turn out a good product! :)


True, but it seems like things have started to turn around for them. I can wait for my stock.

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If someone is wondering about the certification process they need to go through...


FILM Ferrania writes on APUG: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum390/144666-hello-apug-film-ferrania-part-2-a-3.html



What needs to be accredited by the government is the overall system of building "services" - this includes water, electrical power, HVAC via the Chillers, disposal systems (sewer, drainage, reclamation systems) and everything else that makes the building operate. Since the government owns the building, it's their job to install all of this stuff (part of the nearly €2M they've put into the LRF) - and rather than deal with lawsuits for stuff that doesn't work properly, they also have to put everything "through the ringer," so to speak.

The founders told me recently that this involves firing up the entire building, and running all of the equipment at full blast, 24 hours a day, for one solid week. I imagine that they also turn on all the lights, open all the faucets, flush all of the toilets, set off the fire extinguishers, buzz all of the buzzers, raise and lower the outer doors, etc. Total pandemonium for 7 days.

It's a stress test, basically... If nothing breaks, or springs a leak, or blows a breaker, or causes other issues that could affect the viability of the facility - then we pass the test and the LRF is officially accredited to begin operations.

All of this is due to the new machinery and services that have been installed. Back in the spring, when we were just planning to use the already installed and accredited machines to make a small batch of film, this wasn't an issue. We would have eventually gone through the process, but we had carefully planned new equipment installations to avoid interfering with production.

When the asbestos was found (clearly something that should have been discovered before we ever took up residence in the building), our carefully balanced schedule was tossed out the window. Now we have tons (literally) of new equipment and we have been working all summer toward the point when the new accreditation could happen all at once - and thus, hopefully, more quickly.

At this point, we are extremely confident that everything on OUR side of the equation is ready to go and will perform flawlessly. In fact, we were recently visited by a film industry executive who proclaimed the plant to be in "mint condition" - which pleased our team quite thoroughly.

The big IF in our current situation is the government. They hire the contractors - a process that involves taking 5 bids, winnowing the selection, deliberating, and awarding the individual job. Many different contractors have already been through the building and many more will come in the next few weeks. None of them have any clear idea of the complete picture, they're just hired for their specific expertise - plumbing, electrical, etc. I'm told that Marco has been forced to function as the on-site general contractor - the one who must oversee each crew to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal.

All of this has been stressful on our founders and team, to say the least. Frustrating, more than anything, because we know that we could have done the same work in a fraction of the time.

But that would have required owning the building outright and assuming responsibility for all the costs to upgrade it. This means we would have had to raise at least €5M three years ago, which simply wasn't possible. Besides - who, in their right mind, would fork over €5M+ for an old R&D building - and to make FILM of all things? (Actually, If anyone knows of such a person, we would most certainly like to be introduced!!)

So if it was between the government paying to get the LRF in order, and FILM Ferrania paying for all of it (plus buying the building), it was obviously better for us financially to deal with the inevitable delays of having the government involved. And actually, I don't think the building was for sale in the traditional sense...

As it stands, the founders have been able to focus their investment on restoration, hiring the team, and buying all of the additional equipment (assisted by the money we raised on Kickstarter). We have not yet taken a single euro from outside investors.

As you can see, it's all very complicated. Plus, I am glossing over 99% of the details in order to keep this post as short as it is - and it's already too long...

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