The L.R.F. was built in the 60s, upgraded in the 80s, closed in 2006 and has been empty since. We knew there would be problems, and, in fact, most of the issues that affect the long-term viability of the building and equipment have been addressed over the last year.
But there are certain issues that arise when you actually begin ramping up to production.
Our team met last week to go over the hundreds of small issues we have experienced in the past few months, and to figure out how they impact our delivery targets. When we first mapped out our production schedule back in September, we made sure to pad our estimates - assuming that surprises would happen.
Also since September, we have discovered some time savings in the final logistics stages. We have already spoken to the partners who will do final finishing (cutting and spooling), printing, packaging and shipment of the rewards. We had originally allocated months for this and we now know the time is in weeks.
But 2015 has been difficult for us so far, with a number of issues resulting in delays that have gradually eaten away at our buffers in the same way the “rubber-banding” effect causes traffic jams on the highway (as illustrated here in this great clip from the cult film Koyaanisqatsi).
Italy has experienced one of the wettest, coldest and most devastating winters on record. Inside the LRF, we were forced to use portable heaters in an attempt to keep the temperatures above freezing. The roof developed leaks due to the weight of the snow. This made wet work (like cleaning the coater by hand) extremely difficult and at times dangerous, and we had to wrap the machines in plastic to keep them dry. The freezing and thawing has wreaked havoc in the many miles of pipes running through our building, with all manner of leaks and cracks. We had pipes burst in the basement, causing a small flood. All of these things took days out of our schedule.
As we we mention, the L.R.F. is an old building that is undergoing a number of upgrades in areas that we do not currently use, but will need in the future. We have knocked down walls to prepare for machinery and in the process, we discovered dreaded asbestos insulation on some of the water pipes on the ground floor of the building. More on this below.
When one of the adjacent buildings on the Ferrania campus was being demolished a piece of heavy machinery rolled over a special pipe that delivers demineralized water to our building. The pipe cracked and created another small flood and led to much haggling over who needed to fix the problem. As outlined in our previous update, everything used in the creation of film must be purified and free of any contaminants. This single cracked pipe halted production for a more than a week while the pipe was replaced and properly sanitized.
These are just three examples among many - and each of them were impossible to foresee.
As frustrating - and often very trivial - as these issues have been, addressing them now ensures a better production facility in the future. And looking at our project as a whole, a delay of just a few weeks seems a small price to pay.
And Then, Nicola Sent an Email
“Hello, sorry but today has been a heavy day in Ferrania. I had to manage the asbestos issue that has not only not yet been solved, but is quite possibly worse than before. During the removal process in the Precision Coater room, an asbestos leak occurred because the pipes are longer than expected and they go deeper into walls. The entire first floor of LRF has been sealed to prevent more contamination. This is a normal procedure to prevent hazardous work conditions. The decontamination company is already at work, but we will not know until next Tuesday if we can start to work again immediately or we must wait for some additional interventions.”
For our amazing and faithful Kickstarter backers, the delivery of the first batch has been delayed by 4-6 weeks. For all of you out there waiting to purchase film, our current plan is to launch the same 35mm, 120, Super 8 and 16mm 100 ASA color reversal products - in limited quantities - here in our shop within 3-5 weeks after our Kickstarter fulfillment is complete.
The Updated Timeline
We will continue to look for ways to win back this lost time, but with our eyes on the long-term success of FILM Ferrania, we also cannot push our team excessively and risk future problems that will be much harder to address during normal production.