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June 22, 2006

Become a friend of Home Movie Day on MySpace.

June 21, 2006

With the unprecedented destruction of homes during and following Hurricane Katrina last year, so too were the home movies of the Gulf Coast lost and damaged. Nearly a year later it is time to assess the films still remaining in the city and region. The first ever Home Movie Day--New Orleans will include several special events celebrating the heritage and rebirth of the city.

March 28, 2006

Indian-English family’s Super-8 films convey 40 years of personal and cultural history

The Center for Home Movies is proud to partner with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles to present I for India, a compelling new documentary that incorporates decades’ worth of amateur films in the telling of a larger story about social identity, family, and the definition of home.

In 1965, Yash Pal Suri left India for the U.K. Among his first purchases in England were two sets of Super-8 cameras, projectors, and reel-to-reel tape recorders. With one set of equipment in England and one in India, Suri and his family members maintained contact and shared the details of their lives over the years. From England, Suri sent images of snow and miniskirted ladies, supermarkets and streets; from India, Suri’s children saw and heard “cine-letters” about weddings, festivals and village life. A bittersweet time capsule of alienation, discovery, racism, and belonging, I for India is a chronicle of immigration in sixties Britain and beyond, seen through the eyes of one Asian family and their movie camera.

Showtime: 6:30 pm, Saturday, April 22, at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. Tickets for IFFLA will go on sale this Friday, March 24 at ArcLight Hollywood’s box office, located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood , and online at Ticket prices are $11 for general admission and $9 for discounted admissions (students, seniors, and AFI and ArcLight members).

The Center for Home Movies (CHM) is committed to promoting the ongoing documentation of people and cultures through moving images, and encouraging the use of home movies in multidisciplinary research and study. For more information about CHM and our activities, including the fourth annual International Home Movie Day events coming up on August 12, 2006, please email or visit

The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization devoted to paving the way for a greater appreciation of India's cinema and diverse culture by providing the public with a selection of films from and about India by Indian and International filmmakers. For more information, see

(download press release doc, 97K)

March 13, 2006


The contest is open to all artists. All entries must be received by Monday, April 3, 2006.

• The design must be easily translated to a variety of print materials such as postcards, t-shirts and flyers.
• The artwork should incorporate the phrase "Home Movie Day."
• Design should include only original art or public domain imagery.
• Include your name, address, email and phone number along with each submission.
• There is no limit to the number of entries submitted.
• Entries will be evaluated based on appeal, content and marketability. The decision of the judges is final.
• Entries become the property of the Center for Home Movies.
• For judging purposes, send JPG images, 400 pixels on long side. Images should be designed to fit on a 4.25"x6" postcard. Winners will be asked to provide Photoshop images for postcard and Cafe Press products.

The winning designer will receive a selection of Home Movie Day merchandise and your design will be used on postcards, t-shirts, and flyers at Home Movie Day events around the world.

For past Home Movie Day images see

For more information about Home Movie Day see

Send submissions to:

Report: Home Movie Day 2005
Dwight Swanson, Center for Home Movies

The third time’s the charm, as the saying goes, and the third annual International Home Movie Day brought out many charming films as well as charming archivists, and attracted filmmakers and audience members at screenings around the globe. HMD05 saw some cities host their first event while others, such as San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Durham,Baltimore, and Portland, Maine, hosted their third consecutive year. The one thing that Home Movie Day rookies and veterans alike have learned is that because of the opening screening format, no matter how much planning and preparation beforehand, the spirit of each event depends almost entirely on the films that come through the door. By now it’s become a Home Movie Day tradition-greeting families at the check-in table as they bring in a paper bag or cardboard box full of 16mm, 8mm, super 8 or 9.5mm films they haven’t seen in decades, with images of themselves in much younger days and friends and family members who have long since passed away. For one day every year the rhetoric of the field of film preservation becomes excitingly alive as crowds gather to chat about what they are watching on the screens in front of them.

In addition to the open screenings, this year witnessed several new and creative approaches to Home Movie Day. In Iowa City, Aaron Valdez brought HMD to the airwaves by showing local home movies on the city’s public access TV station. Houston’s Home Movie Day culminated an entire month of amateur and orphan film events at the Aurora Picture Show. First time organizer Phil Nohl followed his Sheboygan, Wisconsin event with an impromptu outdoor screening of a local film at nearby Kiel, Wisconsin’s Founders Day Fair. The film, which had been shot in the exact same park in Kiel 66 years earlier, was shown five times in succession to great acclaim by the audience members. Perhaps the most popular event nationwide, though, was “Home Movie Bingo,” a game invented by Raleigh’s own A/V Geek Skip Elsheimer. Audience members kept their eyes peeled for images of “Beehive Hairdos,” “Chasing a Pet” or “Filming out of focus” onscreen as they frantically tried to fill their Bingo cards and win valuable prizes.

2005 also saw unprecedented levels of participation by AMIA members. Along with the usual smattering of AMIA member-run events, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s Linwood Dunn Theatre, UCLA MIAS students volunteered their help with a screening that included films brought in by AMIA veterans Fritz Herzog, Randy Gitsch and Janice Simpson. Likewise, the Anthology Film Archives’ New York City event was run with considerable assistance from NYU film preservation students, as was the screening in Whitesburg, Kentucky [pop. 1,500].

Just as home movies themselves are an international phenomenon, so too is Home Movie Day continuing to branch out across the continents including, this year, South America and Australia. Japan’s Film Preservation Society hosted popular events in Nagoya, Yamanakako and Tokyo, while at the Middlesbrough, England screening, Dr. Leo Enticknap uncovered a reel of 9.5mm Dufaycolor from 1936 that depicted images of Methelsbury, a village that was flooded when a reservoir was created in its former location. In Tuscany, Italy, Home Movie Day was hosted by the Associazione Home Movies - Archivio filmico della memoria familiare, an emerging and innovative organization devoted to collecting and preserving Italian home movies.

Home Movie Day events were held in a variety of venues from the staid to the funky, including archives, theaters, clubs and one seniors’ center. In Pittsburgh, Greg Pierce continued his tradition of holding a Home Movie Day “potluck” in his own backyard. Despite the diversity of the events, though, in each case the focus-this year as in the past-was on celebrating home movies and amateur filmmaking, while also educating the public about how to best preserve their films and introducing them to archivists and archival institutions in their regions. HMD local representatives have become unusually media-savvy in promoting their events and spreading the word about not only Home Movie Day but film preservation in general. A prominent article in the Washington Post led to overflow crowds in D.C., and Katie Trainor did a full half-hour interview for ABC News Now, ABC’s online news service. One of the best soundbites came from James Parrish in his interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, who defended the screening of “antiquated” films in the digital age and concisely summed up one of the main missions of Home Movie Day: “We’re not anti-video,” he said, “we’re just pro-preservation.”

HMD05: “Extraordinary Screenings of Ordinary Life”
Candace Lewis, Program Coordinator, UCLA Moving Image Archive Studies
I admit, first, that I schedule precious little in my calendar cramped with over-extended commitments unless there's a measurable return on my time and energy investment. Wondering how I became so gloriously stressed with modern life, I reflect on a simple yet lasting return had from volunteering at the Los Angeles' Home Movie Day (HMD) event this year.

If it doesn't go without saying, then let me say it: "HMD volunteering evokes all the chock-full-of-goodness moments that inspire people to volunteer for any cause". Among volunteers and participants, HMD evokes camaraderie; inspires meaningful conversation; provides spontaneous moments of humor and connection between folks hitherto strangers; employs known skills and develops new ones; illuminates direction for up-n-comers' career aspirations; and provides purpose to hardened veterans' treadmill of work-a-day-life in the moving-image-archive profession. And of course, like any volunteer effort, it impressed my mother and strengthened my resume-returns on investment that go without saying because my mother is, after all, biased.

Beyond such standard incentives, HMD was also a rare opportunity for me to link personal passion to a need in the community. An advocate of social documentation and personal storytelling, I basked in the charming glory of participants' memories as they spontaneously responded to the stars of their personal lives-Mom, Dad, aunt, uncle, long-departed pets-revisited and renewed on a big screen. Even if participants screened their material prior to HMD, their rehearsal couldn't prepare them for the surreal experience of watching their past (or characters from it) on a "big screen" unlike any living-room-wall-devoid-of-decoration or any clunky screen ceremoniously unraveled to accommodate home-movie screenings.

But what "community need" could be fulfilled by the rosy, Pollyanna glow of my passions for storytelling and cultural documentation? The need to assure folks that their history-images of "average" and "normal" folks captured by an amateur cinematographer's lens-is priceless. The act of confirming that their films represent irreplaceable 20th Century historical documents that capture family rituals and quotidian life as well as social custom and styles. For me, my volunteering fulfilled the need to inform members of our media-saturated culture that the media emanating from their own lives-pictures, films, stories told and written-are worth preserving.

Whether acting as a projectionist, a film-prep tech, a note-taker, a runner between the prep and projection areas, or a sign-in and information table receptionist, every HMD volunteers is availed at least one momentary opportunity to communicate through words or deeds why amateur films are worth preserving. As such, we contribute not only our skills, but also our own personal spin on the value of home movies and amateur film.

In my rush-a-day/rush-a-year clip of life, a final, simple impetus for HMD volunteering only revealed itself after I forced myself to slow down, sit back, and watch the languid, unedited, unrehearsed flow of life from earlier times unfettered by modern conveniences. I didn't expect it, but my HMD volunteer commitment brought me closer to an antidote for cramped calendars and over-extended commitments-seeing evidence of the nostalgic "good old days" and slowing my own self down to their pace and aura. Above all other reasons to volunteer, this purely hedonistic one will be the most lasting for me.

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