Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home Movie Day

This year was the 3rd Home Movie Day in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.  Having been a part of the U-C community for the past 3 years, I have volunteered or participated in Home Movie Day in the past. 

Home Movie Day is an opportunity for the general public to view their 16mm, 8mm and Super8 film as well as a time when they can get advice on how to safeguard these valuable pieces of history.  Film preservation experts and archivists are on hand to inspect the films and offer suggestions for care so that these personal memories will be viewable for a very long time.  They also offer information about locations to transfer the film to digital or video copies.  Patrons have opportunities to donate their films to community archives - enriching the ephemera collection and helping to create a database of image and information about what "life was like".

Every year, it is a joy to watch other people's birthdays and Christmas celebrations from the past 100 years.   I've often found myself crying over other people's memories.  I once saw an elderly couple crying and holding each other as their movies played.  It was truly special for them to view their memories again and I felt honored to be allowed to be witness to that part of their history as well.

This year marked the first time that a Kids event was held in conjunction with Home Movie Day in U-C.  The organizers of Home Movie Day in U-C invited me to teach children how to draw directly onto 16mm clear film stock and to help the children create their own animations.  It was so much fun helping the kids to understand the way that multiple single images become apparent motion when they are projected. 

Every hour, we projected the animations that had been completed so far.  The children loved watching their work projected and applauded themselves and one another at the end of each reel.  The finished reel of all of the children's animations was donated to the Champaign County Archives.  

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