Nobody really wants to see my dumb old home movies, do they?
Sure they do, otherwise Home Movie Day wouldn’t be happening. Lots of people are interested in home movies—of completely normal people, doing completely normal things—for lots of really good reasons. Home movies from just a few years ago show a world that looks pretty different from the one we live in now: kids rode their bikes without helmets on; men wore hats and spats, and women wore gloves and girdles; public beaches and facilities in the South were segregated—these are just a few examples! Seeing this world in home movies is useful for historians, writers, documentary filmmakers, costume designers, and even the ordinary people who live in those same (but somehow different) places today. If your home movies depict the everyday life of people of color, the differently abled, or others who continue to be under-represented in commercial films and on TV, we think it is especially important that they be shown.
Also, you may be surprised to find that your “dumb old home movies” aren’t like you remember them at all—they might have pictures of family members, friends, or places you haven’t seen or thought about in a long time. We think they’re definitely worth a look!
What kind of movies will be shown? Is it OK to bring my kids/parents/grandparents to this event?
Home Movie Day is a family and community event, and we encourage families to come and watch their films together. We have never yet had a problem with explicit material being shown to mixed audiences at Home Movie Day. However, most HMD events are BYOF (bring-your-own-film) open screenings, and many people will bring films they have never seen themselves. For this reason, the organizers of HMD events cannot predict in advance what will be shown, nor can we absolutely guarantee that all material shown will be appropriate for young children or sensitive viewers. If this is a concern for you, please consider taking an aisle seat so you can leave the room quietly if something icky shows up onscreen.
What should I expect when I go to a Home Movie Day event?
Check your local venue listing for times and locations. Most HMD events are free and open to the public. Most will also offer a BYOF open screening, in which participants can bring in one or more reels of film from their own family collections, have them inspected, and (if they’re in good condition) see them projected on a screen. Some local venues may accept submissions of films in the weeks leading up to Home Movie Day and prepare them in advance so they can begin screening films right away on the morning of the event; again, see the local event listings for details. In most cases, though, the screenings will be first-come, first-shown, and coordinators may need to enforce a one-reel-per-person/family limit if there’s a big crowd.
The closest Home Movie Day event is still too far away from me. How can I get a Home Movie Day event started in my town, county, or state?
Start by contacting your local historical society, public library, university special collections department, or other cultural heritage institutions and asking them if they know about Home Movie Day. Let them know about our web site and ask them to consider hosting an event next year—Home Movie Day is held on the second Saturday in August annually. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know there’s public interest in your area—our organizers can add your town to the list of sites where we’d like to start a Home Movie Day in the future, and we’ll try to recruit local archivists and film lovers to get it off the ground.