In recent years Home Movie Day has become one of the most widespread and diverse annual events showcasing amateur film, reaching 100 venues worldwide. In 2007, the DVD Living Room Cinema, Films from Home Movie Day, Vol. I, gathered together 22 of the more remarkable films shown in the first few years of the event, but production costs and declining popular interest in the DVD format have discouraged further DVD volumes. Instead, we are happy to present this online sequel, Home Grown Movies.
Every year, Home Movie Day hosts are asked to send in a report about their event. Along with statistics about the number of films screened and the size of the audience, they are asked to “describe films screened, making note of any exceptional film, as well as any films with unusual stories or strong audience reactions.” These reports can be tantalizing, and agonizing, because after the screenings these films typically disappear right back into the closets and drawers they came from. Many remarkable films gain a sort of virtual celebrity as hosts and attendees describe and refer to them for years afterwards, always implying “You should have been there.”
Home Grown Movies, then, will be an attempt to let you “be there” for some terrific home movies you’d never get to see otherwise. While not intended as a “Best Of” Home Movie Day, this ongoing compilation will offer a representative sampling of engaging amateur filmmaking uncovered in these open, public events around the world. Some will be presented as direct digital versions of the originals, while others will have new commentaries recorded by filmmakers or new scores composed by musicians. Most films will also be accompanied by short essays written by the film owners, film archivists, or film historians.
Free from the constraints of DVD production, we will frequently add new movies and special features, so we hope you will come back often and enjoy home movies for much more than one Home Movie Day a year.
The Center for Home Movies would like to thank Movette Film Transfer of San Francisco for their sponsorship of this project and their generation donation of high resolution scans for many of the films included.