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What Is Home Movie Day?
Home Movie Day is a celebration of amateur films and filmmaking held annually at many local venues worldwide, allowing individuals and families to see and share their own home movies in an open screening with an audience of their community. Most Home Movie Day events are free and open to the public, and offer expert evaluation of films brought in by participants, along with tips for their care. If you have home movies on film that you’ve never seen, or haven’t watched since you inherited them from your grandparents–don’t let your films decay! Take them to Home Movie Day! And if you don’t have home movies of your own, come enjoy the images that others bring. Visit our FAQ page for more information on what to expect at HMD.
Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. They knew many people have boxes full of family memories that they’ve never seen for lack of a projector, or out of fear that the films were too fragile to be viewed. They also knew that many people were having their amateur films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the mistaken idea that their new digital copies would last forever and the “obsolete” films could be discarded. Original films and the equipment required to view them, if cared for properly, can outlast versions on videotape, DVD, or file-based digital media. Not only that, but contrary to the stereotype of the faded, scratched, and shaky home movie image, the original films are often carefully shot in beautiful, vibrant color—which may not be captured fully in a consumer video or digital transfer. And while the tools for digitization and personal digital archiving have greatly improved in the last twenty years, there’s still magic in watching films to the sound of a whirring projector in a dark room with other people.
The first official Home Movie Day took place on August 16, 2003, and has been followed each year with successful events hosted by an increasing number of volunteers. Home Movie Day has grown into a worldwide celebration of not only amateur film, but also home movies on analog or digital videotape as well as newer forms of personal documentary and expressive media. Because they are local events, HMD screenings focus on community and personal histories in a meaningful way. Community organizations and culture bearers can share vital context about heritage records with local archivists, who in turn can empower attendees with knowledge about the care, storage, and digitization of their own moving image media.
What People Say About Home Movie Day
“Saving our film heritage should not be limited only to commercially produced films. Home movies do not just capture the important private moments of our family’s lives, but they are historical and cultural documents as well. Consider Abraham Zapruder’s 8mm film that recorded the assassination of President Kennedy or Nickolas Muray’s famously vibrant color footage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shot with his 16mm camera. Imagine how different our view of history would be without these precious films. Home Movie Day is a celebration of these films and the people who shot them. I urge anyone with an interest in learning more about how to care for and preserve their own personal memories to join in the festivities being offered in their community…”— Martin Scorsese
“There’s no such thing as a bad home movie. These mini-underground opuses are revealing, scary, joyous, always flawed, filled with accidental art and shout out from attics and closets all over the world to be seen again. Home Movie Day is an orgy of self-discovery, a chance for family memories to suddenly become show business. If you’ve got one, whip it out and show it now.”— John Waters
Home Movie Day is coordinated as a project of the Center for Home Movies, a registered 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation. We welcome donations in support of our efforts year-round—or please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about how you can help!