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HMD Report: Georgia 2006

HMD Report: Georgia

Ruta Abolins sends in reports from the Home Movie Day events held on three days in three cities in Georgia, Athens, Butler, and Columbus.

We did three HMDs this year, each on different days, two being on the road: Athens, GA; Butler, GA; and Columbus, GA. In Athens we had plenty of volunteers and more equipment than we actually needed. For the road trip events there were six of us participating, including our development officer, Chantel Dunham, who had arranged those two events. We drove a University of Georgia van and took along a reduced lot of supplies to lighten our load (though we forgot extension cords, study lamps, and a flashlight, but it turned out our venues supplied them for us).

Athens August 12

We held this event at the public library because of its central location and ease of public parking. We had drop-ins throughout day with about 13 people showing up, six who brought film and the rest who just watched. We had 8mm, Super8, and DVD and no 16mm which was surprising. One woman, a filmmaker, brought in the DVD she made as her senior thesis using hundreds of reels of home movies she purchased from eBay. We then watched several of the reels she used to create her final project.

Butler August 15

Butler is a very small rural community in southwestern Georgia where we were hosted by one of the members of the University of Georgia Libraries’ Board of Visitors-the fundraising group for the libraries’ special collections. The board member who lives in Butler, Eloise Doty, found our venue, fed us, and gave us a place to stay. She arranged for our event to be part of her local historical society’s meeting which guaranteed an audience of 50 people and fit in nicely with the historic aspect of home movies. The event was held in a large, nearly new school auditorium which serves all the schools in the area and which was very well set up. Eloise took in some film and videotape for us in the week prior to the event so we could start inspecting it. At the event, one of the VHS tapes we decided to start with (to give us more inspection and prep time after setup) was of a 1950s Butler parade. By coincidence, one of the 16mm reels we prepared and then showed was of the same parade. The VHS transfer was okay, but when we showed the 16mm Kodachrome footage of the parade, it looked gorgeous. It was a nice illustration of the staying power of film and how much better it looks than VHS. The highlight of the event was listening to all the people in the audience commenting on community members in footage that was over 50 years old, especially the 2-year old spraying his relatives with water from a hose who is currently the sheriff. Refreshments were served afterwards in the lobby which gave us a chance to mingle a bit with the audience.

Columbus August 16

We had another library board member, Warren Foley, sponsor this event, and he found and paid for the venue, in this case the theater in the Columbus Museum. The museum has free parking and is well located in town, so it was a good location for the event. It was a dream to set up there because it was a very nice theater and we had loads of help from the museum staff. We heard they had mentioned the event on the local morning tv news so we were expecting a huge crowd which, alas, did not materialize. About four people brought in film and three people came just to watch. Several women in a group took our brochure and handouts because they couldn’t stay. However, to make up for the lack of people in numbers, those who brought film came with large amounts film in 16mm, 8mm, and Super8. We saw gorgeous Kodachrome from the early 1960s of the white sand beaches in Florida and a yacht trip (our board member host’s family trips). We also saw footage brought in by a woman whose mother was the first woman to be licensed as a surveyor in Georgia. This was also the venue where we got our first lot of African-American-taken home movies. A Mr. Thomas had seen the morning news report on tv and brought his Super 8 films from the early 1970s-a wedding, July 4th, his family, and trips to London, Acapulco, and Florida. He was there early and stayed for nearly the entire event. He also ended up donating some of his films