Molly Wheeler reports:
New Haven’s second Home Movie Day was an absolute blast and the attendance doubled since last year. Our venue was the New Haven People’s Center, an old house downtown with hardwood floors, a backyard and windows all around. The day was cooler than previous ones and it made the space really comfortable to be in. One half of the room was comprised of the table with the sign-in information and relevant forms, the inspection table, a television playing the Living Room Cinema DVD, and a long table with educational information and DVDs for sale. The other half of the room contained the projectors, a 70’ x 70’ screen, a table for the film queue and lots of chairs. Drop-off and inspection was from noon-2pm and screenings were from 2pm-6pm. People started to arrive a bit before noon, and had the opportunity to sit with Bruce Manke, our inspector, to discuss and look at their films. People milled around, looked on, read materials, and chatted a lot. At 2pm, we started showing the films and within 45 minutes the place was nearly full, at most there were about 50 people in at one time. We ran into only one projection problem, which was quickly solved by taking out our backup 8mm. We had two of each projector in case we ran into problem. Home Movie Day Bingo was played throughout the day and prized were rewarded. There was a great humor and participation throughout the films being shown.
The day was great, and we were all on a high throughout and into when it was done. The audience was diverse and had been informed of it through various media outlets, proving that we need to continue to blanket print, online, radio and television outlets in years to come. New Haven looks forward to its third Home Movie Day on October 18, 2008.
8mm films: (1)-A woman came with her family, bringing a film in that she had never seen before, shot by her father. It was labeled 1964 and showed an extended family over a few months, including at Christmas time and in the warmer season backyard. She grew up in Baltimore, but didn’t remember the house and guessed it to be Buffalo, where she lived as a very young girl. The funniest part was when a child spills Cheerios on the floor and a woman leans in, picks them up, returns to her chair, and begins to eat them.
(3)-An older gentleman, along with his adult son, brought three films that he had shot in the mid-1960s. Shot in Newtown, CT, they showed his children learning to walk and playing on a trampoline.
(3)-A woman came in with three films, all 400’ reels from around the 1960s, that showed a cock fight (her father raised cocks, she had forgotten about this and was a bit embarrassed… the audience comforted her…); Carnaval on an island that she didn’t recognize, though her husband likely knew where it was; and another that we only got to watch bit of since she had to go. The Carnaval one was beautiful and I’d like to know where it came from.
(1)-Am man brought in film from the late 1960s of him and his friends painting a 1957 Chevy that they called “Black Swan.” The footage is really great and shows the detailing… later the car went to New York for an afternoon and was stolen. It was a really hot car.
(3)-Volunteers had three miscellaneous films to show at the end…
Super 8 films: (3)-An 18 year old young man that is going to be an awesome addition to next year’s home movie day, brought in three films from an estate sale in Southington, CT. They showed family vacations, including great footage of boarding a United plane, taking off, flying through the clouds, and landing at LAX to go to MarineLand in Palos Verdes, which is now only a ruin. This footage could be great on a DVD, as an orphan film showing a place that doesn’t exist anymore.
(3)-A woman came in with her whole family, her parents the filmmakers included. She brought three films from around 1980. They showed great footage (sometimes slow motion) of her and her siblings jumping a pool; the Cheshire CT marching band; Sequoia National Park and San Francisco, a lot of footage of SF from the perspective the front seat of a car.
(1)-Footage of a woman’s husband’s family doing random things around town.
(1)-The same man as with the 1957 Chevy film, brought in two other films: one shows an afternoon at Brooksdale Park in CT playing soccer and volleyball in 1975. The other film was among the favorite of the afternoon: a film made between 1975 and 1979 that cuts between two men playing Scrabble and his wife on the beach, all shot from really interesting perspectives. This film should be seen by as many people as possible.
16mm films: (1)-A woman brought in a 400’ 16mm film that documented a few things: Gold Rush Junction with a reenactment of cowboys killing Indians (totally weird); and family life in Woodbridge and Bethany, CT.
(1)-One woman brought in footage of her friend’s wedding in Fair Haven, CT.
(1)-A woman thought she had her senior thesis film but it was in fact her, from 1976, filming her and her friends hanging out. She used some pretty psychedelic effects and it was the only film in which genitals were referred to.