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HMD Report: Toronto 2006

HMD Report: Toronto

Local audiovisual archivists Brock Silversides, Russ McMillen, Aileen Leadbetter and Julie Lofthouse provided advice on how to care for home movies and discussed why home movies are important. Filmmakers Karen Shopsowitz, Laurence Green and Justin Lovell discussed their working with home movies in various contexts. Karen showed a new music video called “Pawpwalk” which she made for the Ron Davis Trio, and which features super8mm footage shot by (no surprise) her dad, in London in 1971. Justin Lovell, a filmmaker whose genesis in the world of film transfers began when he found himself needing reliable high quality transfers of his own films, played a demo showcasing the way his work with Super 8mm.

A last minute surprise of the day was that filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Highway 61, Hard Core Logo, Picture Claire) gave permission to screen home movies from his collection which he previously donated to the Film Reference Library.

Though attendance itself wasn”t as high as previous years, we were not lacking in quantity of film to show. In fact we actually ran out of time within which to screen the films that were brought in. I also found it amazing that we had as many 30 minute reels brought in that day as we did. Participants gladly talked about the films and provided context for them while they were screened. Though not everyone brought in their film that day, we had discussions with some of the participants about their home movies. One of the day”s participants who unfortunately did not bring in film with him, came out to the event solely to gather information and ask questions. He said that he had many films at home taken by his father, who had been a local radio broadcaster in Western Canada. The films were of their various annual family trips across Canada and spanned many years, but also included some film his father shot that were work related.

The first home movie of the day shown was from a man who contacted us the week before the event who had recently brought back a reel of film he found in his parents’ home in Hong Kong. Though now living in Toronto now, the gentleman recently brought back with him after visiting his parents overseas. It is a film that his father took both in Hong Kong and business trips to the US in the 1960s. Sadly his father is in the early stages of Alzheimer”s so the gentleman is working on getting the film transferred so that he can show it to his father while his father is still able to communicate and enjoy it. The Toronto Film and Video Club participated in our event again, bringing some of their home movies with them as well as a few other treats.

A local artist/film-maker who has recently begun shooting with Super8 film brought his films for show. We also received a “home movie” recently shot by a young Toronto film-maker, of her trip to Hong Kong last year. An interesting note about this footage is that this woman”s mother participated in our first Home Movie Day in 2003, having sent in wonderful home movie footage of Hong Kong from the 1950s. Someone else brought in several reels of summers spent up north at a Boy Scout Camp in the 1960s. This was beautiful footage that captured the antics of this young troop. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to screen the full length of the final film shown that day. The film was of a Classic Car Club of America in 1963. The gentleman who brought in the film said that the end of the film contained footage that was shot in Washington DC in the summer of 1963. Though the majority of films brought in and screened were of “Canadian” origin, it was great to see so much stuff coming in that included places in the United States as well as around the world.

Canadian location highlights included various cottage trips, Expo “67 & Centennial Parade, Hells Gate, British Columbia, Kingston Ontario, Superior Ontario (entitled “Bear Valley”)…just to name a few. At the end of the day we loaded up the audience with a bunch of prizes. Prizes included a membership to the Film Reference Library, 2 tickets to the 2006 Preservation Screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, a membership for two to Cinematheque Ontario, a group animation workshop at the National Film Board Mediatheque, some STILDesign cans, the Super8 cartridge given out by Kodak during their Super8 session at the Austin Conference, Home Movie Day mugs, and a $100 towards a film transfer from Photoplays.

We also ran a contest where the audience voted for the “Best Home Movie of the Day.” Winner to receive film transfer services supplied by Justin Lovell of Frame Discreet and much more.

Can’t wait to do it all again next year. We have so many good ideas brewing!!!!