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HMD Report: Urbana, Illinois 2008

HMD Report: Urbana, Illinois

Number of people bringing films for repair/inspection: 5

Number of films screened: roughly two dozen, some from guests and
some from the U of I archives

Formats screened: 8mm, S8, and 16

Gate Count: 15 adults, at least 7 kids

Volunteers: 10

This was the third year for Home Movie Day in Urbana, Illinois. In the past we’ve held it at WILL, the NPR/PBS member station for Champaign-Urbana. This was a fun building to use because we screened the films in the television studio, which was fun for the audience, but parking was a challenge because this was on campus. This year, we held Home Movie Day in the Urbana Free Library in downtown Urbana.

One of our volunteers, Emma Lincoln, brought Super 8 films from her own family’s home movies to supplement what our guests brought, and we also pulled out several 16mm films from the University of Illinois Archives. These archival films were a hit in years past and people enjoyed them this year as well. We showed several newsreels from the 1940s-1950s about U of I history, including (locally) famous sports events and stars, the construction of various university buildings, and some wonderful “puff pieces” about the U.

For the kids, we had Home Movie Day coloring books. We also had a set of rewinds with 16mm clear leader and sharpies so kids could make Len Lye-style “frameless animations,” which we then projected. The finished film was donated to the Champaign County Archives, which is housed in the Urbana Free Library. The kids’ table was a BIG hit. The young people (and their parents) had a blast learning how film works, making their own animations, and seeing them projected.

As for the adults HMD guests – we didn’t get very many. We got a fair amount of interested foot traffic – people who would drop in to see what was going on – but we only got 3 or 4 people with their own films to share. While we recognize that any community event should emphasize quality of interactions over quantity, there was such a steep drop in interest over the past 3 years that it seems like we might “rest” this community next year or possibly fold HMD into a larger event. This is a fairly small community and it might be that we’ve hit most of the people who would want to participate so we may want to hold off a bit to build interest. We haven’t decided yet.

We had inspections from 10 to 11 and then projected films from 11 to 3. We had a fair amount of press, both in print and on-air (I did an interview on WILL’s “Afternoon Magazine” in the week leading up to HMD, and Anke Voss, head of the Champaign County Archives, also publicized it on a community-access TV program she took part in).