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Home Movie Day Report: San Francisco 2007

Home Movie Day Report: San Francisco

Let the HMD 2007 reports begin… This from Stephen Parr in San Francisco:

San Francisco Home Movie Day Report: Best Home Movie Day Ever

This year’s Home Movie Day in San Francisco was our best ever. Over the past years my efforts to promote the events to residents and caretakers of old San Francisco film history have not been as successful as I would have liked.

San Francisco is a youthful city and most people that live here come from other parts of the country so few people are actually “natives.” The only people that really have an abundance of home movies are older generation native San Franciscans, independent filmmakers and collectors and the occasional neighborhood historian. The only way to really dig up people who have home movies is to get major newspaper press (tough both papers the SF Chronicle and the nearly defunct free Examiner are shadows of what they used to be), local television or write ups in neighborhood newspapers, and through local grassroots organizations. My attempts at contacting many of the local Asian and African American newspapers have always met with a lack of interest.

This year the SF Chronicle finally gave us a huge write up in the Datebook section.) This really drew in the SF and Bay Area natives, as well as a smattering of independent film collectors, obsessive collectors and even a local homeless attendee (he told me he was in the “recycling business”) who managed to mingle well with the diverse crowd. In addition
the Associated Press article
and the
August 6th piece in The New Yorker contributed the the larger than usual attendance this year.

Home Movie Film Clinic

We drew about 35+people and a wide range of films and content. I inspected, cleaned and repaired films from 12-6:30 PM. The films consisted mainly of regular and Super 8mm though a local priest brought in some pristine 16mm films of his family from LA in the 30s. Other films included Roger Brindle’s Super 8mm footage of Vietnam antiwar protests and films from his honeymoon in Waikiki in the 1950s. Other films consisted of Watsonville( A farming community) in the 1930s, New York transplant Linda Lewin’s Super 8mm of the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia and her NYU student film of 42nd Street in the mid 70s “A Taste of Fun City” featuring some X-rated footage inside a Time Square film house.

There were other highlights including a 8mm 1946 wedding film shot in Banff, Canada-not seen by the 80+ year old attendee since since then and Averie Cohen’s middle class Jewish home movies shot in the then suburb of Rye, New York. All participants narrated their films which created a real atmosphere of sharing, congeniality and laughter. At the end of the screening Thomas Matus, a priest living in a local monastery donated his 16mm films of Los Angeles life in the 1930s. The archive will be compiling and transferring his films to several video formats. Later Thomas will assist us in logging and do an oral history for us.

Other attendees made appointments for the coming weeks to discuss donating and or transferring their films to a viewing media. One of the most important things I stressed during the clinic was for people to keep their films and transfer them to several types of media for future migration. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation and I clearly and repeated reeducated many of those who brought films in.

Home Movie Day Screening

We drew about 50 people for our free screening, including many new comers and a few attendees from last year. For the early arrivals we began with a screening of a US Navy film “The History of the Motion Picture” (B+W, 1946) which featured nearly every projection device using film ever ever invented. We screened Kodachrome films of the Jung Family, a Chinese American family from Oakland, a few Ebay finds-the infamous double wedding, shot in Henry Ford’s company town for the working class-Dearborn Michigan, home movies of the San Francisco Centennial, Deer Hunting in the Northeast in 1947 (Since San Francisco is the politically correct capital of vegan land I had everyone hiss and boo BEFORE I screened the film), the demolition of the roller coaster in San Francisco’s famous “Playland at the Beach” in 1956, Kodachrome films from the San Francisco Horsemen’s Association riding through SF Parks in 1947 and 8mm color films from the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair.

Home Movie Reception

As the screening ended we switched gears, had some refreshments and screened some dvd highlights from “Living Room Cinema”. Guests to our soiree enjoyed food, wine and beverages, compliments of SFMA supporter Heni Martin. Most mingled with the interns and staff of the archive till nearly 1:00AM.

We’re planning another event sometime this year in conjunction with the San Francisco History Association. This time we want to showcase home movies by History Association members.

I was assisted by Robert Chehoski who edited the Quicktimes and scanned the stills for our local press and website, David Gallagher from the Western Neighborhood Association who updated the SFMA website, Bill Proctor who set up the screening room, pulled the films and projectors and manned the archive door for part of the afternoon, Averie Cohen as well as SFMA/Oddball Film+Video interns Betty Tweedy, Stefan Palko, Rae, Brad (From Van Dyke Pajama) and Eric. Thanks to everyone at Home Movie Day Central for your efforts and support in this ever expanding world of Home Movies!

One more mention-thanks to Mike Purcell for his at times awful at times exhilarating punk rock super 8mm film featuring the Dead Kennedys, No Alternative and a host of by now dead SF punk rockers from the late 70s. Your film was a real Home Movie Day treat!