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Home Movie Day News: January 2012 Archives

January 2012 Archives

January 25, 2012

 

HMD Report: Cambridge

Report submitted by:
Liz Coffey
Report by Brittany Gravely, our annual note-taker and writer extraordinaire.
HOME MOVIE DAY 2011
October 15 – Cambridge, MA

As watching celluloid – particularly small gauge formats – and even VHS becomes more and more an anathema to digital society, events like Home Movie Day must carry on in more clandestine, under-the-radar locales such as the classroom next to the main theater at the Harvard Film Archive. Small, cryptic signs guided the relatively ordinary-looking subversives into the dark where the annual rite could be performed inconspicuously.

Dungeon Master Liz Coffey lurked omnisciently in the back operating the immortal projection machines and (with Melissa Dollman) inspected the reels of memories people dared to smuggle in. Amy Sloper and Amanda Justice monitored the analogue video machine with a care usually shown only premature children, and in keeping with all-things nostalgic and covert, music was provided by record player that closed up like a suitcase when not in use.

After the usual introductions, brief history of film, quick run-through of Home Movie Day bingo rules and communal cookie-eating, the show began discreetly with Frank Floyd’s color Super 8 transferred-to-digital which he projected directly off of his computer – the same one his parents had in the 60s and 70s. Just kidding. But it is true that his parents were really cool in the 60s and 70s – his dad was in a singing group called “The Constellations” and his mom was a budding fashion designer. Thus, upon the screen splashed images of super-stylish men hanging out in a hotel, playing guitar and showing off their custom-made fashions featuring stunning ensembles like bellbottomed jumpers with puffy red sleeves and a little fur bag or for the ladies, a decadently fur-lined long skirt. We basked in the light of this ultimate 70s star glow.

The infamous John Quackenbush presented a color Super 8 reel auspiciously titled “Unk” which began with an overexposed Charles River and a slightly younger version of John sailing blithely upon barely visible waters. The mystery of the title disintegrated before our squinting eyes as John’s uncle waltzed into the delicate palette of downtown Boston. John was documenting this important, adventurous visit taken by bus and on foot, and maybe more, according to the aerial shot of traffic that closed out this reel.

A newcomer to this hip scene, Michael, casually produced a DVD of 8mm transferred to digital vid as if this were something he did everyday. Upon the screen his cousins took their first trip back to Lebanon, his mother’s hometown. It was the 1960s and cuteness, prettiness and stylishness were at an all-time high, but that’s not the focus of this sweet reunion where many of the cousins were meeting and hugging for the first time. Michael told us that originally there was an audio cassette made to accompany the visual documentation; although we couldn’t listen to this, the Crystals’ record playing at the moment did fit the magical walk down this memorable lane. By the time Palm Sunday rolled around, we were lovingly besieged by a lot of posing and waving to the camera by beautiful people in well-coordinated, cinematically-saturated solids. Crazy unleavened bread with layers like cloth unfolded to reveal men dining outside who toast the camera! I may have taken some artistic liberties with that sentence, but bottom line: these folks were more than hospitable.

And speaking of layers, Melissa Dollman took an educational approach to her home movie presentation this year, showing us part of a collection she claimed to have worked on. The son of Henry Koster, director of Harvey and many other studio pictures from the days you could say “studio pictures,” recorded his father as they watched his dad’s old home movies together. Are you following me? It was like looking into infinity. If you can stay with me for a moment longer, he did this so he could record his dad’s commentary on these exciting documents (originally shot on b/w 16mm) featuring old Hollywood writers, producers and starlets in Salzburg, Vienna, Linz, Budapest and various European locales. Upon seeing his old agent on screen, Mr. Koster goes into this crazy lawsuit story about this innocuous-looking guy who, turns out, was actually quite a snake in the grass. Meanwhile, actors and their wives swim, eat and generally look gorgeous. It was a precious, multifaceted document unfortunately ravaged by the quality of the VHS media of its time.

Next, the inimitable Brittany Gravely showed an alarmingly recent color Super 8 film shot earlier this very year on the new Ektachrome stock that Kodak released to compensate for the loss of Kodachrome. The intensity of the Floridian footage triggered a projector malfunction which Liz promptly alleviated. And soon enough, we were back in one of Brittany’s hometowns, Jacksonville, where an old hotel was being demolished. On down the palm tree-lined streets one stormy day, we see bits of Florida old and new as well as plenty of friendly Florida flora… not to mention fauna in the shape of a cat comfortably hanging out in the fork of a tree. Someone commented that it looked like a panther which forced Brittany to tearfully admit that Florida is currently being overrun by a scourge of mini-panthers which stalk their human prey from backyard trees. This footage was crucial to her ongoing research into this frightening epidemic.

Betsy Sherman tactfully switched subjects with a rollicking 8mm Kodachrome of her family in Brookline, Mass. back in March and April, 1961 when she was a lass of a mere four years and her brother was only one. Her brother kind of stole the screen with his special leash and his abhorrence of walking. When he does walk, the great outfit he has been stuffed into makes him move like a robot. No wonder he was so skeptical of the practice. The siblings had endless fun on playground structures of the past and their cute mother laughed about it all while relaxed in a chaise lounge.

Amanda Justice bought a mystery VHS tape at a flea market in Waldo, FL and little did she know, it contained the Secrets to the Universe. This appeared to us mortals as three figures from the 1980s pretending to be a band (of sorts) performing Paula Abdul’s “Knocked Up.” Amanda explained that there were video karaoke-type booths at fairs and the like which would composite you and your friends against totally cool backgrounds and add totally awesome video effects while a totally tubular song played, and voilá! Video killed the radio star! The pseudo-band was simply composed of a shirtless, leather-jacketed, glasses-wearing, guitar “playing” man and two dancing ladies whose outfits somehow managed to sum up all of the primary 80s styles (starred half-shirt among them). They performed a synchronized dance which we wondered if they had made up beforehand or were following dance instructions. Either way, it was amazing. Blown by fake wind, frozen periodically by this ingenious video effects device, and laughing occasionally to themselves, every inch of this video radiated pure pleasure.

So pleasureful, in fact, that we started considering VHS camcorders the future of image making. Sensing the bizarre cinematic-retro-mutation danger, Liz snapped into action and dialed into the Emergency Alert FilmCon5 System which, under such dire conditions, instructed the user resort to the radical Option X: bring out the most outmoded and obscure type of filmmaking device one could lay one’s hands on. Sweating celluloid bullets, she pulled out a magnificent monstrosity called the Pathé “Baby,” a 9.5mm film projector from God-knows-when. The strange frame size alone distracted people long enough for Amy to obliterate the video decks and allowed Liz to launch into a history of the French-made 9.5mm format, noting that it is still a viable format in Europe, where such abominations are still cherished. The thing about 9.5 is that the sprocket holes are between frames rather than on the sides, allowing for a greater image area, yet a more dangerous situation for the film in case sprocket damage, etc. occurs and all hell breaks loose on the actual image rather than the shoulder of the road, as it were. This design’s original intent was to separate the amateur film mavericks from poser riffraff.

Well, there was a method to Liz’s madness for a change; we were about to watch some 9.5mm, albeit transferred to DVD. Another newcomer on the scene whose name shall remain anonymous due to the political hazards of harboring such an un-American film format (or I forgot to write it down – you decide) brought this contentious medium into our realm having inherited this footage from her family. It was silent b/w film from the 1920s shot in British-occupied Hong Kong of her grandfather and great uncle as adorable little boys playing with an extensive wind-up train set. Strands of sunlight streaked this beautifully-exposed miniature world populated with tiny figures on bikes, horses and various vehicles surrounded by tiny fake everything. They even had small cannons that really fired something. These were long, loving shots of the boys enjoying serious play in this splendid room, but eventually we do catch glimpses of regular-sized adults playing a regular-sized game of Mahjong.

The old-HMD-timer Reed Sturtevant was up next with a color Super 8 reel primarily focused on his son, a baby at the time of filming, who spent much of his screentime crying over the threat of water touching him and then over more ambiguous, less tangible things. In usual clever Reed fashion, there was a shocking shot of the baby in the driver’s seat of a car followed seamlessly by his teenage self driving a fancy red car though the beautiful countryside of Limerock, Maine. Turns out, they were on their way to the Skip Barber Racing School where his once-sensitive, emotional offspring kept it way cool drag racing and looking like nothing, not even water, could unsettle him.

Finally shedding the icy detachment of academia, Melissa screened footage from her own mother’s childhood in 1950s South Dakota. On the color 8mm which had been transferred to video we witnessed such memorable images as a toddler in fluffy dresses, a big-eared kid with a gun, and a baby exploring the simple pleasures of a single shoe and a pliable mattress. In the midst of the inordinate amount of mellow family fun time, one child gorging on sausage, pushing kids around and generally disrupting the good times turned out to be Melissa’s mom. Fortunately, the cute images that kept coming amid holiday festivities – which included some really cool elfin shoes – distracted us from this unexpected family exposé.

Brittany decided to ease Melissa’s embarrassment by showing a strange color Super 8 roll from 1979 that began innocuously enough upon a carousel. She and her sister and aunts showed off their tube socks astride these magical beasts and everything seemed normal until… they entered the dark jungle by boat and were menaced by animatronic jungle animals courtesy of Disneyworld. Then, jarringly, we were thrown back to the icy reality of her other homeland, Marengo, Illinois where a continuous pan of the snowy terrain proved interminable. Snow, snow, and more snow. We got it. Okay. Finally, her family’s little snow-colored poodle Gigi entered snowy stage right and made life worth living again!

And if you thought that was a freakish whirlwind, for a real metaphysical turn of events, Tara Nelson produced a Super 8 roll, shot by her husband Gordon, of last year’s Home Movie Day in Boston! If you recall, it was in Fort Point and it was a reel par-tay. This was exquisitely portrayed via Gordon’s artful double-exposure, hand-processing, and skillful cinematography. The LL Cool J record that accompanied it heightened this visceral experience and also added a danceable hip-hop edge to the nature footage that followed.

A shot of a dead goose served as a dark signpost of urban reality.

Quackenbush was at it again producing a sequel of sorts to a reel he showed last year from the same batch of found footage shot by a contingent of plump, middle-aged American tourists in the 50s or thereabouts. Just like last year, it was a treasure of a reel and I was obviously quite taken by the show because my notes couldn’t keep up with the parade of images on screen. And at this point, frankly, I can’t recall what “Golden Apple – beautiful lake” and “bridges trio” means, but I do know about “customs US/Canada.” They were having fun at the US/Canadian border! There were also ladies at a fancy estate and shots of a city which appeared to be Toronto. I also quite clearly remember the gravesite with the ominous words “Pray For Us” sculpted out of shrubbery. And, who could forget Niagara Falls? More bridges, more seasides, and a bonus seaside that came with its own kissing couple. This was real tourist leisure time what with shots here and there of landmarks like a neat castle-like building and with all of the beach scenes (including the requisite suntan-lotion-applying shot), picnicking, pedicab riding, carside posing, field bathing (don’t ask), see-sawing, sliding, geese feeding, garden partying, etc. Yet all of this was just a build-up to the primal heart of this reel: a monkey in the backyard! Signifying the bizarre confluence of events, a miraculous soundtrack synchronicity sent everyone into incredulous shock. Meanwhile, these backyard mysterions gathered around a cauldron (which hopefully, the monkey was not a part of), and there are extended shots of cows and farmers again accompanied by eerily appropriate chords from the record player matching onscreen action as if it had been scored beforehand.

We were really on a roll now. Reed was up again with the only footage he ever purchased off of Ebay featuring 1960s Okinawa. Immediately we were greeted by rice fields along the edges of which frolicked charming children. Also pretty charming was a donkey attached to a special agricultural contraption and happy women waving to the camera as if welcoming us into this land of ridiculously cute kids and hardworking villagers harvesting rice and other grains. To gain perspective, we were swept up into an aerial shot of green and beige land next to blue, blue water. When we come back down to Earth, there is some kind of memorial people are visiting and it involves a shot of a real human skull. The brief comic relief – a person walking with a bundle that has a hat on it looks like a walking bundle – prepares us not for the gory exploits to come! We witness actual scenes of whale slaughter in a lagoon area – from the killing to the chopping up, the camera spared no gruesome detail. Thank you, Reed, for warning us ahead of time about this grisly scene! When I opened my eyes again, there were children in little cars riding around in circles followed by a special circle dance outside. While I tried to piece together the evolving metaphorical subtext, US soldiers convened, and I took off to the convention of some sort they were holding that day involving a lot of seated older Japanese people drinking orange soda and watching grand spectacles such as beautiful, colorful dances. They seemed to be honoring a group of older women in the audience in some fashion. On and off stage, it was an incessant parade of smiling faces, great outfits, bright ribbons, and brilliant flowers until we get to the neutral tones of the military man giving a speech with the aid of a Japanese translator. Then the soldiers begin giving ominous silver boxes to everyone and we see a sign that reads “Christmas in Nakagusuku-son” clearing up at least a few questions. Soon, we return to village life: processing grain and toting bundles. And once again we are air-lifted to observe the villages from the sky and even see the inside of the helicopter. Radio dishes of some sort come into view – most likely connected to this apparent military base. Finally, it closes out with picturesque shots of boats and village life carrying on…

I hope I did that one justice – it was an exotic slice of history with a little mystery, and those kind really make you think. That’s the great thing about Home Movie Day – not everything is spoon-fed like the drivel those Hollywood pictures dole out, except maybe the bingo prizes which Liz kept coming to pacify an increasingly agitated audience.
Anyway, moving on to Amy Sloper’s thought-provoking b/w Super 8 movie from 2010… To the intrepid tunes of a James Bond soundtrack, we are taken through the intricate world of Amy’s office desk. Having received the assignment, we take a ferry ride upon the dangerous waters of the Boston Harbor and catch a fatal glimpse of Boston’s traditionally overexposed skyline. Blinded by this iconic light, we then beat a fast retreat to the dark ambiguity of a New Year’s party and breathe a mutual sigh of relief that we cannot see what sordid events are unfolding inside this sketchy apartment. Then! the day we have all been waiting for arrives… the great Book Topple of whatever year it is now. Part of Amy’s library-related job is to treat books like the dominoes they were always meant to be and – still with 007 playing in the background – we see the care and concern taken lining up books all over the office. If they don’t fall correctly, well, lives are obviously on the line. So when the books finally fall – okay, so maybe Amy didn’t film the end and maybe we will never know what became of those thrill-seeking librarians, may they rest in peace.
And it was another golden oldie from the annals of Brittany’s life, or pre-life, featuring her older sister in color Super 8 in the year 1971. Easter always brings surprises like robotic larval forms squirming happily but oddly on their parents’ bed. The naturalistic lighting fell softly upon her white dress and a strange plastic rabbit looming the background.

Not to be outdone by dainty girl babies on display, Frank Floyd jammed the filmwaves with more of his Super Seventies childhood. Once again, via color Super 8 transferred to the digital realm we were subjected to his ultra-cool parents living their ultra-stylish lives in an ultra-cool pad. Not only that, but his dad shows off some ultra-cool parenting skills as he grooves out to tiny Frank playing a giant drum set in what appears to be a fairly avant garde manner for the time – all the while wearing amazing pants and a dazzling hat. Little Frank’s 70s hairstyle is also pretty easy on the eyes.

Queen of the Scene, Liz Coffey, ramped up for the end of this roller coaster of a day with her recent “black-and-white remake of another home movie I made.” Who remakes their own home movies? And who remakes them in black-and-white? Only the most dedicated and eccentric home movie freaks, and in this kingdom, Liz obviously reigns supreme. So don’t ask “why,” just sit back and enjoy Tilt-a-whirl Part II: Monochromatic Death – a dizzying ride in Old Orchard Beach, Maine that admittedly did feel more gritty and real in black-and-white.

And the last entry of the day was another contemporary film, yet shot on long-expired Kodachrome which Tara found at the house of experimental filmmaker Saul Levine. She mentioned it was Christmastime, but the smoke stacks and rural farmland scenes did not come off as overly festive. There is a dog running around in a wreath-like configuration, a tractor that is vaguely sleigh-like, and an older man in a sweater who could never have been mistaken as Santa. (Turns out he’s Tara’s dad. Not Santa, the old sweater guy.) The action gets pixilated… as in single-frames, not Christmas fairies like you might think, and the muted, milky movie unspools like so much ribbon onto the spinning take-up reel of our lives.

Sorry, I’m not really sure what I’m saying anymore. These Home Movie Day notes take a lot out of me, like Home Movie Day itself. Traveling all over the world, back and forth in time, in and out of people’s lives… it’s not really just a “day” in the traditional sense and it’s a daunting task describing the real effect this stuff has on all of us. In closing, I may never know.

This was compiled by Liz Coffey.
2011 Event Report
City: Cambridge, MA
Event Venue: B04, the classroom / screening room Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Event time (screening): 12-3pm
Event time (inspection): 11am onwards
Total Audience: around 30
Number of people bringing films: 13
Volunteers:
Liz Coffey

Melissa Dollman

Amy Sloper

Amanda Justice
Brittany Gravely
Zach Long
Press (pre-event and post-event):
“Dig This”editors’ picks – Weekly Dig 10.12.11
“8 Days a Week” editors’ picks – Boston Phoenix 10.14.11
“Weekend Arts Picks” on RadioBoston, 90.9 WMBR 10.13.11
facebook event page, HFA online calendar
and oddly: “Home Movie Day in Cambridge” – Centers and Squares 10.14.11
http://minneapolis.pointslocal.com/story/minneapolis/566519/home-movie-day-in-cambridge

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January 27, 2012

 

HMD Report: Philadelphia

Event Venue: PhillyCAM – Philadelphia’s public access television station

Event time (screening): 2-5 PM

Event time (inspection): 2-5 PM

Total Audience: approx. 30

Number of people bringing films: approx 7

Films screened by Gauge:

8mm: approx 10
Super 8: 1
16mm: 3
9.5mm: none
Video:none

Volunteers Jay Schwartz, John Pettit, Alexis Mayer, Germaine Fodor, Janine Lieberman, Debbie Rudman, Herbie Shellenberger, Silvia Hortelano Peláez, Jenifer Baldwin

Special Contributors/Thanks: Gretjen Clausing, Caroline Savage, Dwight Swanson, Kate Pourshariati, Joanna Poses

Film Inspectors: Alexis Mayer, Janine Lieberman, Herbie Shellenberger

Projectionists: Jay Schwartz

Inspectors: Alexis Mayer, Janine Lieberman

MC: John Pettit

Press (pre-event and post-event): PhillyCAM ran a spot on their station, created by the wonderful and amazing Debbie Rudman! Press release was featured on uwishunu.com, Philly Inquirer blog. Were also sponsored by Bryn Mawr Film Institute who ran an ad in their slideshow.

Report submitted by: Alexis Mayer

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HMD Report: London

HMD London 2011

Organisers: Lucy Smee and Lisa Kerrigan

General volunteers: Andrew Smee, Rebecca Hobbs, Martin Robinson, Rachel
Keene, Michael Coffey, Chris Jones

Cinema Museum volunteers: Ronald Grant, Martin Humphries, Anna Odrich,
George Parnell, Mark Egerton, Alex Craven, Ruth Cox, Will Downie

Projectionists: David Locke, Tony Saffrey, Brian Giles, Grant Lobban

Film checkers: Tim Emblem-English, Sally Golding

Bingo caller: Lesley Ibbotson

Ham made by: Lian Choo Smee

Bakers: Andrew Smee, Lucy Smee, Lisa Kerrigan, Michael Coffey, Laura Riley

Event location: The Cinema Museum, Kennington, London.

Event time: 11am – 5pm

Attendees: 120 in total, with 19 groups of people bringing home movies.

Films shown: 7 x 16mm, 10 x 9.5mm, 15 x 8mm, 8 x super 8

Thanks this year to BBC Hands on History who helped fund HMD London and of course massive thanks to the venue, the fantastic Cinema Museum and to Martin Humphries and Ronald Grant for being such excellent hosts. The cake stall once more did a roaring trade and we all looked spiffy in the Cinema Museum’s collection of usher uniforms. Thanks also to the BFI for donating some DVDs and IMAX tickets for bingo prizes, and to the Cinema Museum, who donated tickets for their upcoming special events.

Lisa and the Cinema Museum organised two great special screenings. In the morning, Phyllis Calvert’s grandson, Thomas Dyton, presented a compilation of her home movies in the main cinema, a reprise of a previous special screening from 2009. Then in the afternoon was a special presentation of film publicist Ralph Cooper’s home movies, introduced by his daughter and other family members. This was wildly popular and sadly we had to turn people away from the main screening room due to full capacity!

Our film checkers and projectionists were nicely busy all day this year as people arrived with home movies throughout the day. The first films of the day were Hoxton in London in the 1970s and the last week at the closing down cinema in Golders Green in the 1980s, both on 16mm with sound. Then we had three 16mm films made by the cartoonist Giles and the note-taker has written for these: ‘Man playing tiny trumpet and drinking meths’. I’m sorry I missed this one. Other scenes from these films include hatching eggs and Ireland in 1958.

Other interesting films included a film found in the loft of a house by a new tenant of the Festival of Britain; my note-taker reports it showed “acrobatics and a crazy train”. Also some films of India in the 1950s, and a huge collection of films of eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain; after our film checkers checked the first few, the filmmaker went home to get some more!

A big highlight was the 8mm home movie collection of Frank Muir, from Frank Muir and Dennis Norden fame, brought by his son Jamie. First we watched a home movie of canals in the Midlands in the 50s, and no one knew it was THE Frank Muir, but then the next film was Peter Sellers in rehearsal for a BBC variety programme called ‘And So To Bentley’. Our volunteer Chris reported that the film looked like a final rehearsal for a live recording, probably at BBC Lime Grove c.1956, and it featured several sketches with Sellers, Dick Bentley and Peter Jones. This is a lost television series so this home movie is a really exciting find and a rare behind the scenes look at TV production in the 1950s. Lisa has been in touch with Jamie Muir (who is also a TV documentary producer) and hopefully he will be donating his collection to the BFI National Archive. Watch this space! The audience also enjoyed seeing a four-year-old Jamie Muir with his Dad, both in splendid bow-ties at London Zoo.

It was an extremely successful event, and a huge thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen and again to the Cinema Museum and BBC Hands on History.

A few photos can be seen here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eartle/sets/72157627784414305/

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HMD Report: Mexico City

Event Venue: Cineteca Nacional México

Event time (screening): 29 October 2011 from 2-9pm

Event time (inspection): accepted films until noon on the 29th

Total Audience: Over the course of the day, perhaps 85 people? Unfortunately, we didn’t have the manpower to take an accurate count.

Number of people bringing films: 3 people brought films that day for the event. In total, we screened films from 20 people.

Films screened by Gauge: (all numbers are approximate)

8mm: 15
Super 8: 31
16mm: 6
9.5mm: 0
Video: 0

Volunteers: Audrey Young, Kyzza Terrazas, Issa García Ascot

Press (pre-event and post-event): Radio interview

Report submitted by: Audrey Young

This was only the second Home Movie Day in Mexico City, and the first event since 2003. There is not a strong sense of home movies as being meaningful yet in Mexico, and we saw that in the promotion for the event. Despite sending out a press release and advertising the event with a PSA on the public bus system, only two people showed up to bring films to show. The rest of the event we programmed with films the Cineteca has been collecting through the Archivo Memoria program. As the event approached and we realized that the response was not as anticipated, we began to call everyone who had brought in their films to ask them if they wanted to come watch them during Home Movie Day. We ended up getting a fairly strong response and projected films nonstop from 2pm until after 9pm.

There were a few interesting films that we discovered at the event: a trip to Yucatán on 8mm from 1956, a set of stop-motion animations from the 60s and 70s by a man whose granddaughter described him as a “mad inventor”, a short film documenting the marches for sexual freedom in the 1970s and scenes in the life of a traditional Jewish family in 1960s Mexico.

But perhaps more important than the films themselves was the reaction to the event. Those families that we invited to attend were thrilled. One family showed up with fifteen or twenty people, including the matriarch who had filmed everything. Others came merely out of curiosity to see their films for the first time in twenty years and ended up staying all afternoon, captivated by the families of strangers.

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January 30, 2012

 

HMD Report: Washington, D.C.

HMD Washington D.C. 2011

Organizer: Caitlin McGrath

Projectionists/Film Checkers: Tim Wisniewski, Laura Major

Volunteer and General Cheerleader: Brian Real

Those who helped from afar: Skip Elsheimer; Karma Foley; Amy Gallick; Jimi Jones; Julia Nicoll; Marsha Orgeron; Elias Savada; Karan Sheldon; Jennifer Snyder; Deborah Sorensen; Dwight Swanson; Pam Wintle; Lindsay Zarwell

Last-minute 8mm projectors and viewer: Jenny Horne

Refreshments: Whole Foods (!)

Event Location: Letelier Theater, Georgetown

Event time: 12-4 p.m.

Attendees: Well, are we counting all those that were there, wandered through, and stayed to watch? That total would be 12. If counting those outside the organizer and volunteers who came to watch films? That would be 2. One of those brought films.

Films shown:

The Living Room Cinema DVD

Florida in the 1960s

Florida – Hilde and Silver Meteor

Hilde in the Ice Storm

Yost – Bee in Flower, 1954

Man in bathing suit – 1929

Baltimore walkathon 1973

Disneyland and a California pool, 1979 and 1976

Films from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Guitar at the Bottom of the Sea

Most of the films were 8mm, but we also had 16mm from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Our event was small mainly because it was organized in just a few weeks. We missed deadlines for most publicity, and we suffered from having a somewhat obscure location. All of these can be remedied this upcoming year, since we’ll have plenty of time to rally our forces. The saving grace was the generosity of Whole Foods, who provided us with enough food for 50 people (I was being optimistic!). So while we waited for folks to turn up, we ate well and often from the buffet.

We started by watching the Living Room Cinema DVD to get things rolling, and give us time to set things up while something was running, in case we got flooded with participants. Then we started showing our own films. I brought one of my parents before they were parents, and then one of me about 2 years old in Disneyland. Tim brought a great one of the Walkathon in Baltimore, and Laura had family reels from her mother’s childhood in Florida.

Then we started going through some of the films I had brought that came from the Wagner Institute in Philadelphia. They included a great one from 1929, and some beautiful images of flowers, snow and ice.

We also were very fortunate (thanks to Lindsay Zarwell) to have some amazing films from the USHMM. We saw travel films that traversed Europe, visiting the Alps, Jewish settlement farms, and various points in Eastern Europe.

The one participant who brought a film showed a film he’d made as a teen with his friends meant to be a horror film. It was interesting, and because incomplete, fairly experimental! He was very lively and happily narrated the bits that were missing. He arrived five minutes before the end, so it was a great way to bring things to a close.

Despite having such a small showing, we all had a great time and ate well for the rest of the week! Many, many thanks for all those who helped on the day, helped from afar, and those who gave support and encouragement along the way. HMD DC 2012, here we come!