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Other Histories: Amateur Films on the National Film Registry

Other Histories: Amateur Films on the National Film Registry is a three-program film screening series curated by the Center for Home Movies. The series will premiere on the weekend of January 10-12, 2020 at the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The series will be projected digitally, including many new high-resolution scans, narration, and musical scores created exclusively for the series.

The National Film Registry, the Librarian of Congress’s annual selection of 25 films deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” was created in 1989 to celebrate American’s filmmaking history. Of the 750 titles currently on the Registry, 17 are by amateur filmmakers, including home movies of significant events, such as the Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination (the first amateur film named to the Registry) and Dave Tatsuno’s films of the Topaz Japanese American internment camp. Other home movie collections, such as those by the entertainers the Nicholas Brothers the Fuentes family in south Texas, and Rev. Solomon Sir Jones in Oklahoma are notable for the cultures and people that they depict. Others in the group, such as The Fall of the House of Usher, Our Day, and Multiple SIDosis show the artistry and craftsmanship of amateur filmmakers. Together, this group of films shows a remarkable range of filmmaking styles and subjects.

Despite the fact that these films form a virtual canon of American amateur filmmaking, they remain remarkably difficult to see, other than on computer screens (and many are not even available there). The goal of this series is to give audiences an opportunity to view all 17 films in theatrical settings for the first time ever, honoring a form of filmmaking and a group of films that too few have seen.

New essays by filmmakers, historians and archivists on the individual films can be found on the Other Histories Essays page.

See our Resources Page Home Movies and Amateur Films on the National Film Registry for film descriptions and links.

Series Schedule
2010 Museum of Modern Art Premiere
Program 1: Friday, January 10, 4:30pm
Program 2: Saturday, January 11, 4:30pm
Program 3: Sunday, January 12, 1:00pm


Zapruder Film of the Kennedy Assassination
Abraham Zapruder, 1 min., 1963
Courtesy of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse
Barney Elliott and Harbine Monroe, 12 min., 1940
Courtesy of the Monroe Family

Nicholas Brothers’ Home Movies
Fayard and Harold Nicholas, Ulysses and Viola Nicholas, Lorenzo Hill, 14 min. [excerpts], 1934–1950
Fayard Nicholas Family Home Movie Collection
Courtesy of the Nicholas Family and Academy Film Archive

From Stump to Ship
Alfred K. Ames and Howard Kane, 30 min., 1930
Narration by Tim Sample
Courtesy of Northeast Historic Film

Our Day
Wallace Kelly, 16 min., 1938
Courtesy of Martha Kelly, the Center for Home Movies and the Library of Congress

Disneyland Dream
Robbins Barstow, 35 min., 1956
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Musical scores by Goh Nakamura and John Clement Wood


Cologne: From the Diary of Ray and Esther
Esther and Raymond Dowidat, 14 min., 1939
Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Ralph Steiner, 13 min., 1929
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art

Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection
Antonio Rodríguez Fuentes, 4 min. [excerpts], 1920s and 1930s
Antonio Rodríguez Fuentes
Courtesy of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Dave Tatsuno, 33 min., 1943–1945
Narration by Dave Tatsuno
Courtesy of the Japanese American National Museum and Academy Film Archive 

Multiple SIDosis
Sid Laverents, 9 min., 1970
Courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive 

Musical scores by An Orchestrated Impulse (Matt Pond and Chris Hansen), Goh Nakamura and John Clement Wood


A Study in Reds
Miriam Bennett, 20 min., 1932
Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society

The Augustas
Scott Nixon, 18 min., 1930s-1950s
Courtesy of the University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections

The Fall of the House of Usher
James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber, 13 min., 1928
Courtesy of the George Eastman Museum

V-E +1
Sam Fuller, 22 min., 1945
Courtesy of the Fuller Family and the Academy Film Archive

Reverend Solomon Sir Jones Films
Rev. Solomon Sir Jones, 14 min. [excerpts], 1924-28
Courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution

Think of Me First as a Person
Dwight Core, Sr. and George Ingmire, 8 min., 1960-1975
Courtesy of George Ingmire, the Center for Home Movies and the Library of Congress

Musical scores by An Orchestrated Impulse (Matt Pond and Chris Hansen), Brian Hall and Troy Vadakan


Thanks to the National Film Preservation Board, the National Film Preservation Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the Museum of Modern Art, and all of the contributing archives, archivists, musicians, and families for making this possible.