We’re used to seeing home movie footage, or faked home movie footage, used in all kinds of movies – personal documentaries and fiction film credits come to mind right away, and I’m pretty sure that the opening sequence of Toy Story 3 was an animated home video sequence, which just goes to show what a powerful moviemaking standard they are.

Home Movie Day, on Saturday, October 16, is a unique opportunity to see this most common and beautiful form of non-fiction filmmaking screened in its own right. Audiences can bring their own home movies to show, whether on 16mm, 8mm, super 8 or video (VHS and DVD clips limited to 5 minutes).

Home movies give a glimpse into other people’s memories, and a refreshing reminder of the sometimes-fine line between documentaries and spontaneous amateur filmmaking. You also get an incidental crash course in the trajectory of consumer moviemaking technology, from 16mm to phone cameras.

With questions being raised at over the purposes of theatrical distribution, these movies are an example of films that get a whole new meaning when shown to a communal audience. Getting together to watch them in a shared experience brings out a new kind of interest – it makes them movies instead of just “home movies.”

Boston’s event, co-produced by the Harvard Film Archive and the Boston Street Lab, is in the Public Room on the ground floor of Independence Wharf, near South Station. There’s a Home Movie Day at the same time in Hanover, NH, at the Howe St. Library.
Also at the Boston event: “on-site low budget film transfers, live piano accompaniment, and free tea,” as well as advice (as at other Home MovieDay locations) from archivists on how best to preserve and store your films.

– Nellie

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