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One of the first films about home movies,  Home Movie: An American Folk Art was made in 1975 by two students from Philadelphia.  As its title implied, it looked at home movies as folk objects, and was shown at the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife in 1975 and 1976.

This classic documentary is now available free online through Folkstreams.net.

The film 51 Birch Street has been out for 3 years now but I just got around to seeing it. In the film, filmmaker Doug Block sifts through years of home movies, photographs, and his mother’s journals while concurrently interviewing his father, sisters and family friends to discover more about his parents’ marriage.

Making the circuit, after serving as the closing night feature at this spring’s New York Underground Film Festival, is Random Lunacy, a documentary about the “Flying Neutrinos,” a family led by the peripatetic father “Poppa Neutrino.”  The film is taken largely from home videos shot by the family.

All happy families are not alike, as proved by Poppa Neutrino, aka David Pearlman, and his Flying Neutrinos. A wandering soul, a particle spontaneously transforming, Poppa leads his family on a true quest for freedom and adventure. Rather than to drift through the obligations of an ordinary, “sequential” life, Poppa chooses to be what most people recognize as homeless—a lifestyle he elects for himself as well as his ever-expanding family. –NYUFF

Official Website

The Evanston, Illinois History Center will present an outdoor screening of 1920s home movies shot by a local vice president of Tinker Toy, inc.

Rachel Pettit

Source: Evanston Pioneer-Local

Our good friends Andrew Lampert (Anthology Film Archive), Skip Elsheimer (A/V Geeks), Greg Pierce (Orgone Archive), and Stephen Parr (Oddball Film+Video) will be in NYC in a couple weeks for a nutso weekend event at Anthology.

It’s called 1, 2, 4, 8…  Unessential Cinema: Numerical Madness with America’s Foremost Film Collectors. Full descriptions and times are here (pdf). Check it out if you can.

Home Movie Day has a new PSA! Starring Robbins Barstow of Wethersfield, CT and of Disneyland Dream fame (and let’s not forget his Boing Boing appearance). Many thanks to George Odell of TFG Film & Tape for video production.

You can download a higher resolution version from the Internet Archive. And check it out on Home Movie Day’s site.

The Brand Museum blog looks at the rise and fall of Bell & Howell.

Getting rave reviews at the just-completed Telluride Film Festival was Czech director Jan Šikl’s series Private Century.

An 8-part documentary series that chronicles the 20th century through amateur family films. This material was in the time of its creation an exclusively private matter concerning only a narrow group of people. It however has grown to become a unique testimony of spontaneous private lives. It is a probe to intimate family niches. The Private Century cycle is free of the ambition to present self-contained historical views. Its aim is much more modest: to stop the time. Within Private Century, the local private memory becomes public. All the meanings in the film acquire much wider and more universal humane scope. Private Century shows the history as a set of intimate human stories.

Source: Institute of Documentary Film

“I discovered something quite basic in the process that I’d overlooked before. It became obvious that I had to research the background of the private footage, and get information from the relatives of those involved. On their own the silent films were lifeless–they showed streets, people, and a time about which nobody knew anything. So I began to search for the family members of those in the archival footage, and in this way I made the connection between the film material and people’s memories, and I had a starting point for the films.”–Jan Šikl


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