You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

Roughly a decade ago, filmmaker/professor/homesteader Melinda Stone started showing film archivists a tape she had acquired from a member of a San Diego filmmakers’ club that she had come across while she was working on her Ph.D. dissertation.  The film was called “Multiple Sidosis” and the creator was Sid Laverents, one of the superstars of the film club scene.  The film is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, involving special effects made almost miraculous by the fact that Laverents had created them all in his home.  News of the rediscovery of the film spread like wildfire in the amateur film circles, and almost instantaneously “Multiple Sidosis” was named to the National Film Registry and UCLA embarked on a project to preserve a selection of Laverents’ films.

Sid’s films had hardly been forgotten among his cine club fans, however, since he had been screening them around the United States and selling them on VHS from his home.  As remarkable as his films are, they are but one aspect of an amazing 100-year long life (he will reach the century mark this August) that he chronicled in his self-published autobiography The First 90 Years Are the Hardest as well as in his multi-part cinematic autobiography The Sid Saga.

Sid Laverents Online:

An annotated filmography, from the fanzine Roctober.  Roctober also released a CD of Sid’s music in issue #36.

A page on Multiple Sidosis from the San Diego Amateur Movie Makers Club, Sid’s sadly defunct film club.

Melinda Stone on Sid Laverents.

A January 2004 article on Sid in the New York Times.

A downloadable version of Multiple Sidosis (plus an mp3 of one of his songs).  More mp3s here.

And, finally, a poor quality YouTube version:

From the BBC: “Unseen film of the Beatles’ visit to the South West of England in 1967 has been tracked down by a Cornwall-based film producer.” The BBC video, including footage is here.

Currently on the festival circuit is Must Read After My Death, Morgan Dews’ troubling portrait of his grandmother’s life, assembled from home movies, snapshots and Dictaphone recordings.

Los Angeles Film Festival review from

Trailer from official website

What is on the surface a review of the Flip Mino video camera turns into a piece on how and why we make home videos in this New York Times article by Michelle Slatalla.

But when we played the video later, an odd thing happened. Watching the idyllic snippets of dogs and child cavorting together in the creek, I was overcome again by nostalgia. I felt longing for the dogs even though they were on the floor next to me, still damp and smelling vaguely like mackerel.

Why? Maybe the problem was what was missing: the less-than-perfect parts of life that happen after a video camera is turned off. Maybe I’d feel less wistful if I had recorded those panicky moments when we’d been shrieking threats at Otto and his stick as he menaced a group of nearby toddlers.

Photo from joanharvest\'s blog \"Whatever I Think\"

A father’s day reminiscence from joanharvest’s blog, “Whatever I Think”:

I got my love of photography from him. He actually made home movies in the 40’s with special effects. His “Woofy Runs Away” was a hit in town. Woofy was a teddy bear who runs away. My Mom had him on strings like a puppet running through the woods. There were many more special effects that awed the boy scouts that he showed it to.


And on his “RcktMan’s Launching Pad” blog, Rick A. observes the day by sharing some of his father’s audio recordings:

When I was born, my parents purchased a portable cassette recorder made by Realistic, the house brand at the time for Radio Shack. It probably about 10 lbs. heavy and needed an external microphone to record.

Shortly after we were born, they tried to catch our first words on the recorder; then as we grew up, my mom or my dad would set up the tape recorder and sit with us and have us recite our names, our address, our phone number, and then have us count or say the alphabet, and then sing some songs.

It is on these tapes where I can hear myself counting to ten at the bright young age of two.

It is on these tapes where one can witness my budding interest in music – singing songs like “Top of the World” by the Carpenters and “It’s Such A Good Feeling” from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood with confidence and pretty darn good tonality.

But it’s also on these tapes where I am reminded of how loving and nurturing my parents were.

Phyllis and Harold is an astoundingly frank journey through a disasterous 59-year marriage. Drawing on a lifetime of her family’s home movies and interviews made over 12 years, filmmaker Cindy Kleine mixes reportage, cinema verité and animation to uncover family secrets and tell a story that could not be shown publicly as long as her father was still alive.

Thieves broke into the SUV of a couple staying at a motel in May and stole a bag containing videos of their dead son.

The husband and wife are pleading for help tracking down the thieves who broke into their SUV in the parking lot of a Gresham motel on 181st and Burnside and stole something that is impossible to replace.The car prowlers took off with the couple’s laptop, but they also grabbed several home movies.

Full story: KTPV, Portland

NASA is turning 50 and the Discovery Channel is celebrating its birthday with the new six-hour series, When We Left Earth. The series premiers June 8 and features portions of 150 hours of high definition footage created from NASA’s moving image archives.

NYT story and movie excerpt is here and the series website is here.

From a review of the documentary Autism: The Musical:

The parents of five autistic children in Los Angeles contributed home movies and divulged their feelings upon discovering their children’s brain disorders, social difficulties and behavioral challenges. Filmmaker Tricia Reagan is inconspicuous, maintaining a hands-off style as the individual stories unfold enroute to putting on a show.

Film’s website

Take more than 100 Eumig 607 and 610 projectors, put them in the 1000 sq metre cellar of a former brewery, add amateur film loops spanning every decade and major event from 1930 to now and you’ve got yourself the world’s biggest Super 8 screening.

Source: Schmalfilm