Home Movie Workshop


When we think of our moving image heritage, our mind often turns to Hollywood, television, or documentaries. But the richest, deepest, and arguably, most representative source for understanding the twentieth century is also one of the most neglected: home movies. In this workshop, we will explore the historical, cultural, and social functions of the home movie. From early experiments at Eastman Kodak to the ubiquitous Super 8 cameras of the 1960s and 1970s, home movies were made by millions of people around the world, capturing birthday parties and holiday celebrations, family vacations and snapshots of everyday life. In this workshop, we will start with an introduction to home movies, and how the medium evolved over time.

We will discuss how documentary filmmakers have used the home movie in novel ways, from Peter Forgacs’s Private Hungary series to Andrew Jarecki’s Capturing the Friedmans. We will also learn how to inspect and screen 16mm, Super 8, and 8mm film. Through the screening of selected film clips and information on the preservation and use of home movies, students will gain a greater understanding of how to view, supplement, and use home movies, either made by their own families or by others. (6 hours)

The workshop will be held one week before Home Movie Day at the Center for Documentary Studies. The Home Movie Day website is here (local Home Movie Day website is here).

Martin L. Johnson is a lecturer in the Department of American Studies and in English at UNC–Chapel Hill. He has a doctorate in cinema studies from New York University, where he wrote his dissertation on itinerant producers of local films in the United States. He is a veteran Home Movie Day volunteer, having attended them for the past eight years in Durham, New York, Baltimore, and Raleigh.

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