Home Movie Day in Portland celebrates amateur filmmaking

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Sept. 22, 2009) -- Whether it is footage of grandma blowing out candles at her 80th birthday party or a cops-and-robbers movie made by grade-school kids, the Home Movie Day in Portland is an opportunity to share, preserve and celebrate old films.

Screenings and education will take place on Sunday, Oct. 18, from noon to 5 p.m. at the UO Portland's White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch St.

Community members are encouraged to bring their 8 mm and 16 mm home movies for inspection and potential exhibition. Local film experts, along with archivists from the University of Oregon Libraries, will assess the physical condition of the film before projecting movies for viewing. They will also offer advice on how to best preserve and protect these film formats from damage.

Individuals will have the opportunity to exhibit their films on one of four continuously running projectors and share the stories behind the images.

"As technology changed, these old films were hidden away in closets and we are losing access to a glimpse into history," said James Fox, head of the UO Special Collections and University Archives. "Some are transferring these movies into different formats, such a DVD or VHS, but the vibrant colors and original charm are lost in the process. This event allows old movies to be shown in their best light."

Sponsored by the UO Libraries' Special Collections and University Archives, Home Movie Day is an international event intended to help the public learn about, enjoy and rescue films now considered obsolete because of digital home video. More than 50 U.S. cities take part in International Home Movie Day, in addition to events in Canada, Italy, England and Japan.

Home Movie Day was started in 2002 by a group of film archivists concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. Many people have boxes full of family memories that they've never seen for lack of a projector, or out of fear that the films were too fragile to be viewed. The organizers knew that many people were having their amateur films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the idea that their new digital copies would last forever and the "obsolete" films could be discarded. Original films (and the equipment required to view them) can long outlast any version on VHS tape, DVDs or other digital media.

Admission to the event is free, but donations will be accepted.