Home Movies: research papers and networks, AMIA Spring Conference, 14-16 April 2021

Plese see further details below and at AMIA Spring Conference programme.

  1. Describing the Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters Audiovisual collection
  • Brianna Toth, Academy Film Archive
  • Caitlin Denny, UCLA Graduate Program in Library & Information Science
  • Todd Wiener, UCLA Film & Television Archive

How can one describe a collection, if the content defies archival standards? Do these concepts allow the flexibility to accommodate the unusual, eccentric or under-represented? Furthermore, can creative improvisations be employed in the archival practices of arrangement and description to provide access? These questions must be asked when attempting to describe the irreverent ethos of the Ken Kesey Collection of Merry Pranksters Home Movies and other Materials collection’s subject matter. In addition to the content, the arrangement (or lack thereof), communal authorship, and conflicting legacy records, problematize the application of concepts such as respect des fonds, provenance, and original order. This presentation will discuss the collaboration, alternative approaches to descriptive standards and consolidation of 10 years of documentation from multiple preservation projects that were necessary to arrange and describe this collection. Challenges and potential recommendations for complex moving image collections will be discussed and never-before-seen footage will be screened.

2. Developing National and International Home Movies Networks

  • Dwight Swanson, Independent
  • Gianmarco Torri, INEDITS
  • Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, Amateur Cinema Studies Network 
  • Karianne Fiorini, Re-Framing Home Movies
  • Lorena Escala Vignolo, Cine Amateur Peruano

Home movies are among the most intimate of films and have traditionally been collected primarily by municipal or regional archives as examples of documentation of local life. In recent years, however, both in-person and online events and projects have allowed for broader considerations of the films, especially during the past year when archives have been regularly sharing their programs with audiences around the world.    This panel, which is targeted at archives that hold amateur collections, is the first attempt to pull together organizations that manage home movie and amateur film networking projects on national and international levels. The panel will focus on the possibilities and needs of broader international coordination of home movie organizations and networks, and each panelist will present its networking activities and strategies, as well as the results of their most recent activities, in order to foster a discussion on shared goals.

3.Expanding Access to Brazilian Home Movies – A Cinelimite Case Study

  • William Marc Plotnick, Cinelimite Inc. / NYU MIAP

Cinelimite Inc. is a new American non-profit company dedicated to expanding access to Brazilian cinema and audiovisual history in the United States. One of their missions is to highlight how amateur film and filmmakers have recorded moments of Brazil throughout the 20th century that reflect the diverse culture of that country, equal to any feature length or professionally produced work. Upon creating an open call for people in Brazil to send Cinelimite their home movies here in the United States, and some significant outreach efforts, the company was sent over eighty super-8mm home films. After significant efforts to repair and scan these works under a low budget, a majority of them can now be freely seen on their website.     With this poster session, Cinelimite co-founders William Plotnick and Gustavo Menezes will talk about the importance of amateur film preservation and access in Latin American countries such as Brazil.

4. Introducing a Project to Recover and Exhibit Peruvian Amateur Films

  • Lorena Escala Vignolo, EQZE Alumni

The poster presentation will focus on a project derived from the master’s degree thesis I started at Elφas Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian) centered on the reflection on home movies and amateur films from my country, Per·. The encounter with some Super-8 mm films from an amateur filmmaker from the Amazon and the task of digitizing them, along with another 42 orphan film reels bought in Lima by the director of MUTA International Found-Footage Film Festival, and the proliferation of online exhibitions due to the pandemic, got me the idea of creating a portal for sharing some of these moving images.     As there is no public entity, at a national or local range, that digitizes and promotes the caring for home movies, private initiatives are crucial. With the support of my school’s teachers and my mentor from the AMIA DIFP, www.cineamateurperuano.org was born. It suddenly came to my mind to turn it into a way to link existing related projects on the field. So far, it is just a platform to share home movies, plan Home Movie Days and search for new material. Some people interested or who is already working on digitization has contacted me though the site.     On one hand, the poster will point out to the problems I have found so far, but also the possibilities to make this idea grow to formalize a digital archive with a proper catalogue and easy access for the general public. I think the issues of the proliferation of people getting digital copies of their home movies by themselves and throwing the originals, the acquisition of orphan films by privates who are not thinking of these artifacts as heritage, the lack of proper equipment and the disaggregation of projects about small gauge films are common, specially, in Latin America. This will be a good opportunity to discuss on those things and, at the same time, to put peruvian amateur and home movies production on a wider scope, which is something almost unknown.

5. Borderlands | On the Border by the Sea: Archiving Amigoland

  • Dolissa Medina, Filmmaker
  • Angela Reginato, Co-Producer and Editor

Filmmaker Dolissa Medina presents a program of archival material gleaned while conducting research for her current film project, Small Town, Turn Away. The film is a feature-length personal documentary portrait of the director’s Mexican American border hometown of Brownsville, Texas 30 years after she left as a queer teenager, following in the footsteps of an older cousin who died from AIDS. Over the past five years, the filmmaker has collected material from sources including the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, local news stations, and previous generations of documentary filmmakers. The archives have helped her piece together news events she either witnessed or participated in as a teenager coming of age in South Texas during the 1980s. Featured footage includes the original Sanctuary Movement for Central

American refugees, Reagan’s re-election campaign visit in 1984, the 1988 “Tienda Amigo” building collapse tragedy, and the ritual murders of 1989, in which a cult of drug smugglers sacrificed victims to magically protect their operation. Also featured will be Super-8 home movies of Brownsville’s Charro Days fiesta, a celebration of friendship with the town’s sister city of Matamoros, Mexico, held each February since. The program is a portrait of Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley that is rarely seen. The film program will end with some samples of Medina’s previous and current work showcasing her use of archival material. Angela Reginato, co-producer and editor of Small Town, Turn Away, will join Medina for a Q&A.

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