Project works to pre­serve home films

South Shore Breaker - - Games - SUZANNE RENT edi­tor@southshore­breaker.ca

A na­tional film project is col­lect­ing home movies from In­dige­nous Peo­ples and vis­i­ble mi­nori­ties in an ef­fort to pre­serve the films in na­tional ar­chives.

The project, Home Made Vis­i­ble, was started by the Re­gent Park Film Fes­ti­val in

Toronto and in­spired by Ali Kaz­imi’s doc­u­men­tary, Ran­dom Acts of Legacy, the story of a Chi­nese Amer­i­can fam­ily com­piled from de­te­ri­o­rat­ing home movies. To help col­lect films from across the coun­try, the Re­gent Park Film Fes­ti­val part­nered with smaller or­ga­ni­za­tions in other cities. In Hal­i­fax, they part­nered with the Cen­tre for Art Tapes, an artistrun cen­tre that helps sup­port the sto­ries and ideas that are un­der­rep­re­sented in main­stream cul­ture.

El­iz­a­beth Mu­denyo, spe­cial projects man­ager with the Re­gent Park Film Fes­ti­val, says part­ner­ing with or­ga­ni­za­tions around the coun­try helps them find films that rep­re­sent re­gional di­ver­sity.

“This will help In­dige­nous and mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties re­al­ize how much their lives and sto­ries mat­ter here,” Mu­denyo says. “Their sto­ries … can be shared within a wider nar­ra­tive.”

To date, the project has col­lected 125 films from 17 par­tic­i­pants in Toronto. The project ac­cepts films from the 20th cen­tury. For­mats they ac­cept in­clude 16 mm, eight mm, VHS, Mini DV Tape, Hi8, video and dig­i­tized for­mats. Most of the films date from 2000 and ear­lier. The old­est film is from the 1960s, while the ma­jor­ity are from the 1980s and 1990s. The films fea­ture every­thing from wed­dings and birth­days, to chil­dren play­ing or re­hearsals for school con­certs. Other films recorded huge weather events, such as snow­storms.

“Peo­ple know in the mo­ment in time it’s a his­toric event,” Mu­denyo says.

Mu­denyo says par­tic­i­pants don’t of­ten have the tech­nol­ogy, such as VCRS, to play the films or the film is of­ten at risk of fall­ing apart over time. When films are sub­mit­ted to Home Made Vis­i­ble, they’re dig­i­tized.

“It’s a chance to have it dig­i­tized so they can share it with fam­ily and com­mu­nity,”

Mu­denyo says.

Tori Flem­ing is the pro­gram- ming direc­tor at the Cen­tre for Art Tapes in Hal­i­fax and is help­ing to col­lect the home movies in Hal­i­fax and around the prov­ince. She says peo­ple who have tapes can use the fa­cil­ity’s equip­ment to dig­i­tize the tapes, even if they don’t want to share the films with the pro­gram. She says old tapes are quick to de­te­ri­o­rate and will likely only last a cou­ple more years.

“I feel like we’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to help save the tapes,” Flem­ing says.

But she says sav­ing the con­tent is im­por­tant, too, es­pe­cially for his­to­ri­ans whose work of­ten re­lies on doc­u­ments and films in ar­chives.

“Our part is mak­ing sure these sto­ries are avail­able to those who need them,” Flem­ing says.

Af­ter the films are dig­i­tized, the par­tic­i­pant who sub­mit­ted the film can also choose to be in­ter­viewed. That in­ter­view will be played over the film it­self to pro­vide con­text. A five-minute seg­ment is selected that will be sub­mit­ted to the York Univer­sity Ar­chives. That seg­ment can also be played for pub­lic screen­ings, if the par­tic­i­pant wishes.

“It’s beau­ti­ful to see these [films],” Mu­denyo says. “Even though they’re not my fam­ily, it feels like they could be.”

As well, Mu­denyo says those who want to share a film can trust a lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion, such as the Cen­tre for Art Tapes, where they can drop the film off rather than mail or courier it to

Toronto.

To ap­ply to con­trib­ute a film, go to the Home Made Vis­i­ble web­site at home­made­vis­i­ble.ca and fill out the form on­line. A project or­ga­nizer will con­tact you about your film. There is no cost to par­tic­i­pate.

Home Made Vis­i­ble will be col­lect­ing home films un­til May 2019.

123RF

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