There are 84 home movies on this website. They include amateur theatrics (A Hero’s Reward 1950), famous people in private moments (Menzies, Dame Nellie Melba), and the lifetime personal record of a post-war immigrant, Canberra resident Konrad Dimpel. They capture family occasions and provide travelogues and unofficial records of historic events such as the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy, the 1955 Maitland floods, and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
Home Movie Day is described as a celebration of amateur filmmaking. But just what is amateur? It’s all getting a bit blurred in an era of desktop filmmaking. Affordable computers and software have democratised the process and free platforms such as Word Press and You Tube can make published authors and filmmakers of us all, challenging the monopoly held by film studios and broadcasters (and in Australia, government film funding agencies). Maybe home movies are home movies because of who the intended audience is (private, family) rather than whether their makers got paid or not.
The Home Movie Day website has some interesting comments from famous supporters:
John Waters: 'There’s no such thing as a bad home movie. These mini-underground opuses are revealing, scary, joyous, always flawed, filled with accidental art and shout out from attics and closets all over the world to be seen again. Home Movie Day is an orgy of self-discovery, a chance for family memories to suddenly become show business. If you’ve got one, whip it out and show it now.’
Cory Doctorow: 'Home Movie Day! What a fantastic idea — culture isn’t just the stuff that the studios make, it’s what we make of it. Content isn’t king, conversation is — and what better conversation-starters than the significant moments of your neighbours’ lives?’
Martin Scorsese: 'Home movies do not just capture the important private moments of our family’s lives, but are historical and cultural documents as well. Consider Abraham Zapruder’s 8mm film that recorded the assassination of President Kennedy or Nickolas Muray’s famously vibrant color footage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shot with his 16mm camera. Imagine how different our view of history would be without these precious films’.
Home movie day is a chance to think about why these films matter and to learn how to care for them. While your home movies may be easier to watch in a digital or video copy, the original films, with proper care and storage, may last longer than new media formats. So they are worth keeping and looking after. You can contact the NFSA for advice on preserving your media memories by contacting email@example.com.