Vancouverites who want to see how others lived, what they drove and wore and how B.C. looked in decades past can unwind at the free Home Movie Day Oct. 19.
At the bring-your-own-film event, participants can have the state of their Super 8 and 8 and 16 mm home movies assessed by experts, learn how to preserve them and see their family films projected on small screens. The Royal B.C. Museum, the City of Vancouver Archives and the CBC Vancouver Media Archives will play home movies on a big screen.
“You could call it an antiques roll show,” said Colin Preston, library coordinator for CBC Vancouver Media Archives and a member of the Audio-Visual Heritage Association of B.C. “We’re just letting the stuff roll.”
The City of Vancouver will proclaim Oct. 19 Home Movie Day. Christine Hagemoen, coordinator of Vancouver’s version of the worldwide celebration, hopes Vancouverites dig up old family movies for the event.
“The idea is to get people interested in audiovisual history from their own little personal histories and then perhaps think about the greater histories and how these things all connect together,” she said. “Especially as time goes by, movies that people didn’t think were very important become fabulous because they show the changing city and all sorts of other cultural and historical things.”
From CBC’s archives, Preston plans to show home movies from the 1930s and early 1940s that include Burrard Bridge, Hastings Park and the beach at English Bay, the dirt highway to Grouse Mountain, routes through B.C.’s Interior and a tour of Vancouver that includes Chinatown and Stanley Park. He’ll also screen films belonging to the late national-class figure skater Eileen “Bunty” Brennan (nee Noble) that include shots of her and her father outside their home.
“The house, between Second and Third [avenues] on Collingwood is still there. It’s got a little heritage plaque on it,” Preston said. “You can go there now. It’s wonderful. It’s wild.”
A group of film archivists in the United States conceived Home Movie Day in 2002 to promote the preservation of amateur small-format films. They knew people were hanging onto boxes of reels they’d never seen and that well-intentioned family historians were having their films transferred to videotape and DVD, believing their new digital copies would last forever and the film versions could be tossed out.
Hagemoen cautions against discarding old reels.
“You can hold up a piece of film and look at it, you can see it, you just need light,” she said. “It’s best to make copies from the original source than to make subsequent derivative copies because then you lose the quality.”
Preston hopes participants will take advantage of the “nerdy component” of having old gaffers on hand and that they’ll leave the event with a heightened sense of family and community history.
Home Movie Day runs noon to 4 p.m. at The Hangar at the Centre for Digital Media, 577 Great Northern Way. Visitors aren’t required to bring films to participate.
For more information, see the “HomeMovieDayVancouver” page on Facebook.
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