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Dust off your Super 8s and break out your Kodachrome.
UNC-Wilmington’s film studies department is calling all celluloid lovers to campus this weekend for the inaugural “Home Movie Day.”
Created in 2002 as a way to honor and preserve films shot in 8 mm, Super 8 and 16 mm formats, “Home Movie Day” has become a widely popular event held in 56 cities across the country and globe–as far away as Japan and as close to home as Raleigh.
This will be the first year Wilmington has joined the ever-growing ranks of avid amateur film enthusiasts.
The local Home Movie Day–set for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday–came about through the efforts of Juan Carlos Kase, assistant professor of film studies at UNCW, after he attended last year’s screening in Raleigh.
“I got a lot of enthusiasm and support from people in Raleigh who had connections in Wilmington. There was a kind of organic enthusiasm about bringing it here,” Kase said.
The beauty of home movies, he said, is two-fold.
“A lot of what you see sticks out, not because of the content but because of the beauty of the film itself. To see light filtered through celluloid is beautiful. Kodachrome–you can’t duplicate that with digital,” he said. “These films are so whimsical. They are mostly silent. There are lot of families in them. They are diary films–very personal and poetic.”
And, he added, they may serve to be powerful teaching tools for the burgeoning filmmakers in his classes.
“A lot of my students have never actually seen a movie on film…It gives a historical awareness. You know, people have been documenting their lives with moving images for a long time. Hollywood cinema is just one part of the story…But it can also help them gain a different understanding of how cinema works.”
“Home Movie Day,” Kase said, is an informal affair.
“That’s how these are best run because they are casual films,” he noted.
Anyone can bring in their old movies to screen during the free event. Kase said it is best to arrive an hour early so he and other organizers can inspect the quality of film and clean it if needed.
Then, the lights go down, the projector hums and the magic begins. Those bringing films are given the opportunity to narrate for the audience.
And Kase said it is quite magical to see people’s reactions when they re-watch their memories unfold–or even see old shots of friends and family members for the first time–on the big screen.
“These are snapshots of people’s lives that they have taken a moment in the past to preserve for the future that they maybe haven’t seen in awhile, so there are a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments, like, ‘Here we are when I was 2 years old and now I’m 70,’” he said. “It’s fun to hear people say things like, ‘There’s my dad when he had big sideburns. And there are younger people who have film passed down to them who have never been able to watch them.”
“Home Movie Day” runs from 1 to 4 p.m. in King Hall. The event is free and free parking is available in the adjacent Lot E. More information on the national event is available here and details of UNCW’s event can be found on the university’s website
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.