The basis of amateur is love.
People shoot today, and then what they love, basically.
So they shoot their pets, their food, theirfriends, their family.
For me, home movies really were a revelation.
Because I've spent a lot of time working onclassic, narrative films, and documentary films and artist cinema.
And really, discovering a body of work thateveryone knows exists, has known it exists for many years, the largest body of moving image work createdin the 20th century is home movies.
Brittany: There was a Jonas Mekas essay where he's like, you know, call to arms, call to action about appreciating home movies, and he calls it the folk poetry of the people.
Ashley: Yeah, I think that was.
I wanna say'62.
I mean, we came to think of it as the people'scinema.
There's Hollywood cinema, and there is artistcinema, and there is the people's cinema.
And why have we kind of ignored home movies? Katie: Jonas is really a “small gauge sage.
” Like, he predicted that this is whatwe're doing right now.
I think it kinda says that in the essay, too.
Like, you can't see it now, but just wait.
I mean, this will be so beloved.
Ron: There were different levels of artfulness, that was one, you know cause there are artists, people have been responding to home moviesand artists have used home movies for a long time and then there are, well I call them artfulamateurs, people who obviously had a talent, peoplewho went on to film making careers who made home movies and they are shot with a certain and you cantell this person has talent, the way things are framed, and then there are, I call the hardcore homemovies, dad and mom buys a camera and they just shootthe family, either they're following the guidebook andthey're not following the guidebook.
We came to believe that there should be ahome movie aesthetic.
It should be kinda bottom up rather than topdown we're not looking from Hollywood down, the films are looking up from these films as if whatever the home movie maker did, thiswas the way movies should be made.
Brittany: And that's where home movies startto sort of unintentionally intersect with avant garde films Like what we’re looking at right now iscompletely over exposed, it looks like they’re in a snowstorm orsomething which like you can easily imagine that affect being employedby an avant garde filmmaker.
Ron: Post-production for a home movie is neglect.
They show it a couple times and then it getsneglected and typically orphaned.
And the Jared film is one of our very favoritefilms, but there was a lot of deterioration on those.
Were covered with mold.
The mold does wonderful things to film, actually.
Ashley: Very Bill Morrison.
Katie: It literally eats away at the emulsion.
That's what it does.
So, it creates this.
Brittany: Kinda kaleidoscopic.
Ron: And is this Kodachrome? The color is really good.
Katie: It looks like it has to be.
Brittany: Oh, it's really.
Katie: Because the color is so good and hasn'tfaded.
Ron: That's the thing.
That home movies can look really beautiful, the color.
The quality of the.
You should talk about that.
Katie: Well, the Kodachrome was a really special.
invention by Kodak, and sadly is no longer with us.
Brittany: We all know what Kodachrome lookslike.
It's become such, like, an embedded part of, like, our collective past.
Brittany: It’s kind of what the past lookslike to us.
Ron: Yeah Brittany: Or the idea of the past.
People who didn't even really experience.
You know, I wasn't alive then, but when Ikind of think of this time, it's how I think of the colors, those bright reds and.
Katie: Yeah, blues.
Ron: And that's the aesthetic we were talkingabout, that's the connection to modernism, modern culture at a certain time is the color, the fact that the color is of a certain period, the way it might be in a painting.
Kodak commercial excerpt: Man – “Let meshow you something, here's a reel of Kodak home movies, now suppose these were your movies, and on this reel you had movies of, oh lets say this young lady learning to walk, suppose you had all that and more, in actionand in color, that would be worth a fortune, wouldn't it?” Woman -“Oh yes” Ron: Home movie culture doesn't start tillthe mid-'20s, when the equipment manufacturers began selling equipment, specifically to ahome and non professional market.
That's the reason we did a lot of researchon the advertising, and you would find in the 20s they were soldin higher class magazines cause they were trying to sell to a wealthier clientele, they would picture people shooting their homemovies on estates essentially.
There's a whole ad campaign in the 40s wherethere are Hollywood stars and directors using home movie cameras.
Katie: Oh, I see.
Oh, to try to sell it.
Katie: Celebrity endorsements.
Ron: Leo McCarey appears.
Gary Cooper is in a campaign.
Doris Day is in a campaign.
Brittany: I think it's easy to get reallysentimental about home movies, and for good reason.
You feel like passage of time, death of memory, all these really profound things, but the other thing that kinda starts to come up isreally capturing kind of, like, sadness and darknessof really, like, the 20th century, and this body of work, inparticular, the American 20th century.
You see really heteronormative, rigid genderroles.
You see segregation.
You see, pollution, and litter, and all ofthese things.
Ashley: Horrible zoos.
zoos, there's tons of animal abuse.
Brittany: Sexual harassment.
It all comes through, which is not somethingyou would necessarily think when you're looking at a home movie, but you watch enough of them and kind of putthem together, and read between the lines, and kind of lookinto the background a little bit, and it's all there.
Brittany: I always say home movies are liketime machines, kind of.
It's like letting you interact with your parentsas adults.
Ron: We began to see that in other people'shome movies.
When you see it on your own, you see it inother families' home movies.
I mean, just, like, with all the differenthome movie days, one of the things that's so amazing is when people haven't seen this reelever, and they get so emotional because they've never seen their grandmother movingaround as a living person, or their grandfather, or somebody that wasonly existed as a still for them.
Ron: This is the scene I was talking about, yeah.
Katie: It's overwhelmingly emotional.
Woman: Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh mygod! Man: That's your mom’s parents Woman: and those are my great grandparents Boy: What's that? Projectionist: This is a film transfer machine, and we’re transferring films to files so we can watch them on computers and share themwith people.
Brittany: This is your family, Ron? Ron: Yeah, that's.
Brittany: Is that your mother? Ron: Yeah, that's my mother.
That's my brother, my mother died young, not long after thesefilms were made actually, about five years later so my younger brother never really knew her, he only knew her, he only understood their relationship from these films.
Katie: That's great, is that him? Ron: No, that’s me.
Ashley: Yeah, that is my dad Brittany: Papa! Ashley: And both of my grandparents died whenmy dad was a teenager, so even before he and my mother met, so this is all I know of my grandparents.
We had hundreds and hundreds of reels.
Katie: Oh god Ashley: It’s a significant reason why Ibecame a film archivist.
Katie: There's still a lot of home moviesto be discovered, I think.
Katie: Because there's still.
When you think of the generation, they'restill in the attics, and the basements, and stuff Brittany: Does that haunt you? Katie: A little bit.
It makes me a little bit sad, but it's excitingat the same time that somebody.
But you just wanna get the word out that, like, don't throw them away, because one of the main reasons we startedhome movie day was we found out people were throwing away their film, and we wanted to teach them that you shouldn'tdo that.
Ron: I would be happy to dedicate the restof my career as a moving image archivist to working on this body of film, and there are enough people working on theother the kinds of film, this is a body of film that needs to be actually recovered and preserved so if you're watching this, go to your closet, go to your basement, goto the attic and see what you can find.
Ashley: And also, back up your phone.
Katie: And don't throw them away once youget them transferred.
Ron: And back up your phone, right.
Brittany: And then back that up.
Brittany: And then send it to a friend.
Katie: All right is that good? You're gonna eat all that film! Ashley: Act natural! Brittany: Alright everybody like wiggle your fingers or something with motion.