What are "home movies"? In the digital age—the era of cameras embedded in phones, YouTube, reality TV and so on—the idea of setting up a film camera for the specific purpose of recording a family event like a birthday or a camping trip, for later viewing in the living room as well as for adding to the "family archive," may be severely out of fashion. Yes, we still record everything—but we also watch it on the fly, send it around the world over the Internet, and perhaps don't consider it to be worth saving.
That's the point of Home Movie Day, a celebration of amateur films and filmmaking held annually at many local venues worldwide, including the University of Baltimore's Langsdale Library, which will host the Baltimore instance of Home Movie Day on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Langsdale Auditorium, 1420 Maryland Ave. The event will provide a chance for individuals and families to see and share their own home movies with an audience of their community, and to see their neighbors' in turn. It's a chance to discover why we should care about these films and to learn how best to care for them.
"Home Movie Day is the perfect opportunity for people to connect with our past and to move the conversation about preserving our cultural heritage into the future," said acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.
"There's no such thing as a bad home movie," said John Waters, the Baltimore-based creator of Polyester, Hairspray, and other films that could be said to have home movies in their ethos. "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."
Now in its 10th year, Home Movie Day is an annual event from the Center for Home Movies, whose mission is to celebrate and preserve home movies as pieces of our cultural heritage. Langsdale Library is home to nearly 40 years of the WMAR Television News Collection, a rich archive of local news broadcasts from the Baltimore region that could be called "Baltimore's jome movies."