By Karen L. Ishizuka, Patricia R. Zimmermann
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Extra info for Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories
He demonstrates how Forgács’s editing and soundscapes balance the contingency and ephemerality of these joyful amateur ﬁlms, suspended in the interstitial zone between trauma and representation, with fate and necessity. As dreamscapes condensing and displacing memory and history, home movies suggest a rethinking of and reorientation about which language and theoretical models are appropriate to decipher their syntax, grammar, codes, and production of knowledge. Amateur ﬁlm and home movies occupy an ambiguous zone of practices and knowledges, demonstrating extensive variegation and complexity.
27 In 1998, the Getty Museum hosted a landmark event, sponsored by research director Michael S. Roth and organized by Karen L. Ishizuka, then a Getty fellow, entitled “The Past as Present: The Home Movie as Cinema of Record,” at the just-opened Getty Research Center. Ishizuka elaborates on this symposium in her foreword. Then, in 2002, a small group of ﬁlm archivists that included Snowden Becker, Brian Graney, Chad Hunter, Dwight Swanson, and Katie Trainor launched “Home Movie Day,” an annual grassroots event focused on screening and collecting amateur ﬁlms from regional communities in the United States.
The foundation’s primary mission is to save orphan ﬁlms, ﬁlms without owners able to pay for their preservation. As the Library of Congress notes in its explanation of the law, “The ﬁlms most at-risk are newsreels, silent ﬁlms, experimental works, ﬁlms out of copyright protection, signiﬁcant amateur footage, documentaries, and features made outside the commercial mainstream. Orphan ﬁlms are the living record of the twentieth century. ”23 In 2000 the NFPF produced a collection entitled Treasures from the American Film Archives, consisting of ﬁve DVDs (and a descriptive book) containing ﬁfty restored regional orphaned ﬁlms, including experimental ﬁlms, animation, home movies, propaganda ﬁlms, and early silent ﬁlms.