Archivists @ Home Movies

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Bottom of plate


This was a great game. It took ten innings, one more than the standard, to decide on a winner. In a contest between humanoids (the Archivists) and Non-Humanoids (the Home Movies), the humanoids prevailed thanks to a top-of-the-tenth inning solo homerun by film archivist and centerfielder Dwight Swanson.

Interview with Home Movie Day Founders The job of a film archivist is highly specialized and is relatively new to the world of archiving. Like a librarian, the film archivist collects, preserves and makes films accessible for research and for use by others. The team of archivists collected here all specializes in the art of film archiving. Seven of the Archivists are involved in the "home movie" preservation movement and were instrumental in the founding of Home Movie Day. One Archivist player was the director of the Filmmakers Cooperative, which was founded in New York City by members of the vortex known as The New American Cinema. Three of the Archivist members were directly responsible for archiving the home movies in the Stephen Phillips Trust House Film Collection.

The Home Movies team is drawn from the 199 reels of film gathered in The Stephen Phillips Trust House Film Collection. The Phillips' archivists collected the reels of 16mm film and divided them into three groups: Fifty reels comprised the Stephen Phillips home movies, 125 reels became part of the James Duncan Phillips home movie collection, and 18 reels were collected under the title, Professional Film Collection. This latter group comprised 16mm films made by professional movie production houses and marketed to the Home movie audience, that is, to those that had 16mm projectors to watch films. After the reels were divided, they were sorted in chronological order and then assigned an "Archive Film" (AF) number. It is that imposed AF number that has been used to identify the players representing the Home Movies team.

Phillips Home Movie Collection- Scope & Content The origins of the "home movie" are rooted in the technical chemical development of the so-called "safety film" produced and marketed by the Eastman Kodak company in 1923. Prior to the availability of the non-flammable "safety film" the less safe nitrate-based film stock known to spontaneously catch on fire especially as the film stock aged, was problematic for amateur filmmaking enthusiasts. With the release of the safer type of film, the 16mm gauge became the standard in the non-professional filmmaking world. In 1932, Kodak released the "regular" 8mm format that competed for the home moviemaker market. The Super 8mm format was released in 1965. It improved on the earlier "regular" 8mm format by providing smaller perforation and therefore a larger frame size with less graininess. Ten years later the video field emerged as the Beta VCR and VHS formats arrived on at the consumer's market.

Home movies are motion pictures made by amateurs, usually for viewing by family and friends. Andrew Lampert, archivist at Anthology Film Archives points out some of the complexities of the home movie genre:

"There are certain aesthetic elements common to most home movies: shooting with a hand-held camera, for example; use of available light, lack of sound. However, this brings up the question of what exactly is a home movie. At the last Home Movie Day, we showed a film by an artist of his trip to Paris. He used gels and various other filmmaking techniques that made it clear he was a trained filmmaker. Some members of the audience objected to it, and a heated discussion started over what exactly constitutes a home movie ...Actually, that's the most common criticism of experimental films: that they are just amateur movies or just home movies"
Stan Brakhage, one of the great experimental filmmakers of the 20th century, eloquently defined the not so nuanced difference between the amateur and the professional in our culture. The home movies made by the amateur Phillips's (James Duncan Phillips was Stephen Phillips' uncle) do not apparently conflate artistic endeavor with their filmic aesthetic. (It should be pointed out that the author of these notes has not viewed any of the films on the Home Movies team.) Based on the holographic titles found on the film reel containers, the content of the films in the Phillips collections are typical home movie material. Typical for the time and place, which means that we would be looking at home movies made by an affluent aspect of the culture? Indeed, the Phillips family of Salem, Massachusetts was affluent and not representative of the working class. The Phillips' lived a formal way of life, with a resident staff of three servants in addition to a chauffeur and coachman.

The Phillips family home movie collection is part of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Trust House Museum which opened in 1973. Stephen Phillips bought the house at 34 Chestnut Street, Salem, Massachusetts in 1911. The history of the house is interesting, albeit, mostly irrelevant to this cosmic baseball game.

Phillips House in Salem, Massachusetts/Steven Phillips/James Duncan Phillips

Team Rosters

Archivist Position Notes
Snowden Becker Thirdbase (5) Public Access Coordinator for the Academy Film Archive. She earned a Master's degree in Library and Information Studies from UCLA in 2001, and was a student advocate for the founding of the university's new cooperative degree program in Moving Image Archive Studies. Her interest in the care and handling of amateur film materials in the context of mixed collections inspired much of her graduate study at UCLA, and led to her initial involvement with the Association of Moving Image Archivists in November of 2000. Snowden has since served AMIA as founding chair of the Small Gauge and Amateur Film interest group and as an active member of the moving image archives community. Her research and writing on amateur film has examined the use of home movies in the scientific community to study autism and schizophrenia, early independent film productions, and the increasing use of historic footage in new documentary productions
Brian Graney Rightfield (9) Film Laboratory Technician at UCLA Film and Television Archive's Stanford Theatre Film Laboratory. Following his graduation from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman House and a prior stint as a preservation laboratory technician, he served for five years at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe. As Senior Archivist for film and video collections there, Brian oversaw the preservation of home and amateur films of regional significance, including Sallie Wagner's Wide Ruins Trading Post home movies and Fermor Church's 1929 Los Alamos Ranch School film. He curated regional film screening programs for the Orphan Film Symposium, Taos Talking Picture Festival, Santa Fe's Lensic Theater, and at venues and events throughout New Mexico. He has chaired and presented on panels involving home movies, lab/archive communication, legal issues, films of indigenous people, pornography, and regional filmmaking.

Leslie Trumbull Catcher (2) Director, Filmmakers Cooperative
Chad Hunter Firstbase (3) An archivist at Appalshop, Inc., Chad is originally from Lansing, Michigan, and studied English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Past employment includes positions as manager of a 5-screen, art house movie theatre; on-line editor at JSTOR (an on-line academic journal archive); and seven years as an archivist and Preservation Officer at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. At GEH, Chad supervised the preservation of more than one hundred films, including: the home movies of Martin Scorsese and Joan Crawford; the collection of independent filmmaker Peter Hutton; unique films of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Raoul Walsh; and dozens of actuality and animation films from the silent period. He served as an instructor and lecturer at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in Rochester, as guest lecturer at the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo, Brazil, and as a visiting archivist at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dwight Swanson Centerfield (8) Archivist at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. He has a B.A. in history from the University of Colorado and an M.A. in American Studies--with an emphasis on popular and material culture--from the University of Maryland. His initial training was in photographic history and museum studies. Since graduating from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House he has served as the archivist for regional film and video collections at the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association and Northeast Historic Film, as well as the Human Studies Film Archives. He is a specialist in amateur film and regional film production and has lectured and written extensively on home movies and amateur film, including presentations at the Orphan Film Symposium, the Northeast Historic Film Summer Symposium, the University Film and Video Association, and the Association of Moving Image Archivists' annual conferences. He is currently co-chair of the Association of Moving Image Archivists' Small Gauge and Amateur Film Interest Group.
Katie Trainor Leftfield (7) General Manager of the new IFC Center (Independent Film Channel) that resides at the refurbished historic Waverly Theater in the heart of Manhattan's West Village. Katie spent the previous year living in Northeast PA working for the Museum of Modern Art in the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center where she restored the film collection of Jerome Hill. Before that she worked as The Director of Operations for the Jacob Burns Film Center in Westchester, NY, having recently graduated from the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman House. Her introduction to the archival world was her employment as Archive Manager of the Harvard Film Archive from 1993-2000. Miss Trainor is an active member of AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists). She is a member of the Small Gauge and Amateur Film Interest Group. Her proudest achievement by far is joining Snowden, Chad, Dwight and Brian as a co-founder of Home Movie Day. Host of the first Home Movie Day in New York City (August 2003).
Andrew Lampert Shortstop (6) Film archivist at the Anthology Film Archives. Host of the first Home Movie Day
in New York City (August 2003)
Diana Little Secondbase (4) Host of the first Home Movie Day in New York City (August 2003)
Laurie Austen Pitcher (1) Consultant from the Audiovisual Archives at the John F. Kennedy Library, Boston
Naomi Gray Pinch Hitter Coordinator of Grant Writing and Marketing, Stephen Phillips Trust House
Megan MacNeil Pitcher (1) Collections Manager and Registrar, Stephen Phillips Trust House
Home Movie Reel # Position Notes (time in minutes)
AF46 Shortstop (6) "Picnic" [Picnicking and Boating-Saranac Lake, NY] c.1935-1938
Total running time: 04:35 
AF36 Secondbase (4) "Dog Races" [Dog races Lake Placid-Lake Placid, NY] c.1935-1936
Total running time: 04:41 
AF199 Rightfield (9) "Filmo Library-The Wild Flowers of Yosemite National Park" c.1927-1930
Total running time: 04:30 
AF41 Leftfield (7) Unprocessed film, not on DVD 
AF196 Catcher (2) Kodak Cinegraph-Preview of Available Titles (Daffy Doings/The Milky-Way) c.1928-1931
Total running time: 00:49 
AF187 Thirdbase (5) "Castle Films Pope Pius XII" 1939
Total running time: 15:51 
AF193 Firstbase (3) "Kodak Cinegraph-The Alhambra No. 1532" c.1928-1931
Total running time: 00:29 
AF156 Pinch Hitter "Chestnut Street Day 1939"
Total running time: 00:57 
AF188 Centerfield (8) Not transferable to DVD due to the condition of the original film. 
AF189 Pitcher (1) Not transferable to DVD due to the condition of the original film. 
AF144 Pinch Hitter "Harriet Adams' Wedding-June 23, 1934"
Total running time: 04:30 





12-26-2006 16:13:02   
Lineup: Archivists
Katie Trainor     LF
Snowden Becker    3B
Andrew Lampert    SS
Dwight Swanson    CF
Diana Little      2B
Chad Hunter       1B
Brian Graney      RF
Leslie Trumball   C
Laurie Austen     P
Lineup: Home Movies
AF46              SS
AF36              2B
AF199             RF
AF41              LF
AF196             C
AF187             3B
AF193             1B
AF188             CF
AF189             P
     Inn. 1: Archivists
[Starter] AF189
Katie Trainor     3 (Foul)   . . .
Snowden Becker    5-3        . . .
Andrew Lampert    6-3        . . .
     Inn. 1: Home Movies
[Starter] Laurie Austen
AF46              7          . . .
AF36              5-3        . . .
AF199             1B         . . X
AF41              E-5        . X X
AF196             3-1        X X .
     Inn. 2: Archivists
Dwight Swanson    7          . . .
Diana Little      6-3        . . .
Chad Hunter       E-6        . . X
Brian Graney      6-3        . X .
     Inn. 2: Home Movies
AF187             8          . . .
AF193             3-1        . . .
AF188             5          . . .
     Inn. 3: Archivists
Leslie Trumball   7          . . .
Laurie Austen     4-3        . . .
Katie Trainor     1-3        . . .
     Inn. 3: Home Movies
AF189             5-3        . . .
AF46              5-3        . . .
AF36              5-3        . . .
     Inn. 4: Archivists
Snowden Becker    6-3        . . .
Andrew Lampert    1B         . . X
Dwight Swanson    1B         . X X
Diana Little      4          . X X
Chad Hunter       5-3        X X .
     Inn. 4: Home Movies
AF199             1B         . . X
AF41              6          . . X
AF196             6-4-3 DP   . . .
     Inn. 5: Archivists
Brian Graney      2B         . X .
Leslie Trumball   1B         . . X
X@4:Brian Graney  8-2        . . X
Laurie Austen     3-1 SAC    . X .
Katie Trainor     4-3        X . .
     Inn. 5: Home Movies
AF187             1B         . . X
AF193             E-2        . X X
AF188             K          . X X
AF189             2-3 SAC    X X .
AF46              HBP        X X X
AF36              2B         . X . 3
AF199             4          . X .
     Inn. 6: Archivists
Snowden Becker    4-3        . . .
Andrew Lampert    7          . . .
Dwight Swanson    E-4        . . X
Diana Little      BB         . X X
Chad Hunter       7          . X X
     Inn. 6: Home Movies
AF41              7          . . .
AF196             BB         . . X
AF187             K          . . X
AF193             8          . . X
     Inn. 7: Archivists
Brian Graney      HBP        . . X
Leslie Trumball   1B         . X X
Laurie Austen     3-1 SAC    X X .
Katie Trainor     1B         . . X 2
Snowden Becker    1B         X . X
Andrew Lampert    3-4 FO     X . X
Dwight Swanson    5-3        . X .
     Inn. 7: Home Movies
AF188             7          . . .
AF189             7          . . .
AF46              6-3        . . .
     Inn. 8: Archivists
Diana Little      7          . . .
Chad Hunter       5-3        . . .
Brian Graney      9          . . .
     Inn. 8: Home Movies
AF36              5-3        . . .
AF199             3          . . .
AF41              K          . . .
     Inn. 9: Archivists
Leslie Trumball   1B         . . X
*EX:Laurie Austen (for PH)
*PH:bench17       5-4-3 DP   . . .
Katie Trainor     1B         . . X
Snowden Becker    2B         . X . 1
Andrew Lampert    6-3        . X .
     Inn. 9: Home Movies
[Relief] Megan MacNeil
AF196             6-3        . . .
AF187             BB         . . X
*EX:AF193 (for PH)
*PH:AF156         4UN-3 DP   . . .
     Inn. 10: Archivists
Dwight Swanson    HR         . . . 1
Diana Little      5-3        . . .
Chad Hunter       6          . . .
Brian Graney      1B         . . X
Leslie Trumball   1B         . X X
Megan MacNeil     1B         . X X 1
Katie Trainor     6-3        X X .
     Inn. 10: Home Movies
AF188             5-3        . . .
*EX:AF189 (for PH)
*PH:AF144         7          . . .
AF46              1B         . . X
AF36              8          . . X

Archivists Win, 5-3


Personal Cosmic Baseball Game
Published: December 30, 2006

The game's linescore indicates no runs were scored during the game's first phase (innings 1,2 & 3). The home team Home Movies scored three runs during the second third of the game (innings 4, 5, & 6; all Home Movie runs were scored in the 5th inning). The visiting Archivists scored three runs in the third phase of the game (2 in the 7th and 1 in the 9th). Because the game was tied after the standard nine innings the contest moved to extra innings. In the 10th inning, the visitors scored two runs and the home team was unable to rally in the bottom of the tenth.

The Home Movies were more efficient in their run production scoring three runs on five hits and stranding five base runners while it took the Archivists 14 hits to score five runs and they left eleven potential runs on the bases. Only one home run was hit and that was a decisive event occurring in the extra tenth inning. Both teams were somewhat clumsy in the defensive realm, committing a combined four errors, although three double plays were also completed. All three runs by the Home Movies were unearned.

The Archivists pitchers won this game as much as the appropriately timed offensive work. Starter Laurie Austen pitched a strong eight innings, walked one Home Movie batter and struck out three. Laurie did hit one Home Movie (AF46), which played a role in the Home Movies scoring their three unearned runs in the fifth inning (and so did Leslie Trumbull's (Laurie's battery-mate) error earlier in the inning.) Home Movie starter AF189 went the full distance pitching all ten innings. Remarkably not one Archivist was struck out by AF189 and only one got to first base via a base-on-balls.

AF36's ("Dog Races" [Dog races Lake Placid-Lake Placid, NY] c.1935-1936 Total running time: 04:41) double in the fifth inning accounted for all three of the Home Movies' runs. AF36 is apparently home movie footage of "dog races" shot in Lake Placid, New York. Since we have not seen any of the footage represented by game players we assume the home movie depicts dog sled races which were popular in the region. In the 1932, Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid, the 25-mile dog sled race was an exhibition event. New York's Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt made a speech: "It is an evidence of the age of our modern civilization that the Olympics date back nearly 2,800 years. ... I hereby proclaim open the third Olympic winter games celebrating the tenth Olympiad of the modern era." AF36 had a chance to ties the game up in the bottom of the tenth inning. There were two outs and AF46 ("Picnic" [Picnicking and Boating-Saranac Lake, NY] c.1935-1938, Total running time: 04:35) was on first base having just launched a single into left field. AF36 comes to the plate representing the tying run. The count is worked full and Megan MacNeil delivers a fastball that AF36 connects with...and it sails into the glove of Dwight Swanson in dead center over. The Dog Race home movie flied out to center and left the home movie of a Phillips family Picnic stranded on first base.

There is enough in this game to warrant a review by the Committee on Metaphors and Meanings but the chance of that happening during the off-season is slim. On one level, it is a simple game between humanoids and non-humanoids. On another level, it is about history, artifacts and the disingenuous attempt to find relevance where none exists. Home movies by an entitled family living in a maritime town known for its attachment to material objects may not be for everyone. Was Salem, Massachusetts in its prime a place of festering greed and corruption...characteristics that contributed to its brief but worldly success? Who wants to watch home movies of a family of privilege at Harriet Adams' wedding (AH144)?

Salem, like other towns has made a business out of preserving historical structures, in particular houses. A number of historic houses attract a number of visitors to the town making tourism one of Salem's economic products. The House of the Seven Gables and the house of the man who wrote about the House of the Seven Gables are popular tourist spots.

The real people who archived these home movies of the rich and the real people who are promoting the sanctity of the home move genre are to be congratulated for briefly coalescing and winning this cosmic baseball game.

2001 Bolex Poetics Team Roster

Metadata Note
The dates used to chronologically order the home movies in the various Phillips collections were taken from holographic dates appearing on the boxes containing the film on reels. When a date was not on the containers the edge codes stamped on the edges of the film provided the year of the film stock's manufacture.

Related Links

The Phillips House in Salem (Apollo Magazine, Oct. 2006)

Phillips Collection Home Movie Catalog [PDF File]

Public Domain Enhancement Act

Anthology Film Archives History

Home Movie Day

Association of Moving Image Archivists

Home Movie Transfers of 8mm, Super 8mm, and 9.5 Film

Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund

History- Art of Memory

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