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"Crowd coming out of Regal movie theater. Southside of Chicago, Illinois" (Detail)
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The South Side Home Movie Project is dedicated to preserving and circulating the stories told in moving pictures shot by Chicago’s diverse South Side residents. Through an online archive, oral history projects, and public programs, we will collaborate with neighborhood filmmakers, families, and community organizations, as well as educators, students and researchers of all backgrounds, to promote dialogue and scholarship inspired by the South Side’s rich visual and cultural histories.
Although home movies are often dismissed as “amateur” photography, these and other community films contain a wealth of information about the ways in which people have represented themselves and their views of the world. They show us how people dress and pose, work and play, travel and learn, celebrate and organize, raise their children and even mourn their dead. These films also jog memories, and incite conversations about people, practices, locations and events that are not always captured in official histories.
The South Side Home Movie Project seeks to bring materials typically kept in private collections into public light and discussion. We are currently seeking films that reflect the South Side’s racial and ethnic diversity (i.e., Bronzeville, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bridgeport, Hyde Park), as well as its varied architecture, class composition, personal styles and cultural practices (including celebrations, dance, sports, home décor, culinary arts). By gathering and exhibiting these films, and collecting related oral histories, this project seeks to document and to make more widely accessible the many kinds of stories South Siders have to tell.
While we are happy to archive primary materials (8mm, Super 8mm or 16mm film), we encourage contributors to keep their original materials in their own family and community collections. To this end, we can make digital copies of materials for our archives, return the originals, and provide information about optimal methods of film preservation and storage.
To make a contribution to the South Side Home Movie Project, please contact:
Committee on Cinema and Media Studies
University of Chicago
5845 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637