Report Home Movie Day 2013

Last Saturday, 19th October it was International Home Movie Day, the yearly event celebrating amateur film. Like in the previous years, various amateur films and family films were screened in many cities around the world, among which Amsterdam (EYE Film Institute) and Ghent (Huis van Alijn).

In EYE Film Institute Amsterdam this year’s theme was: ‘Live and work abroad / Dutch in foreign’. The theme perfectly connects to EYE’s current exhibition ‘Looming Fire’ by media artist and filmmaker Péter Forgács on amateur film in the former Dutch Indies (1900-1940).

The home movie day in EYE was started with an introduction held by collection specialist Dorette Schootemeijer on the theme of ‘Live and work abroad’. From the 1920s, with the introduction of small film gauges such as 9,5mm (Pathé) and 16mm (Kodak), amateur film increasingly became a popular middle class practice. Besides capturing domestic family life, amateur film also enabled people living abroad to document their ‘expat’ lives and show it to their families back at home. A large part of EYE’s unique collection of amateur film footage exists of such films made in the former Dutch colonies. In many cases the material is ‘orphaned’, that means: without information about the owner of the films and the families portrayed.

Besides films from EYE’s own collection also amateur films from the Expatriate Archive Center in The Hague and the audience itself were screened. During these screenings contextual information about the shown family events was provided, which gave many nice perspectives on everyday life practices in the former Dutch colonies of Indonesia and Curaçao in the period 1920-1940s.

After lunch break film maker, collector and YouTube-phenomenon IJsbrand Rogge presented some of the films he made during his ‘expat’-life in Asia during the 1950s and 1960s. Rogge made more than 80 films in total during these years, which he eventually uploaded on his YouTube channel a couple of years ago. With great success: his channel has been watched by millions of people all over the world ever since. His films present unique historical footage from places like Hong Hong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.


During EYE’s Home Movie Day two special films by IJsbrand Rogge were screened in their original state. After the screenings there was a Q&A with the audience, moderated by Guy Edmonds. For the occasion Rogge had brought his first 9.5mm film camera as well as some other special material from his private collection, which was exhibited on a large table in front of the cinema screen.

During the events, like on previous home movie days, the company SuperSens was active all day digitizing amateur film material brought in by various families in order to preserve these precious memories for future generations.

(This report was originally published at the home movies project weblog: