York U Libraries to digitize, archive home movies of Indigenous and visible minorities

The Regent Park Film Festival in partnership with Charles Street Video (CSV) and York University Libraries has launched a nationwide project Home Made Visible, to address an important gap in national archives.

Home movies capture important memories for families; they also provide insight into the history of communities and family relations. Currently, archives in Canada lack a repository of home movies from Indigenous people and visible minorities.

As old film reels and videotapes threaten to fall apart with time, Home Made Visible seeks out, preserves and celebrates this important history.

The project launches with a collection phase, asking Indigenous and visible minority individuals to find their old tapes, and send them to Home Made Visible for free digitization. In return, project organizers request that those submitting material select a short excerpt from their home movies and donate a copy of it to the York University Libraries for archiving. All rights to home movies remain with the participating individual or families.

Working with Charles Street Video, the project will commission six media artworks. Three Indigenous and three visible minority filmmakers will be invited to make work that reflects on how our diverse histories converge on this land, and how can we re-imagine the terms in which we shape our shared future.

“So much of the stories that are told about Indigenous and visible minorities are about adversity, and those are important stories to tell,” said Ananya Ohri, artistic director, Home Made Visible and executive director of the Regent Park Film Festival. “What is also important is the strength, the flare, the play, the joy that makes up who we are, and home movies are a great way to remember that.”

The completed works by the filmmakers and selected home movie footage for which the project has permission, will be toured across library systems in Canada.

“Our involvement with Home Made Visible aligns with our strategic objectives at York University, especially collaborative community engagement that result in societal benefit,” said Joy Kirchner, dean of Libraries, York University Libraries.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35-million investment, the council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

More about the project and its partners

Home Made Visible
Home Made Visible works to preserve the personal history of Indigenous and visible minority communities and to explore how archives have the power to shape who we become and how we relate to one another.

Regent Park Film Festival
Regent Park Film Festival is Toronto’s only free community film festival. In addition to the annual film festival and Under the Stars: Movies in the Park, it hosts year-round film screenings, school programs and workshops, all at no cost.

Charles Street Video
Charles Street Video (CSV) is a non-profit production organization established in 1981 to help support media artists. It provides affordable access to equipment and post-production editing facilities for creating videos, films, installations and other media art forms. It regularly offers workshops, training sessions, and residencies. It’s ethos is largely focused on encouraging an artisan, ‘do-it-yourself’ professionalism.

York University Libraries
York University Libraries is the library system of York University. The four main libraries and one archive contain more than 2,500,000 volumes. York University Libraries is the stewardship of York’s research assets, with a focus on the active selection, storage, preservation, and sharing of its collections.

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