Drop Off Home Movies for the South Side Home Movies Project

A film preservation and visual history project, the South Side Home Movie Project is an initiative to collect, preserve, digitize, exhibit, and document home movies made by residents of Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods. Over 200 home movies, spanning more than half a century of South Side visual history, are available to view online. SSHMP seeks to increase understanding of the many histories and cultures comprising Chicago’s South Side, and of amateur filmmaking practices, by asking owners of home movies (shot on 8mm, Super8mm, 16mm film) to share their footage and describe it from their personal perspectives.

“Home movies are unique documents of cultural and social history, of everyday life on the South Side,” says professor Jacqueline Stewart, SSHMP founder and director (University of Chicago, Department of Cinema & Media Studies). “They illuminate the diversity of South Side family and community experiences.”

SSHMP aims to build an alternative, accessible visual record, filling gaps in existing written and visual histories, and ensuring that the diverse experiences and perspectives of South Siders will be available to larger audiences and to future generations.

"We are frequently approached by documentary filmmakers who have difficulty finding footage of family life in Chicago, particularly among African Americans, during this time period," Stewart adds. “The movies we collect are intimate, first-hand visual records of work and play, of traditions and spontaneous acts. And they activate memories, crucial knowledge, and expertise that too often goes unrecognized.”

Participants can drop off home movies at the Logan Center security desk (915 E. 60th Street) Mon–Sat from 8am to 10pm and Sun from 11am to 9pm. Home movies will be assessed for free, and contributors who allow SSHMP to archive their home movies with state-of-the- art preservation will receive a free digital copy.