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Home Movie Day preserves your dusty, campy memories

On Saturday, the city will perform its annual cleansing of dusty trunks and cobwebbed corners of the attic, where treasured footage of bar mitzvah ties and frizzy prom hair are waiting for new life.

The N.C. Archives on Jones Street downtown holds its 14th Home Movie Day from 1 to 4 p.m., inviting amateur videographers to bring in their recorded treasures in all varieties from Super 8mm to VHS, where they can view a five-minute sample on the big screen and get their classics transferred to a more modern format.

The event that once drew only a handful of hardcore audio-visual geeks now regularly draws into the hundreds.

“The enduring power of weird old things,” said Devin Orgeron, film history and theory professor at N.C. State University and longtime collaborator.

Aside from the joy of watching long-dead relatives revived on the big screen, or long-faded hairlines restored to youthful fullness, the event celebrates the home movie as quirky art form – fun even for spectators who aren’t caught on camera.

One popular feature is Home Movie Bingo, Orgeron said, in which viewers compete for prizes by filling out cards marked by some of the more common staples of home movies: straw hats, Bermuda shorts, men smoking pipes. Organizers handed out fliers to a senior citizen center this year in hopes the residents would arrive by bus for a field trip.

The event also features motion picture archivists who can answer questions on proper movie storage. A digital transfer of all samples will be provided either as a downloadable file or a DVD mailed later. As the archives notes in its news release: “It’s not just historically significant – it’s fun!”

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