FILM ARCHIVES UK joins worldwide 24hr film marathon!

Film Archive UK Members join worldwide 24hr Home Movie Marathon to celebrate World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

12 noon GMT on World Day for Audio Visual Heritage, Sunday October 27th 2019, heralded the start of a 24 Hour Home Movie Marathon and a unique focus and celebration of footage from archives and individuals right across the world – a simultaneous world-wide project. This was the culmination of an ambitious project lead by 3 curators, Karianne Fiorini in Italy, Salvi Vivancos in Spain and Virginia-based Dwight Swanson.


Every hour saw the audience ‘transported’ further west dipping into another time zone on a wonderful ‘home movie journey’ right round the world with footage including Brazil, Chile, the USA, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Samoa 12 hrs on marked by New Zealand, then on to Vanuta, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Nepal, India, Seychelles, Iran, South Africa and France.

This was a great opportunity for Film Archives UK Members :  East Anglian Film Archive,  Yorkshire and North East Film Archive  North West Film Archive  Media Archive for Central England  London’s Screen Archives   Northern Ireland’s Digital Film Archive  and Irish Film Institute to showcase some of their content on a worldwide stage.

It also provided an opportunity for archives to share content and open up a dialogue between the organisations and individuals who work to preserve and provide access to the world’s audiovisual heritage – from New Zealand to Nashville, Ireland to Israel and from Thailand to Tennessee
The plan was to compile one hour of home movies from each time zone in a 24-hour webcast on the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
The program’s theme was “People & Places: Home Movies of Where We Live” showing how home movies depict life in places where they were created, what they can show about the individuals and
cultures that inspired them and how amateur films can be both intimate and global at the same time—showing what is unique to a place, but also universal.

A Birth in Flanders*
A Wedding in Mexico*


This was a tremendous feat and some tribute should be made to the small, dedicated team who work so tirelessly to put this project together:



Project curatorial team: Karianne Fiorini Reframing Home Movies Dwight Swanson (United States, the Center for Home Movies) and Salvi Vivancos (La Red del Cine DomesticoMemorias Celuloides )
and the Time Zone Curators: Kate Dollenmayer, Melissa Dollman, Brenda Flora, Arianna Mencaroni (ICNOVA), Pamela Vadakan.

FAUK caught up with Dwight Swanson following the event and posed a few questions:

Curator, Dwight Swanson

Who came up with the idea?
“In April 2018 I posted an idea on my personal Facebook page about an online communal Home Movie Day event where people would do live feeds of their Home Movie Day events. My friend Martin Johnson (a film studies professor at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill) immediately came up with the idea of a 24-hour live program.”

How long did it all take to prepare?

“After some behind-the-scenes discussions, the first time anything was said publicly about the idea was a the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ conference in December 2018. For the next few months the focus was on contacting archival organizations like SEAPAVAA, FIAF, and CCAAA so that there would be buy-in from the international archives that we didn’t already have contact with.”

What funding/support did you have?
“FIAF provided important support by sending out messages to its members telling them about the marathon, and giving it its seal of approval. That was very important in giving the project legitimacy. Late in the game, AMIA gave us financial support, but the vast majority of the work was done by a team of volunteer curators and countless contributions from the archives, who all gave very generously of their time and resources. We hired one designer and two editors, who worked at much less than their usual rate, but otherwise everyone was a volunteer, keeping the budget of the project to essentially nothing.”

What was the aim of the project?
“There were three main goals. First, to strengthen the network of archives that collect and preserve home movies. We had been in contact with many of them in the past, but having this project to focus on gave us the motivation to reach out to many more that we had not worked with before, and whose collections we didn’t know. Secondly, we wanted the webcast itself to be a unique and fun event that would trigger peoples’ imaginations and cast a spotlight on home movies and home movie preservation.”

How many archives/individuals were involved?

“The final program included films from 77 archives and organizations and 9 individuals, though we contacted many more in the process. We were able to include at least one film from virtually all of the archives that we worked with.”

How many films featured – covering from which year to when?

“The webcast includes 198 films ranging from the 1910s to 2014. We weren’t specifically seeking to cover an entire century, but since home movies and home videos have now been around for that long, it just happened that people sent us films from the entire history of personal documentation.”

So how did the 24 Home Movie Marathon go?
“The process of accumulating the films was a huge task, but thankfully the team of curators–particularly Karianne Fiorini in Italy and Salvi Vivancos in Spain–really stepped up to an amazing degree to fill the 24 hours with content, and then make the choices to construct the programs. On the day of the webcast, behind the scenes it was extremely stressful, since there were so many elements to juggle-the hundreds of files, the metadata, and a whole range of programs and websites, many of which were very temperamental. Hopefully none of this was evident to the viewers, and we were getting a lot of great responses from people on social media. We weren’t as successful as we had hoped to encourage public screenings–though there were several–we found out during the event that a group in Guadalajara, Spain was doing their own outdoor screening with projectors and monitors, and even DJs. They sent us joyous videos and really made us happy to see what people could do to make the event their own.”

What response have you had?
“During and immediately after the webcast we were getting a lot of positive responses on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and by email. We were monitoring the numbers of viewers on YouTube and Facebook and while we didn’t know where they were coming from, there were always people watching online somewhere in the world.”

What, do you think, has the project achieved?
“The development of the network might be the most important long-term result, and hopefully it will result in many future collaborations, but the end result–this massive compilation of films of such diversity–is really an amazing accomplishment and we are encouraging people to watch it again outside of the context of the “event” and see what it says about home movies and culture geography, and humanity.”

So, would you do it again?!
“It is to soon to even begin thinking about it, since it was so much work, but I would be disappointed if there weren’t some follow-up. I don’t know if it would be in the same form or maybe something smaller and more regionally focused. When I look at the list of films that we weren’t able to include because there simply wasn’t enough time in so many of the time zones–all I can think is that there is so much more that can be done……”

We are grateful to Dwight, Karianne and Salvi for their hard work and dedication to pull this project together and it was good to see so many archives across the world being involved. It’s clear this passion for preserving our unique audiovisual heritage is shared the world over.
As Dwight explained, this project has sown the seeds to develop a new worldwide network and put more archives and individuals in touch. If you missed it or want to enjoy it again, The Home Movie Day and Night webcast will be available here until Monday, November 11th 2019. Thereafter it will be available upon request.

You can contact Dwight Swanson at

*please note, the author, Jane Jarvis apologises as she was unable to check on titles and archive credits for these images. If you can help, please get in touch Thank you.