South Side Home Movie Project


Got any old home movies?

Contribute your film reels to the South Side Home Movie Project by clicking this link.  Ask about our free digitization service!

The South Side Home Movie Project seeks people with home movies on film (8mm, Super-8, 16mm) to build a visual archive of the diverse histories and cultures of Chicago’s South Side.

Why do we want old home movies?

Home movies contain a wealth of information about everyday life and public events from the perspectives of community residents.  Films of birthday parties and parades, graduations and picnics give us glimpses of family and community life that are often left out of history books.  Home movies show us how people and places have changed over the years.  They document the South Side’s rich diversity and inspire us to tell our own stories.

Unfortunately, these fragile films and videotapes, and the memories they evoke, are in danger of fading if they are not preserved and shared.

We seek to get home movies out of closets, attics, basements, and garages across the South Side so that they can be seen and appreciated widely.

Images courtesy of Nicholas Osborn

What will we do with the movies?

We want to preserve them to ensure that they will survive for generations to come.  We will make the films accessible to anyone seeking to learn more about Chicago’s South Side by creating an online archive and by hosting community-based screeenigns where people can see and discuss these unique visual documents. We can also create a digital video copy for you to keep and share with family and friends.

How can you participate in the South Side Home Movie Project?

You can choose to participate through one or more of the following activities:

Have your films inspected.  If you have original film reels and/or videotapes, we can assess their physical shape and advise you on optimal storage conditions.

Participate in an interview.  Tell us about your home movies.  When were they made?  Who appears in them?  What neighborhoods do they show?  We will provide a set of questions in advance and give you some time to recall names, dates, and locations that help to describe the footage.

Contribute to the online archive.  Feature your home movies on our website, along with information about the people and places they document. 

Screen your films.  Show your films at public screenings, where you and other participants are invited to contribute to a dialogue about the films and the memories they evoke.

Donate your films.  We are happy to accept original films and videos into our physical archive to preserve these unique historical treasures. If you would like to donate your films to us please fill out this form and someone will contact you!