The Academy Film Archive

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesIn the winter 2015 quarter, I interned at the Academy Film Archive. While there I reeled through home movies on deposit from the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), filling out more complete inventory records. The initial records in the Academy’s database were very sparse, and my task was to examine the films and add more detail to the records.

I made detailed notes on the condition of the films, and repaired the films when

necessary. To identify the film, I had to use what was written on the can and I had to look at the film as I was reeling through it. In nearly all cases, the labels from the cans and the contents were the same, but I also researched landmarks or places to be included in the film’s record.

While I was there I also had the opportunity to visit JANM, where we assisted the

Several frames of film from a home movie, taken while inventorying films at the Academy Film Archive
The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ

museum staff in organizing and inventorying several on the home movies still in their possession. The films had to be entered into JANM’s database so that they could be moved into storage at the Academy.

One of the most exciting opportunities I had while interning at the Academy happened when I got the chance to join the Home Movie Curator, Lynne Kirstie, at a color-correcting session at Modern Videofilm. The Academy had recently digitized several reels of home movies from child star Jane Withers. I was able to help determine the correct projection speed, and I also received firsthand experience with determining color in home movies.