Our Collection

My Father's Camera

Top of page

Home movies and their unique place in popular culture are the subject of My Father's Camera. Director Karen Shopsowitz weaves the history of home movies together with footage shot by her father--amateur filmmaker Israel Shopsowitz. Equipped with her dad's old Super 8 camera, Karen traces the history of home movies from the 1920s through to the amateur explosion of the '30s and '40s and beyond. She interviews a lively line-up of scholars and collectors, such as early members of the Toronto Film Club, a Japanese-American archivist who sees home movies as an expression of cultural diversity and a collector who hosts popular Webcasts that highlight new acquisitions.

This entertaining documentary illustrates how "history makes its way into the frame": a musician and amateur filmmaker in Duke Ellington's band picks up racist graffiti while touring the Canadian West in the '40s. Israel Shopsowitz's camera records a billboard in Times Square as it flashes out news of the Nuremberg trials. While making deft references to her father's films, Karen emphasizes the personal worth she places on home movies, while reflecting on their enduring cultural value.

2000, 59 min 28 s

Top of page

Peabody Award
Peabody Awards Competition
May 20 2002, Athens - USA

Bronze Plaque Award - Category: The Humanities
International Film and Video Festival
October 23 to 26 2001, Columbus - USA

Certificate of Merit - Category: History
Golden Gate Awards Competition & International Film Festival
April 19 to May 3 2001, San Francisco - USA

Top of page