Detroit Home Movie Marathon

Detroit Home Movies is a year-long project to uncover and exhibit home movies made around 1967 that depict everyday life in Detroit's diverse communities. The project, a partnership of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Free Press, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Wayne State University’s Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Detroit Historical Society and Bridge magazine, is dedicated to observing and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of Detroit's 1967 rebellion. 


On July 29, the Detroit Film Theatre will present a marathon screening selected from the hundreds of 8mm film reels that have been submitted to date. The films will be shown unedited, with live commmentary by family members, and grouped into 45 minute chapters in chronological order.

The interludes between chapters will be punctuated with performances by veteran Detroit musicians and spoken-word artists.

About the Detroit Home Movies Project

This project calls on the greater Detroit community to loan family (or found) home movies to the DFT, which will present them in weekly public screenings beginning in January 2017. Selected films will be included in a program created by the Detroit Free Press for the 2017 Freep Film Festival (March 3–April 2) and a marathon screening of films will be presented as part of the 2017 DFT summer schedule, beginning on July 29. Film lenders will receive a digital copy of their celluloid originals, and the Reuther Library and the Wright Museum will select films to enter their permanent collections.

Knight Foundation
This program is made possible with the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Detroit Home Movies FAQ

How do I submit my home movies?  

The first step is to fill out the online Detroit Home Movies submission form. It includes your contact information and a few questions about your films and family history. Once you’ve completed the form, a DIA staff person will contact you to discuss making arrangements to loan your home movie to the DFT. Film submissions can also be arranged by phone at (313) 833-8687 or by emailing

Why is the DFT interested in home movies made in Detroit around 1967, and how will they be used? 

The Detroit Home Movies project is calling on the greater Detroit community to submit home movies for public screenings at the DFT with the goal of exploring the past through a multitude of personal histories. Submitted films will be considered a temporary loan to the DIA, and starting in January 2017 hold weekly screenings using the original 8 & 16mm celluloid prints. Selected films will be included in a program during the Freep Documentary Film Festival and, beginning on July 29, the DFT will present a marathon screening of submitted films.

What types of film is the DFT looking for?

We are looking for home movies or other types of amateur films shot in Detroit around 1967 on 8mm, super 8 or 16mm size formats. We are also interested in digital copies transferred from originals and, in some instances, early video tapes.

What kinds of filmed subjects is the DFT looking for?

We are looking for any subjects that were filmed in or around 1967. The goal is to find a diverse cross section of moving images of Detroit that contextualize the events of July 1967. 

Will I still retain ownership of my film footage?  

Yes, although you will be granting the DIA the right to use your film for this project in a written loan agreement. Lenders will retain the rights to their film for personal use or future public projects not outlined in the 1967 Detroit Home Movies exhibition project.  

What if I don't know the type of film, subject matter or time period 

when my film was made?  

This is common situation and the Detroit Home Movie project is interested in hearing about your reels even if you don't know when they were made or the subjects that were filmed. Film formats, such as 8mm, were considered obsolete by the 1980s, when it became difficult to find this projection equipment. If your film has become a mystery, we’ll provide a description of the subject matter before its screened to the public.

Will I be paid for loaning my films to the DFT?  

All loans will be on a voluntary basis and lenders will not be paid compensation. You will receive a digital copy of your film and credit at DFT public screenings. Selected films will enter the permanent collection of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs.