With only a home movie projector, Director Chris Esper takes his audience back in time with his short documentary, YESTERYEAR.
Esper’s film is a brilliant piece of nostalgia – capturing much simpler times – in a much simpler world.
At one time, watching home movies was a family event. The excitement of putting the movie screen up (or perhaps a sheet on the wall) to view ourselves in motion – was priceless. With the click of the projector, the 8mm film reel and the dust particles floating outside the lighted lens, our moving images were propelled onto the wall in sheer delight.
Fast forward to the year 2020 and these same images now become a meaningful piece of our family history.
Esper challenged himself, and his audience, by creating a poignant piece of storytelling – with no script, no actors and no sets. The editing (Esper) creates just the right flow and the score (Steven Lanning-Cafaro) is layered perfectly into the footage.
Esper captures in us unexpected feelings and memories that stem from watching theirs. We connect to these unfamiliar faces – as if they’re our own family members. The quiet intimacy we share with these new families is personal. They captivate and bring us into their world – frame by frame – smile by smile.
Celebration of momentous occasions in life brings us all together. Their childhood Christmas mornings – become ours. We see our children, grandparents, parents, nieces and nephews in their faces. These strangers reach out and touch us all.
When the film ends there is a reflection on the experience and who these people were. Who did these children grow up to be? Who in the footage is no longer with us? Was their life a happy one after the camera stopped rolling?
The movie projector is our time capsule. Hairstyles, clothing, cars – even the toys under the Christmas tree, transports us back to those years. Through the magic of home movies, we are frozen in time.
There’s a mystery in each frame of film footage that allows us to be forever the age which is captured on screen. These precious movies pay homage to the life we’ve lived – alongside the people we’ve loved.