In Wendy Clarke’s ambitious Love Tapes project, which ran from the late-1970s through the 1990s, participants are invited to speak on camera, for exactly three minutes, about what love means to them. In each of these brief segments we witness emotions foundational to the human experience: elation, longing, confusion, sadness, and everything in between. The speakers are unrehearsed and authentic, representing people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and social backgrounds. The Love Tapes challenge our current understanding of the cinematic canon and use non-narrative methods to tell stories that are too often overlooked by mainstream productions.
The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research is home to the Wendy Clarke collection, which includes 255 Love Tapes. The Center has begun a project to digitize all the video footage and create a website to share these stories publicly. Many questions have arisen during this work. What are best practices for creating digital files from ten different video formats? How do we honor the privacy of video subjects? How can we describe the content in a way that is both empathetic and practical? We look forward to sharing our progress and discussing these issues with members of the FIAF community.

Amanda Smith
Head film archivist
Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, USA

She is an instructor for graduate students in the archives track at the UW-Madison Information School. Previously, Amanda was the cinematic arts cataloger at USC’s Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive. She holds a master’s degree in Moving Image Archive Studies from UCLA and a BA in Geology from Colby College.