An Oddball Trove of Celluloid Dreams - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because every film — no matter how odd — needs a home. 

By Tom Gorman

In the digital age, Oddball Films is a serious throwback. It’s here, in San Francisco’s Mission District, where some of the most eccentric films ever made go to retire.

Its warehouse is stuffed to the rafters with meticulously labeled film cans — amateur home movies, experimental Eastern European music films, vintage ethnographic excursions and outlandish historical propaganda — and boxes upon boxes marked “to be sorted.” Owner Stephen Parr describes most of his 50,000 titles — largely still on 16 mm film or tape — as “cinematic orphans,” discarded and often forgotten by the very filmmakers who made them. Parr’s archive of celluloid ephemera isn’t merely an exercise in sentimentality, either: It’s become a unique stock footage house, providing those hard-to-find gems to filmmakers, documentarians and industrial producers.

Want to check out the quirkiness? Every Thursday and Friday night at 8 p.m., Oddball curates a new collection of offbeat curios for the public.

Sign up for the weekly newsletter!

Related Stories