Did your childhood include weekend matinees at the Arcadia? Did you take your date to the Sunset Theatre? Did you attend movie premieres? Were you an extra in a local movie production? Did your family shoot home movies of your lives in and around the city of Dallas? If so, join the University of North Texas Libraries and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image for the unique opportunity to turn your family histories into community histories!

Who: Spotlight on North Texas is funded by a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Participating institutions include archivists and libraries from The University of North Texas Libraries, The Texas Archive of the Moving Image, and Top Ten Records.

What: Spotlight on North Texas is a community history program that provides free digitization and long-term digital preservation of materials related to North Texas motion picture history, including

  • home movies
  • local television commercials
  • student films
  • photographs of movie theaters and movie events
  • ephemera related to movie screenings and premieres

After successfully preserving Denton County motion picture histories in 2016, we are turning our attention to the City of Dallas with a special focus on Oak Cliff.

Dallas has been a presence in the motion picture industry since the inception of moving pictures. In the early days of cinema, the “Hollywood of the Southwest” was the center of our region’s motion picture distribution and claimed its own independent artists, filmmakers, and a thriving educational and advertising film market.

Oak Cliff is one of Dallas’ oldest and most diverse neighborhoods and has been home to numerous movie theaters including the historic Texas Theatre, which first opened in 1931. It is also home to our partners, Top Ten Records, the longest-running record store in Dallas. Established in 1956, Top Ten remains open as a non-profit company that combines music, film, archiving and a membership library.

Top Ten Records
338 W. Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208      

When: Saturday May 19, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

How: Bring your home movies and materials related to Dallas motion picture history to Top Ten Records. Trained librarians and archivists from UNT Libraries will scan your print materials onsite and immediately return the originals along with a free digital copy. The Texas Archive of the Moving Image will inspect and collect your film and videos, which will be digitized off-site and returned by mail to the owners at no cost, along with a digital copy.

TAMI and UNT will retain a digital copy of the materials for long-term preservation. With a selection of digitized items, UNT will create a community collection on the Portal to Texas History, which will document or local and regional heritage. A selection of materials will also be placed online as part of TAMI’s digital collection. Thousands of materials have already been preserved by these institutions and can be viewed online at www.texashistory.unt.edu and www.texasarchive.org

To qualify for free digitization, film, and video must:

  • Be one of the following film formats: Super 8, 8mm, 16mm
  • Be one of the following video formats: VHS, VHS-C, SVHS, Betamax Beta-SP, ¾” U-matic tapes, Hi-8 tapes, 8mm tapes, and mini-DV cassettes
  • Relate to the history and culture of Texas because they were filmed in Texas, filmed by a Texan, or featured Texas or Texans
  • Be submitted by the copyright holder, who grants permission for the films/videos to be shared by TAMI and UNT or be in the public domain
  • Total no more than 1,000 feet of film and five videotapes per household.
  • Don’t know how much film you have? You can make a good estimate using the following guidelines. Use a ruler to measure all the way across the reel. Then use the chart below to estimate how much film you have.

8 mm film


16 mm film

 Reel Size

 Length if Full


 Reel Size

 Length if Full

 3 in.

 50 ft.


 3 ½ in.

 50 ft.

 5 in. 

 200 ft.


 10 ½ in.

 1000 ft.

 5 ¾ in.

 250 ft.


 14 in.

 1800 ft.

 7 in.

 400 ft.


 15 in.

 2300 ft.


To qualify for free digitization, print materials must:

  • Document the motion picture history of the City of Dallas
  • Be submitted by the copyright holder, who grants permission for the films/videos to be shared by TAMI and UNT or be in the public domain
  • Total no more than 25 items per household.

We regret that we cannot accept:

  • Any format not mentioned above, including  open reel video, or audio tape
  • Copyrighted material (i.e., programs recorded from television or commercial films)
  • Items that are in too poor condition for us to digitize using our equipment

Spotlight on North Texas is free and open to the public. In addition to digitization, attendees can learn about film history and preservation and view historic film clips from Dallas.

If you have questions about the program or whether your materials qualify for free digitization, please contact the Program Director, Laura Treat at laura.treat@unt.edu or (940) 369-5293. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpotlightNTX and Twitter @Spotlight_NTX.

This event has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Saturday, May 19, 2018 -
10:00am to 5:00pm
Top Ten Records