Rick Prelinger's “Are We There Yet?” Lets You Yell at the Screen, and the Past

The latest from San Francisco-based film archivist Rick Prelinger, No More Road Trips? is a found-footage presentation constructed entirely from mid-20th century home movies of people driving from New York to California, back in the days when driving across the country was something middle-class families could actually afford. To create the current cut, which is still a work in progress, Prelinger narrowed a pool of 4,000 home movies to 500, with about 60 families represented.

“I have never had such an abundance of cool and deeply evocative material to work with on any other project,” says Prelinger. Like his long-running Lost Landscapes of San Francisco series at the Castro — an annual screening of early-to-mid-20th century San Francisco footage culled from primary sources such as newsreels, industrial films, home movies, and studio outtakes — the audience is actively encouraged to shout at the screen, making this easily the most interactive SFIFF event, equal parts enlightening and fun. Of the oft-raucous Lost Landscapes screenings, Prelinger recalls, “When I showed footage about the Sunset District dunes, when they still punctuated the blocks in the Avenues, people yelled out exactly what streets we were seeing.” While No More Road Trips? travels far beyond San Francisco, you can expect even more audience participation — as well as collective pained gasps at gas station signs with prices of just dimes per gallon. But those days are no more.

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