Caren's shot her super 8 footage between the time she ceded custody of her daughter in order to preserve a calm life for her. Caren's Collection spans the time between 1977 when Caren bought a Yashica Super 8mm camera in a pawnshop after losing custody of her daughter and the late 1980s when her daughter graduated from college and she and her last partner finishing building their home. It documents visits & vacations spent with her daughter and the long periods in between, which she spent in the company of friends and lovers, initially in Florida and Missouri, two states in which no lesbian has ever won custody, and later in Maine.
In 2004 Caren had her films and her last partner Gabrielle Wellman's home movies transferred to VHS. The lab suceeded in keeping those collections separate but it did not transfer Caren's reels in chronological order. When Caren donated the VHS tape to LHMP in 2010, she agreed to work with us to return the footage to the order she had shot it in. That process involved several in-depth life history interviews, some in combination with scrutinizing the footage, others focusing on her life history. On the basis of those interviews, LHMP worked with a tech to restore Caren's footage to chronological order and add a few slates to identify locations and dates. Soon after tech Gemma Perretta did a personal edit of Caren's footage, which Caren also approved.
About a quarter the length of Caren's original footage, Perretta's edit focuses on Caren's relationship with her daughter.