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“Evangelists”: The Other Cinema of Dorothy and Oscar Burritt

by Dennis J. Duffy

Hand-painted footage from "and--" (ca. 1940).
Hand-painted footage from “and—” (ca. 1940).

In late 1930s and 1940s Vancouver, Dorothy Fowler and Oscar Burritt were enthusiastic film buffs and amateur filmmakers. Inspired by the international and experimental cinema they saw through Vancouver’s progressive film society, they produced a few obscure but delightful treasures of Canadian independent filmmaking. Their work and their enthusiasm inspired other local cineastes.


Amateur Animated Films

by Lucas Anderson

Image from Portrait of Lydia (dir. John Straiton, 1963)
Image from Portrait of Lydia (John Straiton, 1963)

Amateur filmmakers produced many inventive and award-winning animated films. These films showcase a variety of animation techniques and span numerous film genres.


Amateur Cinema and Experimentation in the 1920s and 30s

by Lucas Anderson

H2O, in Close Up, Feb. 1930, 30.
Image from H2O, in Close Up, Feb. 1930, 101.

Early amateur cinema was closely linked to experimental filmmaking. Through formal experimentation, early amateur filmmakers endeavoured to enhance the artistic potential of cinema as an art form.


Spotlight: Northeast Historic Film

by Sheena Manabat

The Alamo Theatre. Image via Town of Bucksport, Maine.
The Alamo Theatre. Image via Town of Bucksport, Maine.

Northeast Historic Film is a regional archive in the United States dedicated to preserving, collecting and exhibiting northern New England’s (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts) film heritage.


Spotlight: Amateur Film Collections at the BC Archives, Royal BC Museum

by Dennis J. Duffy

The moving images collection of the BC Archives, founded in 1978, contains several fascinating collections of amateur film and home movies. Some of the key holdings, described in this article, feature excellent footage of British Columbia from the years 1925-1950, including cities, rural life, nature, industry, and the arts.


Looking at Nature with Dr. G. Clifford Carl

by Dennis J. Duffy

Dr. G. Clifford Carl (1908-1970), Director of the British Columbia Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology for 27 years (1942-69), was also an avid amateur filmmaker who produced several 16 mm films about natural history in the province and its coastal waters.


Spotlight: Chicago Film Archives

by Sheena Manabat

Chicago Film Archives (CFA) is a regional archive that reflects Chicago and Midwest history through conservation, promotion and exhibition of moving image materials.


Amateur Cinema Summer Viewing

by Sheena Manabat

Movie Makers, June 1935, 240.
Movie Makers, June 1935, 240.

​Learn more about five extant and digitized amateur films hand picked by our researchers at the AMDB for your summer viewing.


The Photoplay Amateur Movie Contest

by Sheena Manabat

The $2,000 Amateur Movie Contest was a short lived amateur movie contest conducted by popular fan magazine Photoplay from 1928-1929. Touted as the first amateur movie contest by any publication in the world, the contest offered $2,000 in cash prizes and was assisted in part by the Amateur Cinema League.


The Photographic Society of America

by Sheena Manabat

The Photographic Society of America (PSA) was formed in 1934 from the Associated Camera Clubs of America (ACC of A). The Ten Best competition, originally conceived by the Amateur Cinema League was continued by the Motion Picture Division of the PSA when the ACL dissolved. The PSA renamed the Ten Best Competition the American International Film Festival in 1962.


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