This page provides information for further reading and research into the history of amateur cinema. You’ll also find a list of the sources used in compiling the AMDB and a list of film archives that have amateur films referenced in the AMDB.
The AMDB project initially developed out of research for Amateur Cinema: The Rise of North American Moviemaking, 1923-1960 (2015) by Charles Tepperman. Rooted in an examination of surviving films (now included in the AMDB), this book traces the contexts of “advanced” amateur cinema and explores the broad aesthetic and stylistic tendencies of amateur films.
A collection of essays examining transnational amateur film culture that emerged in the 20th century can be found in this special issues of the journal Film History, ”Toward a Global History of Amateur Film Practices and Institutions” (2018). This volume is co-edited by AMDB collaborators Masha Salazkina and Enrique Fibla-Gutierrez and features works by other collaborators on amateur film culture around the globe.
AMDB Collaborator and Northeast Historic Film co-founder Karan Sheldon has co-edited (with Martha J. McNamara) a volume of essays called Amateur Movie Making: Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film, 1915–1960 (2017). The essays in this book focus on films held in the collections of Northeast Historic Film, many which are also included in the AMDB.
An earlier investigation of amateur cinema can be found in a special issue of the journal Film History about “Small Gauge and Amateur Film” (2003). This volume was co-edited by AMDB collaborator Dan Streible (with Melinda Stone); it features articles by other AMDB project members as well as an extensive Small-Gauge and Amateur Film bibliography.
The Media History Digital Library has an extensive selection of digitized magazines relating to the history of amateur cinema. Especially relevant to the AMDB are Movie Makers, American Cinematographer, and Photoplay.
The Internet Archive is an indispensable source of videos and scanned publications. The platform includes important collections of digitized amateur films, including those held by the Prelinger Archives and the Center for Home Movies.
The National Film Preservation Foundation is an agency that provides grants to preserve American films, including amateur works. They provide valuable information about films that have been preserved using their grants, as well as film preservation more generally.
The National Film Registry is a record of significant works, including amateur films, that make up American film heritage. Each year, 25 films are added to the registry in order to increase awareness and ensure preservation efforts.
The Center for Home Movies advocates for the preservation and awareness of the cultural significance of home movies and amateur films. The CHM website has extensive information about the organizations projects and collections, and includes a valuable listing of scholarly and archival resources.