E-mail us: amdb@ucalgary.ca

The Amateur Movie Database was developed to learn more about the world of amateur cinema. It assembles information about amateur films, filmmakers and clubs to help:

  • Researchers find out more about amateur movies
  • Archivists to identify and contextualize amateur films
  • All interested parties to learn more about this alternative world of filmmaking

Films included in the database are winners of amateur movie contests or works that have been identified as significant by archives and historians.

Phase 1: Major North American amateur movie contests

Phase 2: Amateur films recognized as significant by archives and historians

  • National Film Preservation Foundation grants for preserving amateur films
  • National Film Registry
  • Northeast Historic Film list of titled amateur works
  • Chicago Film Archives list of titled amateur works
  • Little Movie Parties, annual screening of amateur films in New York City, 1929-1940
  • Canadian Film Awards, Amateur Category, ca. 1951-1971
  • BC (British Columbia) Archives list of amateur works
  • Texas Archive of the Moving Image list of amateur works
  • Human Studies Film Archive (Smithsonian Institution) list of amateur works
  • UCLA Film & Television Archive list of amateur works
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Grand Rapids Amateur Film Library
  • Center for Home Movies
  • Yale Film Archives

Phase 3: International Amateur Cinema Between the Wars: 1918-1939

Phase three of the Amateur Movie Database seeks to enhance the understanding of transnational amateur film history. This period saw a widespread growth in amateur film production as both new technologies and the formation of amateur film organizations globally fostered the growth of international amateur film culture. This takes into consideration social and cultural changes happening globally, and the rise of authoritarian governments between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War.

Furthermore, this phase aims to enrich methodologies surrounding research, presentation, and preservation practices of amateur films. Phase three aims to raise public awareness and increase engagement with international amateur film culture through digital humanities projects, curated film exhibitions, and scholarly output.

This project is supported by a partnership development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and matching support from partner institutions.

Partner Organizations:

University of East Anglia, UK

University of Udine, Italy

Filmoteca de Catalunya, Spain

Ryerson University, Canada

Concordia University, Canada

University of Calgary, Canada


Project Director:

Charles Tepperman, University of Calgary

Partnership Project Co-investigators:

Masha Salazkina, Concordia University

Dimitrios Latsis, University of Alabama

Keith Johnston, University of East Anglia

Andrea Mariani, University of Udine

Project Collaborators:

Enrique Fibla-Guttierez, Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola

Dan Streible, New York University

Yvonne Zimmermann, University of Marburg

Clara Sanchez-Dehesa, Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola

Noriko Morisue, Nagoya University

Research Team:

Paul Frith, University of East Anglia

Simona Schneider, University of Udine

Shannon Gagnon, Ryerson University

Andrew Watts, University of Calgary

Sara Kaparos, University of Alabama

The database draws on materials from a variety of digitized, print, and archival sources, especially the Media History Digital Library and the Internet Archive.

The database is structured according to PBCore metadata standards.

Call for contributors: if you have information about a film in the database or would like to contribute to the project contact us at amdb@ucalgary.ca

Research team

Project Director:

Charles Tepperman
Department of Communication, Media and Film, University of Calgary


Karan Sheldon, Northeast Historic Film
Dan Streible, New York University
Dwight Swanson, Centre for Home Movies
Nancy Watrous, Chicago Film Archives
Clara Sanchez-Dehesa, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Enrique Fibla Gutiérrez, Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Martin L. Johnson, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Dennis J. Duffy, BC Archives, Royal BC Museum [retired]

Molly Rose Steed, University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections

Database and web design:

Jack Brighton

Research and database construction:

Sheena Manabat, MA student, Communication and Media Studies, University of Calgary
Andrew Watts, PhD student, Communication and Media Studies, University of Calgary
Lucas Anderson, BA student, Film Studies, University of Calgary
Berenice Cancino, MA student, Languages, Literatures and Culture, University of Calgary
Isabel Lara, PhD student, Spanish, University of Calgary
M. Mert Orsler, MA student, Communication and Media Studies, University of Calgary

Michael Martin-Cannon, PhD student, Communication and Media Studies, University of Calgary

Anastasiia Gushchina, PhD student, Communication and Media Studies, University of Calgary

We acknowledge the assistance of:

Jason Reid (Arts IT); John Brosz (Data Visualization lab)

Sponsored by:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

With additional support from:

University of Calgary Faculty of Arts, Calgary Institute for the Humanities, Chicago Film Archives, Northeast Historic Film

Project partners: