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About Amateur Films

THIS IS A HOBBY?, John & Evelyn Kibar, 1958 (from the Ron Doerring Collection)

The amateur film is another kind of home-made movie that tells a story. Made by devoted hobbyists, scholars and world travelers who honed their cinematography and editing skills, amateur films cover all sorts of topics and genres – from fiction and comedy films to documentary, travelogue and experimental subjects. But what all amateur films share in common is their motive – making films for the love of it. Throughout much of the 20th century amateur cinema clubs flourished in the United States and brought together these movie makers to share their work with each other and to collaborate on group projects. But whether made in groups or singularly, amateur films are fascinating (and often beautiful and entertaining) stories of our time, our society, and our encounter with the new technologies – like movies – that changed the way we see the world.