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Film Genres: Amateur films

This guide highlights library resources for some of the more popular film genres.

A quick definition for amateur film

A set of practices of non-professional, personal, or hobbyist filmmaking, often (as home movies) recording family and leisure activities, but also including local newsreels, films of amateur dramatic productions, home-made pornography, and films of all kinds by members of film societies.

In film studies, amateur film is examined (increasingly under the rubric of personal film) in terms of its history, its technologies, and its aesthetics; while anthropologists and other social scientists studying ‘home mode imagery’ consider how personal film works as a social practice—as a distinctive form of visual communication, in relation to its place in consumer culture, and in terms of the everyday uses of amateur film technologies.

Kuhn, A. and Westwell, G. (2012). "Amateur film." In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 Dec. 2015

Finding library resources for amateur films

To find what we have in the Library's collection, you can do a subject search for "amateur films" in the online catalog. That search will show you what film titles are classified as amateur films as well as books and other items about them.

As you look at the list under amateur films, the subject headings which include "history and criticism" talk about the genre itself. The headings which also include a country name are specifically talking about amateur films in that country.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Finding articles for amateur films

Articles and other writings about movies can be found in many publications. Our collection does not include a journal or magazine which looks exclusively at amateur films. Other film journals within our collection will cover amateur films. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find relevant articles.

Selected movie titles

For more movie titles, click here.

Keeping up with the journal literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for all facets of Film Studies? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's you can download and read the articles you want.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.