Reconstructing the 1938 Amateur Movie Show

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The Review/

Reconstructing the 1938 Amateur Movie Show

Prior to a screening of short films from the 1938 International Amateur Movie Show, film scholar Charles Tepperman considered the exhibition and international circulation of amateur cinema

Dec 31, 2013

The original International Amateur Movie Show took place at Columbia University’s McMillin Theater on April 6, 1938. It was the last instalment of a 20-screening series devoted to the art of motion pictures, and was coordinated by Columbia’s Extension program in film studies. The theme for the 1938 instalment was “depicting daily life.”

Of the 10 short films originally shown in 1938, six were selected and screened at TIFF. Prior to their screening, film scholar Charles Tepperman highlighted the key characteristics of amateur cinema, in contrast to the films being produced by the Hollywood studio system — namely, that amateur films were typically shot on 16mm or 8mm film and often featured domestic subjects. To conclude his talk, Tepperman provided background on the Amateur Movie Database, a contemporary listing containing information on more than 1,900 amateur films from 1911 to 2018 and over 160 amateur movie clubs. The website is intended to support research and has been used by archives to help identify and contextualize films.

This Higher Learning event was held on January 26, 2018, at TIFF Bell Lightbox and was hosted by Charles Tepperman, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary.