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Amateur Auteurs

Ever dreamed of shooting your own movie? These pre-digital cine-enthusiasts did - with all the passion and devotion of the true auteur.

These low- (or no-) budget creations reach beyond simple point-and-shoot, back-garden efforts towards something more ambitious and skilful, revealing their authors' passion for film and their often astonishing ingenuity with limited resources. No desktop editing software or digital special effects for these amateur auteurs.

The films include fiction and documentary, competition prizewinners and private labours of love. They may be the work of cine-clubbers or individual enthusiasts. But they all show a devotion to filmmaking that far transcends hobbyism. So look out for the delightful handmade intertitles, table-top special effects and library soundtracks which decorate many of the quirky stories, ultra-local documentaries and painstakingly composed home movies featured here.

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Amateur Auteurs

RECOMMENDED

View Paper Boat
Paper Boat
Watch for free

Paper Boat 1949

Prize-winning amateur film about the fleeting affair between a housewife and a young man on a summer day.

22 mins United Kingdom

View Coming Shortly
Coming Shortly
Watch for free 5 mins

Coming Shortly 1954

Silly silent film fun and thrills abound in this award-winning 1954 amateur short spoofing the world of Hollywood trailers.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Midsummer Madness - An Idiotic Idyll
Midsummer Madness - An Idiotic Idyll
Watch for free 1 mins

Midsummer Madness - An Idiotic Idyll 1933

Four bright young things enact a midsummer's love tryst among the daisies in this short, well-crafted amateur fiction film.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Ladies Hoo Doo
Ladies Hoo Doo
Watch for free 18 mins

Ladies Hoo Doo 1965

Knitting comes in handy when making a film – a comical take on amateur filmmaking by the ladies of a local Pinner film club

18 mins United Kingdom

View Jocelyn in Wonderland
Jocelyn in Wonderland
Watch for free 13 mins

Jocelyn in Wonderland 1961

Tired little Jocelyn, in her National Health specs, falls asleep in the garden and wakes up in Wonderland in this amateur re-telling of Lewis Carroll's classic.

13 mins United Kingdom

View Stephen the Magician
Stephen the Magician
Watch for free 2 mins

Stephen the Magician 1962

A young magician impresses his sister by making a dog appear from under a bucket, and by demonstrating the magic of film itself.

2 mins United Kingdom

BROWSE THE COLLECTION

View Seascape
Seascape
Watch for free 17 mins

Seascape 1951

Filmmaking that is both educational and fun with this highly accomplished amateur film of the Devon coast, and its inhabitants, before it became overloaded with holidaymakers.

17 mins United Kingdom

View Cubism
Cubism
Watch for free 2 mins

Cubism 1981

The puzzle that kick-started the 1980s comes to life in this amateur animation.

2 mins United Kingdom Director. Laurie Calvert

View All in the Day's Work
All in the Day's Work
Watch for free 9 mins

All in the Day's Work 1930

This inventive comedy double-bill is more than your average home movie - with its tale of two young pranksters getting their just desserts

9 mins United Kingdom

View The Broken Swastika
The Broken Swastika
Watch for free 13 mins

The Broken Swastika 1932

In this bizarre 1932 short film produced by the Bournemouth Cine Society, a swastika pendant becomes a plot device in a kidnapping drama.

13 mins United Kingdom

View The Hand of Fate
The Hand of Fate
Watch for free 17 mins

The Hand of Fate 1933

The Hand of Fate is cruel indeed in this minor tragedy from the Bournemouth Cine Society - featuring lovers, letters and suspension bridges

17 mins United Kingdom

View Falsely Murdered
Falsely Murdered
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Falsely Murdered 1960

Nail-biting amateur thriller in Pinner tells the story of a suspicious husband who may not have got the right man.

21 mins United Kingdom

View Albert's Last Skep
Albert's Last Skep
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Albert's Last Skep 1978

For the very last time Albert, at 73, makes the work of weaving the large willow bobbin baskets, skeps, look easy, having devoted his entire working life to perfecting his art.

28 mins United Kingdom

View The Initial Craft
The Initial Craft
Watch for free 10 mins

The Initial Craft 1970

The ancient battle between farmers and sheep rustlers provides a job for life for a blacksmith fabricating the branding lettering of farmers.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Hot Dogs
Hot Dogs
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Hot Dogs 1970

The quirks of a whippet race, with novices in winklepickers learning from the old hands, all fully elucidated in broad West Yorkshire dialect.

United Kingdom

View A Photographer's Day
A Photographer's Day
Watch for free 9 mins

A Photographer's Day 1937

Waves gently lapping on the shore, seagulls gliding through the air: a perfect photographic morning - until the family arrive!

9 mins United Kingdom

View Ut Proficias
Ut Proficias
Watch for free 16 mins

Ut Proficias 1953

A day in the life of a school - filmed by a pupil who later became one of Britain's best documentary makers.

16 mins United Kingdom

View No Tumbled House
No Tumbled House
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No Tumbled House 1955

A home movie of a school - made by pupil Michael Grigsby who would became one of Britain's best documentary makers.

57 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Grigsby

View Canal Cameo
Canal Cameo
Watch for free 10 mins

Canal Cameo 1976

What happens when you combine high food prices with female resourcefulness? Fishing!

10 mins United Kingdom

View Bank Robbers
Bank Robbers
Watch for free 11 mins

Bank Robbers 1957

The excitement of making this crime caper is clearly seen in the acting of these kids from a village junior school, as they chase the robbers across fields overlooking the Dales.

11 mins United Kingdom

View The Witch's Fiddle
The Witch's Fiddle
Watch for free 5 mins

The Witch's Fiddle 1924

Gotta dance! A bewitched violin gets everyone's feet tapping.

5 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter Le Neve Foster

View They Forgot to Read the Directions
They Forgot to Read the Directions
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They Forgot to Read the Directions 1924

The 1920s elite let their guard down... Amateur antics from media baron Lord Beaverbrook and friends, including HG Wells and Rebecca West.

19 mins United Kingdom

View The Diamond
The Diamond
Watch for free 14 mins

The Diamond 1938

A gem-smuggling conspiracy drives an entertaining and unusually accomplished amateur fiction.

14 mins United Kingdom Director. Vernon Hunter

View Contrasts in Kensington
Contrasts in Kensington
Watch for free 11 mins

Contrasts in Kensington 1937

Shocking scenes of Kensington slums and 1930s housing developments offer a sharp contrast with today's reinvented area.

11 mins United Kingdom Director. Channon Wood

View The Scarlet Woman
The Scarlet Woman
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The Scarlet Woman 1924

Catholic fantasy starring Elsa Lanchester and Evelyn Waugh in an Andy Warhol fright wig.

43 mins United Kingdom Director. Terence Greenidge

View The Annual Problem
The Annual Problem
Watch for free 12 mins

The Annual Problem 1935

If you can't go abroad, go a-Broads with country parson and keen amateur cineaste 'Captain' Charles Lyne and his wife Muriel

12 mins United Kingdom

View Plans for Living
Plans for Living
Watch for free 18 mins

Plans for Living 1966

The Pinner Cine Society looks at disability and the work of Northwood's welfare services.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. K. Mills

View Saga of Valerie Jean Douglas
Saga of Valerie Jean Douglas
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Saga of Valerie Jean Douglas 1949

An epic tale of one girl's life from the ages of one to 22, lovingly filmed by her dad.

50 mins United Kingdom

View Steps to the Stars
Steps to the Stars
Watch for free 18 mins

Steps to the Stars 1935

Class conflict comes to the boil in an entertaining amateur film about fandom and rival ambitions for movie stardom.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Lance House

View Saturday Lunch
Saturday Lunch
Watch for free 5 mins

Saturday Lunch 1957

This prize-winning short amateur comedy about a distracted father highlights the best and worst of its times.

5 mins United Kingdom Director. Harold Street

View A Movie Letter from Home
A Movie Letter from Home
Watch for free 9 mins

A Movie Letter from Home 1943

An unusual, poignant piece of wartime correspondence showing how movies can be used to comfort those who are far away.

9 mins United Kingdom

View Sponge Mix
Sponge Mix
Watch for free 10 mins

Sponge Mix 1956

Pincurls, pools and a paralytic priest – a housewife’s win on the pools leads to a mix-up with the gin and amusing results

10 mins United Kingdom

View Smugglers' Cave
Smugglers' Cave
Watch for free 15 mins

Smugglers' Cave 1937

A map that leads to treasure and trouble: John, Mary and Anne go in search of Jack Mundy's loot only to find that his map wasn't quite complete.

15 mins England

View Janet, John & Susan present "1943-1947"
Janet, John & Susan present "1943-1947"
Watch for free 9 mins

Janet, John & Susan present "1943-1947" 1947

A Geoff Charles film showing how “the men of Llanwddyn broke their way out for bread” after a great blizzard hit Britain in January 1947.

9 mins Wales

View This Wonderful Creation
This Wonderful Creation
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This Wonderful Creation 1976

Back to Victorian times: a rich employer provides decent housing, a hospital, a library, a school, a boathouse, almshouses and public baths.

23 mins United Kingdom

View Star Cabaret 1956
Star Cabaret 1956
Watch for free 18 mins

Star Cabaret 1956 1956

A lively collection of largely comic amateur films, followed by a glimpse at the sets of On the Beach and Ben-Hur.

18 mins United Kingdom

View In My End Is My Beginning
In My End Is My Beginning
Watch for free 11 mins

In My End Is My Beginning 2016

Surrounded by jealously, plots and intrigue are calmer times ahead too much to hope for?

11 mins Northern Ireland

View Coaminum
Coaminum
Watch for free 16 mins

Coaminum 1934

A biplane, car chase and steam express train all feature in this pre-war 16mm thriller that stretches the ambition and art of the amateur filmmaker.

16 mins United Kingdom

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