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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Canal Cameo 1976

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

10 mins United Kingdom

View Bank Robbers
Bank Robbers
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

View Helpu Dad
Helpu Dad
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Helpu Dad 1970

All the boy has to do is to fetch a pail of water…What could possibly go wrong?

4 mins Wales

View Pink Shirts
Pink Shirts
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Pink Shirts 1936

Catapult-wielding democrats take on wader-wearing fascists in this ‘Plas Newydd’ drama filmed by the Marquis of Anglesey.

15 mins Wales

View Little Boy's Dream
Little Boy's Dream
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Little Boy's Dream 1937

What dreams may come when a treasured possession is aggressively broken? Unfinished drama starring Anglesey’s Earl of Uxbridge as a poor boy.

6 mins Wales

View Generation Gap
Generation Gap
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Generation Gap 1973

Are the times a-changin', or are we getting old? This amateur cartoon delves into the dreams of the Cashworthy family.

10 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter Hickling

View A Few Days
A Few Days
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A Few Days 1963

Superbly produced amateur short about a brief romantic encounter by Howard Blake, composer of the score for The Snowman.

15 mins United Kingdom Director. Howard Blake

View Opus One
Opus One
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Opus One 1948

One of the ten winning films of 1948 awarded a 'silver plaque' by 'Amateur Cine World' magazine - a significant achievement for the makers, the Film Society of Welwyn Garden City.

16 mins United Kingdom

View The Sixth Day
The Sixth Day
Watch for free 9 mins

The Sixth Day 1950

It's role reversal and 'rebellion' in the Scott household as Mrs S decides on a 5 day week too!

9 mins United Kingdom

View The Fifth Minute
The Fifth Minute
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The Fifth Minute 1976

Nightmarish visions become a reality in this imaginative production that mixes live action, animation, and special effects.

5 mins United Kingdom Director. Jon Coley

View Smugglers Beware
Smugglers Beware
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Smugglers Beware 1938

Thrilling pirate adventure made by a preparatory schoolmaster and starring some of his schoolchildren, who apprehend dangerous smugglers.

28 mins United Kingdom

View Teacher's Lesson
Teacher's Lesson
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Teacher's Lesson 1937

A bumbling vicar steals the scene in this short chase film; a silent comedy set in a Norfolk village, featuring many of the villagers.

8 mins United Kingdom

View They Act Like Magic
They Act Like Magic
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They Act Like Magic 1938

Charming fantasy adventure filmed by a prep schoolmaster and starring the pupils at the school. Schoolboys search for a fairytale princess.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Shadowman
Shadowman
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Shadowman 1994

A female protagonist falls prey to the ‘Shadowman’, who stalks his victim before attack. Uses stop-motion animation as well as live action.

7 mins United Kingdom Director. Jon Coley

View The Tomb of Frankenstein
The Tomb of Frankenstein
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The Tomb of Frankenstein 1964

A strange old hermit uses witchcraft to give life to the Frankenstein monster. Will the creature be his instrument of revenge, or will it turn on its creator?

26 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View The Drumlin
The Drumlin
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The Drumlin 1980

Who will triumph when a game of hide and seek turns into a campaign against nuclear power?

17 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View The Testament of Caleb Meke
The Testament of Caleb Meke
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The Testament of Caleb Meke 1969

A young man is left an old mansion in his uncle’s will. Too late he discovers that he's also inherited a legacy of witchcraft and demonology!

24 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View The Tryzzian Exiles
The Tryzzian Exiles
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The Tryzzian Exiles 1972

Alien outcasts run amok on planet Earth in Roy Spence's sci-fi romp, a film that draws on the lo-fi charm of Ed Wood and Roger Corman.

23 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View Keep Watching Skies
Keep Watching Skies
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Keep Watching Skies 1975

Beware as the all-consuming creature from outer space embarks on a rampage of horror and death in this World Amateur Film of The Year.

21 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View Stigmata
Stigmata
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Stigmata 1970

A man loses everything he has day-dreaming his way through life

21 mins United Kingdom Director. Adam Darius

View Specimens
Specimens
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Specimens 1982

Alien overlords, a giant robot and cavemen… welcome to the feverish imagination of Roy Spence.

15 mins Northern Ireland

View Ring of Cultra
Ring of Cultra
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Ring of Cultra 1984

Why don't you come along to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum? Remember, all you need to bring is a little imagination.

21 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

View The Cure
The Cure
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The Cure 1977

Extra-terrestrial plantlife is discovered in the Welsh countryside causing mischief for scientist Dr Felix Ackerman, filmed in 1977.

23 mins United Kingdom Director. Jon Coley

View Hand in Glove
Hand in Glove
Watch for free 9 mins

Hand in Glove 1976

To carry on his important work the ego-maniacal scientist Dr Kelly must obtain another hand … a hand which begins to take on a life of its own.

9 mins United Kingdom Director. Jon Coley

View Unknown
Unknown
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Unknown 1972

Mind-bending psychedelic sci-fi from the early 70s, made by students at Sheffield University.

24 mins Great Britain

View The Boy and the Cat
The Boy and the Cat
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The Boy and the Cat 1976

A boy and his cat make mischief in the snow at South Shields in this captivating hand-drawn children’s animation created by Sheila Graber.

10 mins United Kingdom

View The Pigeon Cree
The Pigeon Cree
Watch for free 9 mins

The Pigeon Cree 1986

An exuberant animated short celebrates writer Sid Chaplin’s short story about the defiant spirit of an old miner who finds his beloved pigeon loft is under threat.

9 mins England

View The Toys Will Be Toys
The Toys Will Be Toys
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The Toys Will Be Toys 1988

Barbie dolls in pink battle khaki killing machines in a Christmas animation that cocks a snook at the “Disney Doctrine”.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Horse Sense
Horse Sense
Watch for free 9 mins

Horse Sense 1950

A delightful road safety film set on the streets of Cambridge featuring an escaped horse with a respect for the Highway Code.

9 mins United Kingdom

View Feline Reincarnate
Feline Reincarnate
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Feline Reincarnate 1976

Driven to distraction a young man murders another, however the dead victim’s feline reincarnation wants revenge!

10 mins United Kingdom

View Dog's Life by Bonzo
Dog's Life by Bonzo
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Dog's Life by Bonzo 1955

Pity poor Bonzo. Bought by a couple who quickly tire of his doggie antics, he's now the object of murderous intentions. But can Bonzo redeem himself in time to save his skin?

12 mins United Kingdom

View Whistle and I’ll Come to You
Whistle and I’ll Come to You
Watch for free 10 mins

Whistle and I’ll Come to You 1956

A decade before the BBC's version of M R James supernatural classic came this chilling version from the North Downs Cinematograph Society

10 mins United Kingdom

View Two-faced Killer: A Modern Thriller
Two-faced Killer: A Modern Thriller
Watch for free 4 mins

Two-faced Killer: A Modern Thriller 1951

Amateur award-winning dramatic thriller influenced by 1940s Universal Horror movies and made by husband and wife team John and Dede Wright.

4 mins United Kingdom Director. J Harcourt Wright,

View Mirror Mirror
Mirror Mirror
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Mirror Mirror 1969

A haunted mirror is the gateway to Halloween horror in this eerie tale from the Eastbourne Cine Group

7 mins United Kingdom Director. Gary Parsons

View Revenge!
Revenge!
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Revenge! 1904

Early film: The life of a gentleman farmer is turned upside down when he discovers his wife in the arms of the local asylum's chief warder.

4 mins Wales

View Retribution
Retribution
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Retribution 1931

Sheila sees the folly of her ways when husband, John, is to be hanged for murdering her paramour, but once trusty Bill from the CID is on the case, the real killer is soon unmasked

17 mins United Kingdom

View The Haunted School
The Haunted School
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The Haunted School 1955

School boy antics take a supernatural turn in this silent slapstick ghost story made by pupils in a Belfast boarding school.

8 mins Northern Ireland

View Sodom and Begorrah
Sodom and Begorrah
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Sodom and Begorrah 1967

Amusing fantasy of the adventures of a priest who finds his new parish in the grip of the most blatant depravity

13 mins Northern Ireland

View The Fugitive
The Fugitive
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The Fugitive 1966

There is a baby and a bandit loose in the streets of Derry, but which one is the fugitive, the robber or the runaway pram?

5 mins Northern Ireland Director. Terence McDonald

View The Man From A.U.N.T.
The Man From A.U.N.T.
Watch for free 4 mins

The Man From A.U.N.T. 1965

Who is this mysterious man causing chaos in the city of a 1000 rumours? Watch tonight’s feature from Alfred Hiccup to discover Derry’s hidden world.

4 mins Northern Ireland Director. Terence McDonald

View Nebelung
Nebelung
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Nebelung 1978

A Derry classroom becomes an unlikely setting for this uncanny experimental film by Terence McDonald and Gerry Wills

9 mins Northern Ireland

View Zwischen
Zwischen
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Zwischen 1970

Between us is truth, let there be truth between us

6 mins Northern Ireland Director. Terence McDonald

View The Coming of the Black Dawn
The Coming of the Black Dawn
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The Coming of the Black Dawn 1965

Something sinister this way comes in one of The Spence Brothers earliest films.

24 mins Northern Ireland Director. Roy Spence

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