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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Paper BoatPaper Boat

Drama194922 mins

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

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Coming ShortlyComing Shortly

Amateur film19544 minsSilent Location: High Wycombe

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

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Amelia and the AngelAmelia and the Angel

Amateur film195826 mins Location: South Kensington

A young angel scours London for her wings in this tender short by the young Ken Russell.

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Ladies Hoo DooLadies Hoo Doo

Amateur film196519 mins Location: Harrow

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

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Jocelyn in WonderlandJocelyn in Wonderland

Amateur film196113 minsSilent

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.

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Stephen the MagicianStephen the Magician

Home movie19623 minsSilent Location: Castleford

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

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Documentary195118 minsSilent Location: Exmouth

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.

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Amateur film19812 mins

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

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Once Upon a SundayOnce Upon a Sunday

Amateur film196910 mins Location: Leeds

The disappointment of youthful love, as the gritty realism of the early 1960s stands in stark contrast with the fantasies of the later 1960s.

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The Broken SwastikaThe Broken Swastika

Amateur film193213 minsSilent Location: Bournemouth

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

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The Hand of FateThe Hand of Fate

Amateur film193310 minsSilent Location: Wimborne Minster

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

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Falsely MurderedFalsely Murdered

Amateur film196022 mins Location: Harrow

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

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Albert's Last SkepAlbert's Last Skep

Documentary197828 mins Location: Bradford

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.

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The Initial CraftThe Initial Craft

Documentary197311 mins Location: Bolton Abbey

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

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Hot DogsHot Dogs

Documentary197010 mins Location: Bingley

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

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A Photographer's DayA Photographer's Day

Amateur film193711 minsSilent Location: Flamborough

The waves gently lapping on the shore, seagulls gliding through the air, a perfect photographic morning, until that is, the family arrive!

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Ut ProficiasUt Proficias

195316 mins

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

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No Tumbled HouseNo Tumbled House

195558 mins

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

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Canal CameoCanal Cameo

Amateur film197610 mins Location: Harrow

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

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Bank RobbersBank Robbers

Amateur film195711 minsSilent Location: Queensbury

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.

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The Witch's FiddleThe Witch's Fiddle

Amateur film19247 mins

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

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They Forgot to Read the DirectionsThey Forgot to Read the Directions

Home movie192420 mins Location: Cherkley Court

The 20s elite let their guard down... Amateur antics from media baron Lord Beaverbrook and friends, including HG Wells and Rebecca West.

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The DiamondThe Diamond

Amateur film193814 minsSilent

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

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Contrasts in KensingtonContrasts in Kensington

Amateur film193711 mins Location: Kensington

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

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The Scarlet WomanThe Scarlet Woman

Home movie192444 mins Location: Hampstead Heath

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

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The Annual ProblemThe Annual Problem

Home movie19359 minsSilent Location: Wroxham

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

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Plans for LivingPlans for Living

Amateur film196622 mins

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

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Saga of Valerie Jean DouglasSaga of Valerie Jean Douglas

Home movie194950 mins

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

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Steps to the StarsSteps to the Stars

Amateur film193519 minsSilent

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

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Saturday LunchSaturday Lunch

Amateur film19573 minsSilent

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

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A Movie Letter from HomeA Movie Letter from Home

Training film/TV programme19437 mins Location: Wealdstone

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

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Sponge MixSponge Mix

Amateur film195611 mins Location: Harrow

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

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They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the HebridesThey Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides

Travelogue193820 mins Location: Harris/Na Hearadh

A starkly beautiful portrait of crofting life in Flodabay on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

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Smugglers' CaveSmugglers' Cave

Amateur film193716 minsSilent Location: Cornwall

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.

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

Amateur film19479 minsSilent Location: Newtown

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.

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This Wonderful CreationThis Wonderful Creation

Documentary197624 mins Location: Saltaire

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

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Star Cabaret 1956Star Cabaret 1956

Home movie195618 minsSilent

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

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In My End is My BeginningIn My End is My Beginning

Amateur film11 mins Location: West Lothian

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

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Amateur film193417 minsSilent Location: Nottingham

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 film maker.

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Helpu DadHelpu Dad

Home movie19704 minsSilent Location: Rhoslan

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

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Pink ShirtsPink Shirts

Amateur film193616 minsSilent Location: Plas Newydd

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

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Little Boy's DreamLittle Boy's Dream

Home movie19376 minsSilent Location: Plas Newydd

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

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Mr H Ramsbotham on the Use of Films in SchoolsMr H Ramsbotham on the Use of Films in Schools

School programme and Educational film19356 mins

Calling all teachers! Give the blackboard a break - try running a film instead.

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Generation GapGeneration Gap

Animation & Artists Moving Image197311 mins

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

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A Few DaysA Few Days

Amateur film196315 mins Location: London

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

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Opus OneOpus One

Amateur film194817 minsSilent Location: Welwyn Garden City

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.

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Sixth DaySixth Day

Amateur film195010 minsSilent Location: Norwich

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

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The Fifth MinuteThe Fifth Minute

Amateur film19769 mins

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

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Smugglers BewareSmugglers Beware

Amateur film193828 minsSilent Location: Ingoldisthorpe

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

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Teacher's LessonTeacher's Lesson

Amateur film19379 minsSilent Location: Ingoldisthorpe

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

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They Act Like MagicThey Act Like Magic

Amateur film193812 minsSilent Location: Ingoldisthorpe

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

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Amateur film19948 mins Location: Harlesden

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

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The Tomb of FrankensteinThe Tomb of Frankenstein

Science Fiction196426 mins Location: Comber

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?

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The DrumlinThe Drumlin

Science Fiction198018 mins Location: Strangford Lough

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

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The Testament of Caleb MekeThe Testament of Caleb Meke

Fantasy196925 mins Location: Bangor

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!

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The Tryzzian ExilesThe Tryzzian Exiles

Fantasy197224 mins Location: Newtownards

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.

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Keep Watching SkiesKeep Watching Skies

Science Fiction197521 mins Location: Comber

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.

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Animation & Artists Moving Image197022 mins

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

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Science Fiction198216 mins Location: Ballymagowan

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

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Ring of CultraRing of Cultra

Fantasy198422 mins Location: Cultra

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

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Amateur film197724 mins

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

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Hand in GloveHand in Glove

Amateur film197612 mins

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.

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Student film197225 mins Location: Sheffield

This bizarre science fiction film made by students at Sheffield University gives a great insight into the mindset and aesthetic of the early 1970s.

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Boy and the CatBoy and the Cat

Animation & Artists Moving Image197610 mins Location: South Shields

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

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Pigeon CreePigeon Cree

Animation & Artists Moving Image198610 mins Location: North Tyneside

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

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Toys Will Be ToysToys Will Be Toys

Animation & Artists Moving Image19885 mins Location: South Shields

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

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Horse SenseHorse Sense

Sponsored film19509 mins Location: Cambridge

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

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Feline ReincarnateFeline Reincarnate

Amateur film197611 mins

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

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A Dog's life by BonzoA Dog's life by Bonzo

Amateur film195512 minsSilent

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?

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Whistle and I’ll Come to YouWhistle and I’ll Come to You

Amateur film195610 mins

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

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Two-faced Killer: A Modern ThrillerTwo-faced Killer: A Modern Thriller

Amateur film19515 minsSilent

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

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Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror

Amateur film19698 mins Location: Eastbourne

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

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Drama19044 minsSilent

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.

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Amateur film193117 minsSilent Location: Bournemouth

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

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The Haunted SchoolThe Haunted School

Amateur film19559 minsSilent Location: Stormont

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

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Sodom and BegorrahSodom and Begorrah

Amateur film196714 mins Location: Holywood

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

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The FugitiveThe Fugitive

Comedy19665 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry

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?

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

Comedy19655 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry

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.

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Drama197810 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry

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

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Drama19707 mins Location: Derry / Londonderry

Between us is truth, let there be truth between us

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The Coming of the Black DawnThe Coming of the Black Dawn

Horror196525 mins Location: Newtownards

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

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It Happened ThusIt Happened Thus

Amateur film193713 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

A valuable necklace is stolen – but where is the thief?

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A Pocketful of FearA Pocketful of Fear

Amateur film196311 minsSilent Location: West Boldon

Buckle up for some asphalt angst on a tense 1960s road trip on and off the A19.

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.. And Other Stories.. And Other Stories

Amateur film19797 mins Location: Eastbourne

A sophisticated bookish blonde proves to be a murderer’s nemesis in this atmospheric thriller-with-a-twist from the Eastbourne Cine Group

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Birthday For PeterBirthday For Peter

Amateur film19589 minsSilent Location: Sevenoaks

Peter’s birthday is one his suffering parents would rather forget in this harrowing film from the Sevenoaks Cine Society

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Fatal ShotFatal Shot

Amateur film19317 minsSilent Location: Kingsgate Bay

This gruesome tale from the Barnes Brothers is a warning to parents as a young child falls prey to a band of cliff dwelling murderous outlaws

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Good TurnersGood Turners

Amateur film193714 minsSilent Location: Eltham

A pair of kidnappers are no match for the derring-do Boy Scouts of Eltham - in this amateur action thriller from the Eltham Cine Society

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All in the Day's WorkAll in the Day's Work

Amateur film193010 minsSilent Location: Hampshire

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

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Bird's-eye ViewBird's-eye View

Travelogue194911 mins

The unusual angle of an amateur auteur

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Amateur film19598 mins Location: Surrey

There are echoes of Fritz Lang in this short film about a shadowy figure following a child through woodland - but what is his true purpose?

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Restless SundayRestless Sunday

Drama196612 minsSilent Location: Hunslet

A young man rambles in his winklepickers in rundown Leeds brooding on the ennui of a 1960s Sunday, and on his disillusionment with religion.

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Midsummer Madness - An Idiotic IdyllMidsummer Madness - An Idiotic Idyll

Amateur film19332 mins

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