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.
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.
Ladies 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
Jocelyn 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.
Stephen 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.
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.
Once 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.
The 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.
The 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
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.
Albert'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.
The 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.
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.
A 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!
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.
They Forgot to Read the Directions
Home movie192420 minsSilent 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.
Contrasts in Kensington
Amateur film193711 minsSilent Location: Kensington
Shocking scenes of Kensington slums and 1930s housing developments offer a sharp contrast with today's reinvented area.
The 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
A Movie Letter from Home
Training film/TV programme19437 minsSilent Location: Wealdstone
An unusual, poignant piece of wartime correspondence showing how movies can be used to comfort those who are far away.
They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides
Travelogue193820 minsSilent Location: Harris/Na Hearadh
A starkly beautiful portrait of crofting life in Flodabay on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.
Little 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.
Mr 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.
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.
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.
Amateur film193828 minsSilent Location: Ingoldisthorpe
Thrilling pirate adventure made by a preparatory schoolmaster and starring some of his schoolchildren, who apprehend dangerous smugglers.
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.
They 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.
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.
The 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?
The 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!
The 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.
Keep 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.
Ring 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.
Hand 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.
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.
Boy 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.
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.
Toys 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”.
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.
A 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?
Whistle 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
Two-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.
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
The 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.
Sodom 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
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?
The Man From A.U.N.T.
Comedy19650 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.
.. 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
Birthday 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
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
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
All 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
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?
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.
Midsummer Madness - An Idiotic Idyll
Amateur film19332 minsSilent
Four bright young things enact a midsummer's love tryst among the daisies in this short, well-crafted amateur fiction film.