Institute of Amateur Cinematographers

The Institute of Amateur Cinematographers' film library is eclectic and unique. It is truly international embracing films from all continents. Many films have won awards in prestigious national and international amateur film competitions.

Almost all the established film genres are represented - animation, film noir, experimental, historical dramas, musicals and Westerns and many others. The amateur film-makers were confident enough to step back and gently satirise the medium and several films in the collection explore the process and pitfalls of amateur film-making in a wry and instructive vein. Subjects range from the epic travelogue to the most domestic and intimate of home movies.

Covering every decade from the 1920s to the 1980s the films give a singular sense of Britain’s history – from family life in pre-war Britain, to wartime patriotism, through industries, communities and crafts long gone to the youth culture and introspection of the 1960s.

Some of the film-makers went on to have careers in the industry while established actors and actresses made their first appearances in front of these cameras. It is hoped that these highlights of films from the IAC will intrigue, inform and entertain.

Cat no. 3163

Cement

Running time14:07 Black & White Silent 1934 Newport, Isle of Wight

A very good example of the value of film as historical document – a record of the pre-war industrial process and of particular value as the West Medina Cement Works closed shortly after the film was made.

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Cat no. 4234

Venture On The Wind

Running time10:48 Colour Sound 1970 Pin Mill, Suffolk

A beautifully filmed and lyrical piece by Sidney Manasseh who records Clacton Cine Club members on an outing aboard sailing barges on the River Orwell. The natural sounds of the wind and the waves are confidently recorded.

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Cat no. 3885

Stasjonen (The Station)

Running time11:30 Black & White Sound c.1967 Frederikstad, Norway

A quiet well-observed Norwegian film about a little girl waiting on a station platform for her father to return. Reminiscent of John Schlesinger’s TERMINUS made a few years earlier, it is a simple tale told with great care.

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Cat no. 2670

Marionettes

Running time21:15 Black & White Sound 1949

Perhaps the best film by Ace Movies. An unsettling and self-assured avant garde film about human marionettes that display emotions. The style owes something to German Expressionist silent horror film. The story is a version of the ballet `Petrushka’.

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Cat no. 2633

1938 - The Last Year Of Peace

Running time32:26 Colour Sound 1948 Staffordshire & Switzerland

A film by Laurie and Stuart Day providing an excellent record of the pre-occupations of an upper-middle class family just before the Second World War (the film was shot 1938 and completed in 1947). This was a family who had foreign holidays, servants, and ready access to orchards. The film shows what they knew they had to lose when war broke out.

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Cat no. 3629

Moon's Men

Running time13:09 Black & White Sound 1964 Morecambe, Lancashire

Shrimp fishing on Morecambe Bay. A film merging seascape, animals, human endeavour and meagre livelihoods effortlessly.

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Cat no. 4139

The Three Movie Makers

Running time2:39 Colour Sound 1968

A cartoon about the relative merits of three makers of camera - Eumig, Bolex and Kodak - with Kodak emerging the winner. The animation is stylish, the narration witty, and it is just the right length to make the points.

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Cat no. 4285

Wranglepoise

Running time3:47 Colour Sound 1977

Step frame animated film by Peter Ryde about a love affair between two Anglepoise desks lamps. Of incidental interest is the 1970s furnishings and hi-fi equipment in the 1970s sitting room where the film was shot.

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Cat no. 3965

The Cat And The Tune

Running time2:29 Colour Sound 1977

A joyous cut out animation from Sheila Graber. An animal band, led by a flute-playing cat, marches to the tune 'Eye Level' from the television series VAN DER VALK.

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Cat no. 3350

Frankie And Johnny

Running time5:06 Colour Sound 1960

A stylish and witty musical rendition of the American folk ballad. Bryn Waters and the Dolphins, a local Coventry backbeat band, perform the song off-screen and their rendition is memorable.

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Cat no. 3823

Sally Sallies Forth

Running time26:52 Black & White Silent 1928 London

A twenties comedy drama, made and acted by women, which tells much about class, gender and attitudes to the performing arts.

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Cat no. 3610

Memmortigo

Running time15:53 Black & White Silent 1933 Spain

A rare, absurdist film investigating the nature of pessimism. Made by avant-garde Catalonian film-maker Delmiro de Carolt just before the Spanish Civil War, it is influenced by the surrealism of Luis Bunuel and Dali. The film’s title 'Memmortigo' is Esperanto for 'suicide'.

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Cat no. 3293

England May Be Home

Running time17:56 Colour Sound 1957 Bedford, Bedfordshire

An interesting use of the drama-documentary technique and a touching and insightful account of Italian immigrants and their families who came to Bedford to work in the brick factories.

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Cat no. 3153

Buskn

Running time15:19 Black & White Sound 1964 London

Documentary about the buskers `The Happy Wanderers' who performed for many years in and around London's Soho streets. The band members offer their thoughts on life and their ambitions - “I would have liked to be a mortician, prettying the bodies up’. A valuable record of street life, community and a dying entertainment.

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Cat no. 3690

One Man And His Dog

Running time13:32 Black & White Sound 1973 London

A young man laden with parcels and walking a St Bernard dog tries to cram into a telephone box to call his girlfriend. Owing much to the visual gags of silent comedy, and the precise timing of Buster Keaton, the film directed by and starring Donald Black is very, very funny.

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Cat no. 3004

A Day In The Life Of The Young Martins

Running time17:27 Black & White Silent 1935

An intimate and endearing home movie depicting the daily routines of film-maker John Martin’s young family. Instructive too for what it shows of the décor and furnishings in the home of a middle-class family. A follow-up film, SANTA PASSES OUT (1937), films the same family on Christmas Day.

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Cat no. 4133

The Street

Running time13:12 Black & White Sound 1958 Tower Hamlets, London

A remarkable assured and beautifully filmed impressionistic account of a day in London's Petticoat Lane market from setting up stalls to clearing up at the end of the day.

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Cat no. 3284

Egypt And Back With Imperial Airways

Running time17:49 Black & White Silent 1931-1933 Cairo, Egypt

A promotional film for Imperial Airways which carried airmail and passengers from Croydon to Cairo and back again. The film also serves as 16-year old Ruth Stuart’s record of her family’s holiday in Cairo. Ruth is seen in several shots with a cine camera in her hand filmed by her father. The first film to be taken into the IAC library.

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Cat no. 4452

Swan At Pednor

Running time2:54 Colour Silent 1934-1935 Pednor, Buckinghamshire

A film by Eustace Alliott filmed in Dufaycolor showing a `tame’ swan in the garden at Great Pednor Manor near Chesham, the home of Captain Watson and his wife.

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Cat no. 3011

A Field Of Honor

Running time14:26 Colour Sound 1973

An award-winning student film by Robert Zemeckis about a fragile and nervous ex-serviceman who is released from a psychiatric hospital. The film came to the attention of Steven Spielberg - '…I thought it was spectacular, with police cars and a riot all dubbed to Elmer Bernstein’s score for THE GREAT ESCAPE'. Zemeckis went on to be a professional director and producer making WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? (1988).

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