Some of the records in our database link to videos that you can watch. Click on the films below.
"The Forgotten Frontier, filmed by Miss Marvin Breckinridge, is the most ambitious amateur made welfare film yet recorded. To show the operation of the Kentucky Nursing Service, Miss Breckinridge spent several months filming in the mountain districts reached by that organization. With the cooperation of the mountain folk, she staged several short dramas, each demonstrating the usefulness of one of the centers or some phase of their work. The completed picture runs 6000 ft., 35mm., and, in spite of the numerous technical difficulties, it is excellently photographed." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 788.
Watch: via Archive.org
"A bridge party invite a mysterious stranger to make up a fourth at their table, only to be unpleasantly surprised by his card tricks. When their fourth player arrives late, the strange interloper disappears, leaving an oddly familiar Joker in his place" National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.
"A South Shore High School student film that is an allegory on the wastefulness of war and the duplicity of those who wage it. Filmmaker Wayne Williams, who was 17 at the time, cuts back and forth between a chess game and a guerrilla theater war game to underscore the sense of importance of the fighters and the cynicism of those who control their lives - and deaths." Chicago Film Archives
"A group of children learn in school that tomorrow will be “Woman’s Day”, the equivalent of our “Mother’s Day”, then the humorous story unfolds in a delightful and charming manner of how two small boys decide to celebrate this occasion. An amateur film made by a Russian filmmaker and distributed by the Society of Amateur Cinematographers (SAC). All title cards are in Russian." Chicago Film Archives
"The refreshing story of a voyage by river into the Canadian wilds, presented by F. R. Crawley in Glimpses of a Canoe Trip, is really deserving of a less modest introduction than that implied by the word, "glimpses." Here, within one reel, is as comprehensive a movie tale of a trip by canoe as one could desire. The entertaining continuity, based on the natural sequence of events, is not loaded with unimportant detail; instead, footage is conserved for the more interesting episodes involved in paddling and portages. These are given a well rounded treatment that has genuine entertainment value coupled with a freshness of approach born of the enthusiasm of the maker. This sort of thing communicates itself to the audience, especially when photography, editing and titling are as well handled as they are here." Movie Makers, Dec. 1937, 629.
"Members of the National Film Society of Canada (Vancouver Branch) parody the early experimental works of American avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren [to whom the film is dedicated]." (BC Archives)
The film is subtitled: "A conflict between two philosophies of time and space."
The film was shot in an area of sand dunes on Sea Island in Richmond, BC, near the location of Vancouver International Airport.
"A short amateur narrative, featuring locals in cameo roles, about a husband who tries to teach his wife a lesson by staging a fake robbery." filmpreservation.org
Watch: via YouTube
"Short film of an airshow featuring vintage Hawk, Cobra and Lightening aircraft ." Chicago Film Archives
"Local sights and events in the White Rock area, such as parades, celebrations at the International Peace Arch, fashion show, recreational activities, etc." British Columbia Archives.
"A humorous film about group exercises and volleyball at the Turnverein gymnasium, Portland, Oregon. Produced by "Miller Picture Corruption Ink" under the auspices of the Amateur Cinema League, probably as a Christmas present for Miller's friends. Appearing: Members of the Portland Turnverein." Oregon Historical Society.
"Ralph E. Gray's 1939 entry, Guatemala, the Glorious, is another of those studies of Central American lands for which this fine filmer is noted. No less an ethnologist than a movie maker, Mr. Gray has an insatiable curiosity which always runs to the unusual and striking folkways of the countries he records in Kodachrome. He has found these folkways in Guatemala, as he has found them before in Mexico, and he knows the trick of making them interesting, by a most intelligent interplay of distant, medium and close views. He has footage of the mysterious ceremony at Chichicastenango which has not been obtained before, as he filmed the interior of the church for the first time. Mr. Gray's editing and titling bear evidences of haste, without which his entry would have won higher rating, but, in spite of these, it maintains his high standard of fascinating subject matter expertly presented." Movie Makers, Dec. 1939, 634.
"This film is a study of water in the new manner: A series of photographic shots of the reflections of boats, ferry houses, docks, etc., on water and the whole resulting in a chain of pure abstract patterns of shapes in water. Steiner achieves an astonishing tempo as his film advances. The picture is bound to attract wide attention and a great deal of discussion wherever is shown." Photoplay, Nov. 1929, 67
Watch: YouTube upload of H2O
"A parody of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," produced and directed by James Blue while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon." Knight Library.
"In the Home Movie field, Lawrenson submitted a fine document of a day with his little 2-year-old daughter. The main portion is given over to a day at the seashore. But he gives reasons for everything he does even to going home. He shows a storm coming up and after the family has arrived safely at home, the little looks out of the window while the raindrops patter on the windowpane." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1936, 24.
"Supernatural thriller made by a teenage girl." Filmpreservation.org
"15 year old Mary is bored. With her parents permission she writes her chum Martha to come for summer vacation and they will make a movie. In the meantime two convicts escape from the nearby prison. To frighten the girls away the convicts decide to play ghosts. Film ends with posse, capture and hand colored inferno." Oregon Historical Society.
Hell Bound Train "depicts the devil as the train's engineer both driving his locomotive toward hell and tempting the sinner-passengers that occupy various cars on the train. The film is divided into episodes each one representing a different kind of sin or sinner and set in a corresponding car of the train" Tepperman, 233-234.
"Norman McLaren and Helen Biggar’s urgent work of animated agit-prop utilises a mixture of film forms (from found footage to title cards and staged action) stitched together with rapid editing to create an incisive and disorienting polemic against government armament spending. Made in 1936 as fascism was on the rise throughout Europe, the film was the result of collaboration between animator McLaren and sculptor Biggar, made during their tenure at the Glasgow School of Art. The idea was to use a rapid succession of violent images to jolt the viewer into demonstrative action against a new war, decades before such Brechtian techniques were employed by artists like Jean-Luc Godard. The result is one of the most striking and memorable of all animated political films" British Film Institute.
Watch: Part 1/2, via YouTube
Watch: Part 2/2, via YouTube
"A blonde model and the sights of New York divide the honors in Othon Goetz's Her Heart's Desire, a pleasant story of the girl who came to the Big City to model and got married instead. Good city footage is quite rare; Mr. Goetz has succeeded in achieving some startling shots of New York's splendors as he follows the thin thread of his story. It is difficult to believe that this blonde would not have found a job — but she lends glamour to a film that otherwise might show considerable weakness." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 470.
"A record of the second birthday of June Thubron. The spontaneous actions of a little girl on finding her birthday presents. A record of her actions without any adult direction. The little girl plays with her birthday presents on the lawn and also waters flowers in the garden before falling asleep. In a stop-frame animated sequence subtitled 'Dreamland' towards the end of the film, her new toys come alive." East Anglian Film Archive.
"Herbie is an abstract pattern mostly of automobile headlights enough out of focus to cause the viewer to wonder what they are. The judges felt the maker of this film should be commended for synchronizing his sound track to the abstract movements, of the patterns made by the lights" PSA Journal, Aug. 1967, 37.
Watch: YouTube upload of Herbie
"An amateur film made by and starring the husband and wife duo, John & Evelyn Kibar. The film documents the couples’ struggles to make and complete a travelogue film of their travels to Colorado. Title cards with dialogue are dispersed throughout the film." Chicago Film Archives
"A narrated travelogue addressed to viewers in the U.S. shows life in several small towns surrounding Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Shows rope making from sisal hemp and traditional textile weaving. Concludes with a visits to the outdoor markets in Santiago Atitlan and Chichicastenango" Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive.
"A half-horse, half-man pursues a young woman who turns herself into the same figure. Using a spare animation style, Straiton deals with a mythological subject that reveals his personal sense of humour. A beautiful film, set to original music, that is stunning in its simplicity." Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.
Watch: via YouTube
"Simplicity and directness mark How to Use Filters, made by Kenneth F. Space for the Harmon Foundation. A teaching film must be free from overburdening theory. Mr. Space knows when to forget the deep dark secrets of theory and when to speak out about the actual, practical facts. His film was well filmed, and the subject matter was chosen to present the case clearly and in an interesting fashion. The user of a movie camera will learn more about filters from seeing this film than he can gain from reading many pages on the subject. It tells just what to expect from various filters and stresses the results obtained from their use more than it does the reasons why they work. Mr. Space's movie is one of the few educational films which are simple enough to be effective." Movie Makers, Dec. 1940, 604.
Watch: via National Archives
"A milestone in the pedagogy of personal movie making, How to Use Your Camera, produced by the Harmon Foundation and photographed by Kenneth F. Space of that organization's staff, is a simple and straightforward exposition of the fundamentals of camera operation. This picture, reel one in a forthcoming series of releases to be entitled You Can Make Good Movies, is marked by attractive and technically superior photography. The remarkable restraint exercised in planning and directing the picture is its outstanding virtue because, although the principles of camera manipulation covered are elementary and brief, they are crystal clear. It would have been easy to have covered too much ground in a one reel film of a technical procedure, and, in restricting the scope of the picture, the producer showed astonishing understanding of both the movie medium and of the technique of teaching movie making. The photography is beautiful, the sequencing and editing exquisite gems, in themselves examples of good technique, and the titling is excellent. Movie Makers will be impatient to see the companion reels in the series, and the Harmon Foundation deserves acclaim for its pioneering work." Movie Makers, Dec. 1938, 618.
Watch: via the National Archives
"In August 1980, Robbins Barstow and his wife Meg, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, USA, went on a week-long trip to Newfoundland, Canada, to go whalewatching in the North Atlantic waters of Trinity Bay. Join them for exciting, on-the-surface, close encounters with giant humpback whales, and dramatic sightings also of finback and minke whales." Archive.org
Watch: via A/V Geeks (Archive.org)
"Hunting, cast of "Boy," played by Winthrop Rolfe, and "Dog," played by Teddy. Boy, walks with Dog through the forested mountainside, gazes at views over the alley, drinks water from a rushing stream, and kneels to shoot at birds." Notes by (NHF) Chris Reed and Chris Castiglia, June 2013
Watch: Via Northeast Historic Film
"In I Walked a Crooked Trail, O. L. Tapp has lured a good deal of motion and humor out of what must be one of the world's most static subjects — the Arches National Monument. Remembering that story interest is an important part of cinematics, Mr. Tapp has kept his very competent camera trained on continuous human action, letting his travelog unwind itself, very subtly, as a background. The film is limited by the essential triviality of its theme — the unfolding of a practical joke. But within its limits it does very well indeed." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 467-468.
Watch: via the University of Utah
"I'd Be Delighted To!, directed and photographed by S. Winston Childs, jr., ACL, is that kind of production often planned but seldom made — a film story told entirely in closeups. Presenting the simple incident of a dinner a deux in a gentleman's apartment, the picture runs through 400 feet of brilliantly chosen, strikingly filmed, significant closeups. It is adroit, amusing and sophisticated, and a splendid example of what, with skill and care, can be done in this distinctly advanced amateur filming method." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 562.
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