Amateur Movie Making

Unjacketed Library Edition

Amateur Movie Making

Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film, 1915-1960
Edited by Martha J. McNamara and Karan Sheldon
Foreword by Alice T. Friedman
With Contributions by Dino Everett
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/20/2017
Format: cloth 304 pages, 64 b&w illus.
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-02562-3
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A compelling regional and historical study that transforms our understanding of film history, Amateur Movie Making demonstrates how amateur films and home movies stand as testaments to the creative lives of ordinary people, enriching our experience of art and the everyday. Here we encounter the lyrical and visually expressive qualities of films produced in New England between 1915 and 1960 and held in the collections of Northeast Historic Film, a moving image repository and study center that was established to collect, preserve, and interpret the audiovisual record of northern New England. Contributors from diverse backgrounds examine the visual aesthetics of these films while placing them in their social, political, and historical contexts. Each discussion is enhanced by technical notes and the analyses are also juxtaposed with personal reflections by artists who have close connections to particular amateur filmmakers. These reflections reanimate the original private contexts of the home movies before they were recast as objects of study and artifacts of public history.

Author Bio

Martha J. McNamara is Director of the New England Arts and Architecture Program in the Department of Art at Wellesley College. She is the author of From Tavern to Courthouse: Architecture and Ritual in American Law, 1658-1860, and coeditor with Georgia Barnhill of New Views of New England: Studies in Material and Visual Culture, 1680-1830.

Karan Sheldon is cofounder of northern New England’s moving image archive, Northeast Historic Film. She has curated screenings including
You Work, We’ll Watch and Exceptional Amateur Films and given annual lectures in Regional and Nontraditional Moving Image Archiving for the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, Rochester, NY.

Reviews

"exciting, compelling reading...[and an] important contribution to the scholarship of amateur film, documentary, [and] regional history." —Patricia R. Zimmermann, author of Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film

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Table of Contents

Accessing Moving Images
Foreword / Alice T. Friedman
Acknowledgments
Introduction / Martha McNamara and Karan Sheldon

Part 1: Locating Contexts: Archive, Material, History, Place
1. A Place for Moving Images: Thirty Years of Northeast Historic Film / Karan Sheldon
2. The Technologies of Home Movies and Amateur Film / Dino Everett
3. A Region Apart: Representations of Maine and Northern New England in Personal Film, 1920-1940 / Libby Bischof
4. A Strange Familiarity: Alexander Forbes and the Aesthetics of Amateur Film / Justin Wolff

Part 2: Creative Choices: Recovering Value in Amateur Film
Reflection 1. The Task at Hand: The Films of Ernest Stillman / Whit Stillman
5. Midway Between Secular and Sacred: Consecrating the Home Movie as a Cultural Heritage Object / Karen Gracy
6. “All the Wonderful Possibilities of Motion Pictures”: Hiram Percy Maxim and the Aesthetics of Amateur Filmmaking / Charles Tepperman
7. Comedic Counterpoise: Landscape and Laughs in the Films of Sidney N. Shurcliff / Martha J. McNamara

Part 3: Everyday Lives: Home and Work in Amateur Film
Reflection 2. Perspectives on the Home Movies of Charles Norman Shay, Penobscot Elder / Jennifer Neptune
8. Not-at-Home Movies / Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed
9. The Boss’s Film: Expert Amateurs and Industrial Culture / Brian Jacobson

Part 4: Families: Private and Public
Reflection 3. "The Ring of Time" in the E. B. White Home Movies / Martha White
10. Opening the Can: Home Movies In the Public Sphere / Melissa Dollman
11. Layers of Vision in Amateur Film / Mark Neumann and Janna Jones
Selected Bibliography
Index
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