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Small-Gauge StorytellingDiscovering the Amateur Fiction Film$
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Ryan Shand and Ian Craven

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748656349

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748656349.001.0001

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Ambitions and Arguments – Exploring Amateur Cinema Through Fiction

Ambitions and Arguments – Exploring Amateur Cinema Through Fiction

(p.1) Introduction: Ambitions and Arguments – Exploring Amateur Cinema Through Fiction
Small-Gauge Storytelling

Ryan Shand

Edinburgh University Press

This introductory chapter provides an account of scholarly research into amateur cinema as it has developed in the past decade or so, clarifies the structure of the present volume, and points towards specific questions addressed by the selection and grouping of its contributions. In the ‘relational’ spirit of much of the filmmaking involved, the volume considers the work of the ‘small gauge storyteller’ in relation to the study of professional cinema, whilst always underlining the transformation in amateur contexts. For example, when amateurs made films about the commercial sector they could be bitingly satirical, as in Coming Shortly (1954), a burlesque of a cinema trailer advertising that fabulous film that is always ‘Coming Shortly’, and The Bottom of The Barrel (1958) a skit on various styles of professional filmmaking. Similarly, the impulse to turn the camera back on their own filmmaking environment has also gripped the amateur filmmaker over the years, and an exploration of these themes will be the focus of this introductory chapter. Such fiction films indicate generalised attitudes towards the social conditions of the amateur mode of production, and these self-reflexive films are seen as encouraging a sense of recognition and enjoyment by holding a mirror up to participants of amateur cine culture more generally.

Keywords:   Value of fiction, Self-reflexive fiction, Satire

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