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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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. The Spence Brothers: Amateur Sci-fi and Cine Culture in Northern Ireland

. The Spence Brothers: Amateur Sci-fi and Cine Culture in Northern Ireland

(p.278) 13. The Spence Brothers: Amateur Sci-fi and Cine Culture in Northern Ireland
Small-Gauge Storytelling

Ciara Chambers

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on a sustained body of such work by brothers Roy and Noel Spence. Former school teachers based in County Down, Roy and Noel have become celebrated figures throughout Ireland since their transition into amateur filmmakers, and for their creation of some unique screening venues: bespoke cinemas which have appropriated the furnishing and ephemera from a range of closed commercial cinemas. An engagement with genre has always been central to their work, and marks both the ambition and the qualification of the whole enterprise. The Spence brothers have particularly focussed on the moment of the 1950s sci-fi B-movie, and currently run ‘The Chowder Club’, an exhibition organisation set up to provide screenings to enthusiasts, who must sit a series of tests in order to join. They have also produced several sc-fi films set in Ireland, which pay homage to the genre. This chapter argues that the Spence brothers’ relationship as amateurs to this genre, in a period of Irish conflict, mirrors Hollywood’s relationship with alien-infested B-movies as cold war tensions escalated in the 1950s.

Keywords:   Cinephilia, Science-fiction films, B-movies

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