an amateur art, popular in many countries, that appeared with the development of cinematography.
Amateur film-making developed in the Soviet Union after the Society of Friends of the Soviet Cinema was organized in Moscow in 1925. Chapters of the society sprang up throughout the country. Komsomol amateur film groups (Kinorabmol) were created in many cities. The All-Union Commission for Work With Amateur Film-makers of the Union of Cinematographers of the USSR was created in 1957 to foster the broad development of amateur film-making.
Amateur films are made independently, and many of the films deal with family occasions and travel. Films shot by specialists in the various sciences are of great value, being used for scientific work and for the exchange of experience. Documentary, feature, and sports films are made by collectives and amateur film studios attached to educational institutions, large-scale enterprises, palaces of culture, Pioneer houses, kolkhoz and sovkhoz clubs, and the Soviet Army.
Professional cinematographers offer help to amateur film studios. Important work in this area is done by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, which supervises more than 4,000 amateur film collectives. Since 1966, the Bureau for the Popularization of Soviet Film Art of the Union of Cinematographers of the USSR has put out a series of brochures entitled the Amateur Film-makers’ Library.
Since 1957, All-Union amateur film festivals have helped bring together the works of diverse groups of amateur film-makers. Films that win prizes at festivals are later shown at movie theaters. The amateur television film-makers’ club Ob”ektiv (The Lens), organized in 1962, has played a significant role in popularizing amateur film-making by showing amateur films and holding international television festivals. Soviet amateur films have received awards at international film festivals in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Canada, France, and Italy. Soviet amateur film-makers take part in international amateur film organizations and belong to the International Amateur Film-makers’ Association (since 1961).
Amateur film creates a unique chronicle of the life of a country and records the achievements of other kinds of amateur artistic activity. It is important as a type of cultural and educational work and assists in the aesthetic growth of the Soviet people— especially of the nation’s youth. Many former amateur film-makers now work in the professional cinema.