Special issue of Immagine n. 26

“Immagine”, a peer-reviewed journal promoted by AIRSC (Italian Association for Research into the History of Cinema), hosts a special issue dedicated to amateur cinema in Italy, in the centenary of the 9.5 and 16 mm formats.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 15 March 2022

Immagine, n. 26, (December 2022) Stories and practices of amateur cinema in Italy (1922-1995)

Edited by: Alice Cati, Andrea Mariani and Paolo Simoni

Amateur and non-theatrical markets triggered a search for the most practical application of smaller formats from the moment of the ratification of the 35mm theatrical standard for films in 1909 (Cherchi-Usai 2019). Nevertheless, it is not before the introduction of Pathé-Baby 9.5mm in 1922 and 16mm by Eastman Kodak in 1923 that small-gauge cinema became a pervasive technology in family and private environments. From that moment on, a parabola of extremely diversified experiences and social uses gradually emerged. Passing through the experience of analogue video, it arrived in 1995 with the introduction of the MiniDv: a watershed for the transition to digital. But such a “short twentieth century” full of stories and practices has not yet been properly studied and investigated in a syncretic and transversal fashion.

During the last decade, Amateur Film Studies have been recognised within Cinema and Media Studies as a flourishing area of research. Amateurism in cinema and media was long considered a marginal field, a matter for few scholars interested in understanding its socio-historical functions. Instead, we have recently witnessed a significant proliferation of contributions and publications in the international context, that stressed interconnections between past techniques and aesthetics with the new trends of the present (Aasman-Montrescu-Mayers 2019), as well as between global cultures and national contexts (Fibla-Salazkina 2020).

These scholarships showed how essential it is to consider these modes of production as outcomes of a cultural process characterised by a series of power relations and negotiation between dominant and marginal practices, mainstream film production and small gauge and video-amateur production.

Furthermore, it is precisely this intertwined attention to past and contemporary phenomena that has opened a brand new historical awareness concerning recursive or discontinue aesthetics, technical enhancements, social norms, gestures and figures in amateur cinema and media history and archeology. Thus, Italian amateur cinema histories can be excavated as a network of experiences through new epistemological patterns, stressing new connections between formats, genres, periods and uses. The uniqueness and singularity of these objects should not be seen as a limit, nor the often lacunose historical contexts these ephemeral and minor works are coming from.

In the light of the imminent centenaries of the 9.5mm and 16mm formats, this special issue aims to outline the state of the art on new archival sources, methods and research tools, focusing on the Italian case. We welcome analyses and research perspectives on small-gauge and video-amateur cinema as a device for recording and transmitting personal and family memories (and for creating real genealogies), low-cost means available to individuals and groups for a variety of production and expressive purposes in different contexts (from film clubs/cineguf and film-amateur associations to festivals, art galleries, factories, political circles and ethno-anthropological study centers, parishes and religious centers, missions, etc.), and as a didactic and educational tool.

Focus studies about personalities from the amateur cinema field, institutions, magazines and publications, festivals and distribution centers, small-gauged cinema exhibition sites as well as on the period of coexistence, hybridisation and transition between small-gauge cinema and analogue video may also be welcome.

Proposals may focus on the following themes (though not limited to them):

●challenges and sources for a history and historiography of amateur cinema in Italy: sources, periodizations, deviations, intersections;

●renewal of methodologies for cataloging of Italian amateur film collections;

●mapping the circulation of Italian amateur films (from private use to public circulation);

●texts and paratexts: magazines, manuals, filmographies, ephemeral media;

●film-club cultures and amateur film production;

●small-gauge film and video technology and avant-garde and underground cultures;

●small-gauge film and video technology and practices for scientific research (medicine, botany, ethnography, architecture, etc.) and educational use;

●genealogies and intergenerational relations in the Italian amateur film history;

●past and present sites of exhibition and presentation of amateur film and video (from specialised theaters to cinema museums and art galleries)

●Italian cinema amateur: social classes, genders, cultures;

●LGBTIQ cultures and the amateur film and video

●reduction prints and amateur “collage films”;

●programming of amateur cinema: festivals, reviews, cultural events.

Deadlines and instructions

To participate in the special issue with an essay proposal, please send an abstract (300-400 words) and a brief biographical note, in English or Italian, to (formatoridotto100 /at/ gmail.com) by March 15,2022. Acceptance of proposals will be communicated to authors by March 30, 2022.

Essays, with an approximate length of 35-40,000 characters (including spaces and footnotes), in Italian or English, should be submitted no later than August 20, 2022. All contributions will be submitted to a double blind peer review procedure.

Bibliographical references

S. Aasman, A. Flickers, J. Wachelder (a cura di), /Materializing Memories: Dispositifs, Generations, Amateurs/, Bloomsbury, London 2018

S. Aasman, A. Montrescu-Mayes, /Amateur Media and Participatory Cultures: Film, Video and Digital Media/, Routledge, New York, NY 2019

P. Caneppele, “On classification or Wonder is the denial of analogy”, in J. Golding, M. Reinhart, M. Paganelli (a cura di), /Data Loam. Sometimes Hard Usually Soft. The Future of Knowledge System/, de Gruyter, Berlin, Boston 2021, p. 123-134.

A. Cati, /Pellicole di ricordi. Film di famiglia e memorie private, 1926-1942/, Vita & Pensiero, Milano 2009

D. Cavallotti, /Labili tracce: per una teoria della pratica videoamatoriale/, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2019

Dossier /The complex materiality of amateur cinema research: texts, archives and digital methods/, «Screen», vol. 61, n. 1, Spring 2020

L. Farinotti, E. Mosconi (a cura di), /Il metodo e la passione. Cinema amatoriale e film di famiglia in Italia/, «Comunicazioni Sociali», XXVII, 3, Settembre-Dicembre 2005

E. Fibla, M. Salazkina (a cura di), /Toward a Global History of Amateur Film Practices and Institutions/, «Film History», vol. 30, n. 1, 2018

E. Gipponi, /Una rivoluzione inavvertita/, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2020

A. Mariani, /Gli anni del Cineguf. Il cinema sperimentale italiano dai cine-club al Neorealismo/, Mimesis, MIlano-Udine 2018.

M. McNamara, K. Sheldon (a cura di), /Amateur Movie Making: Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film/, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN 2017

A. Montrescu-Mayes, H. Norris Nicholson, /British Women Amateur Filmmakers: National Memories and Global Identities/, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 2018

R. Odin, /Gli spazi della comunicazione. Introduzione alla semio-pragmatica/, Vita e Pensiero, Milano 2013.

L. Rascaroli, G. Young, B. Monahan, /Amateur filmmaking. The home movie, the archive, the web/, Bloomsbury, New York-London-New Delhi-Sydney 2014

M Salazkina, E. Fibla-Gutierrez (a cura di), /Global Perspectives on Amateur Film Histories and Cultures/, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2021

R. Shand, I. Craven (a cura di), /Small-Gauge Storytelling: Discovering the Amateur Fiction Film/, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 2013

P. Simoni, /Lost Landscapes: Il cinema amatoriale e la città/, Kaplan, Torino 2018

C. Tepperman, /Amateur Cinema: The Rise of North American Moviemaking, 1923–1960/, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA 2014

V. Vignaux, B. Turquety (a cura di), /L’Amateur en cinéma, un autre paradigme: histoire, esthétique, marges et institutions/, Association française de recherche sur l’histoire du cinéma, Paris 2016

P. R. Zimmermann, /Reel Families. A Social History of Amateur Film/, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1995