Amateur Cinema in Eastern Bloc Countries - Preconstituted Conference Panel

full name / name of organization: 
Maria Vinogradova
contact email:

Amateur cinema was considered a matter of public importance in Eastern Bloc countries on their way to socialism. State institutions supported and encouraged the emergence of new film collectives, mobilising professional filmmakers to advise amateurs, and running networks of filmmaking facilities nationwide, available at no cost to anyone willing to make films. Amateur film studios were attached to large factories, universities, children’s activity centres and other organizations, such as the army or travellers’ clubs to name a few. The term “amateur” could frequently be misleading, as some of these studios achieved a nearly professional level of technical and artistic skills, yet, what mattered was that the filmmakers pursued this activity in their free time, while making a living through a different professional occupation.

We invite scholars researching the work of such film collectives in Eastern Bloc countries (the former USSR, Czechoslovkia, Yugoslavia, GDR, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania) to join our work group and submit papers to our pre-constituted panel to be proposed to NECS Conference that will take place in Prague in June 2013 (

Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

• Overview of state-sponsored amateur cinema in a given country;
• Case studies of amateur film collectives and individual filmmakers working in any genre;
• Amateurs and emphemeral (industrial, educational, advertising etc.) film in Eastern Bloc countries;
• Material history: the role of technology and economics in development of amateur cinema;
• Amateur film festivals;
• International collaborations;
• Resistance from within: the role of
state-sponsored amateur film networks in development of underground film cuture;
• Ideological control or freedom of expression? Evaluation of the role of state sponsorship in amateur cinema;
• Amateur film and ethnographic research;
• Issues in amateur film archiving and preservation

Please, send your abstracts to Maria Vinogradova (
by January 14, 2013.

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