Memories of hard won victories: amateur moviemaking contests and serious leisure

Shand, Ryan (2013) Memories of hard won victories: amateur moviemaking contests and serious leisure. Leisure Studies, 33 (5). pp. 471-490. ISSN 0261-4367


Contests are one of the most successful stimuli to production within the amateur moviemaking sector. Despite pleas from some commentators that moviemakers should view their practice as non-competitive civic participation, many more consciously sought out the public recognition that came from winning an award at regional, national and international film competitions. The ‘Ten Best’, an annual production competition that ran from 1936 to 1986, is of particular note as it was the highlight of the year for many amateur moviemakers who referred to it as ‘our Oscars’. Focusing on a Ten Best prize-winning film from the Merseyside region, War Declared (1985), consideration of this title encourages empirical data gathering to be extended beyond primary print sources by drawing on original interviews conducted with local cine-club members. While some filmmakers see the pursuit of awards as a superficial path to follow, others viewed the ‘Ten Best’ as setting the standard for others to aspire to. These interviews revealed that amateur moviemakers have mixed feelings about the central role of contests and awards in the amateur sector. However, the potential satisfaction and/or ‘compensation’, which winning can provide, overrides the perceived costs and secures the cultural value of participants’ work.

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