Image from Leaflet in the Collection on the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair, Queens Museum.
The Amateur Cinema League (ACL)
Founded in New York City in 1926, the ACL was an informal club for amateur film makers to discuss methods and techniques, showcase personal works, and promote amateur film as a serious enterprise.
The ACL foreshadowed the 1939 New York World Fair’s optimistic embrace of new technology, boldly proclaiming that “Amateur cinematography has a future that the most imaginative of us would be totally incapable of estimating.”
With the development of more affordable equipment, promotional publications, film exchanges, and annual competitions, the ACL expanded throughout the 1930s and served as a vital platform for the amateur filmmakers who documented the 1939 Fair. Lance Bird, director of The World of Tomorrow, gathered much of his footage by tracking down former members of the League who presented their work during the Queens Museum’s home video screenings.
—Richard Jung Lee, Archival Fellow
"The Amateur Cinema League and Its Films" by Alan D. Kattelle in Film History, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2003, pp. 238-251.
A Letter to the Editor: Cinema Clubs and the World of Tomorrow by Lance Bird in the Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 38, No. 3/4, Summer-Fall 1986, pp. 39-45
See what’s going on for home movie day on October 18th: http://www.centerforhomemovies.org/locations2014/
View 1939-1940 World’s Fair home videos from the Queens Museum: http://fairfilm.org/