ATLAS OF AN AMATEUR CINEMA: Mapping the Discarded

Luisa Homem

Inês Sapeta Dias

Documentary / HD / 30' / 2023

Atlas of an Amateur Cinema” is a journey through unmapped territory. Over 13 episodes, this territory will be explored and discovered. These are 13 mappings, possible paths among others, infinite, through another cinema, without a fixed name. It’s a cinema made outside official and professional circuits, often driven by emotional motives, a cinema that has remained outside of history and archives, locked in private places, invisible or discarded.

It is estimated that throughout the history of cinema, only 1% of amateur cinema and family films have been preserved. The other 99% are lost films, and even today, some of them can be found in the trash or for sale at antique markets. This series seeks what remains of this cinema and, through commentary, editing, and re-editing of these images, aims to draw an atlas that opposes the official history, one made of unofficial, private, and nameless narratives and images. “Atlas of an Amateur Cinema” is a visual journey into another history of cinema.

Episode: Mapping The Discarded

Until the 1990s, there were few archives that collected amateur cinema and family films, and it was only recently that the first archives exclusively dedicated to preserving these films were established. This initial mapping introduces this blind spot in the history of cinema. It introduces the terms of this ATLAS, starting with “amateur” and how it contrasts with the official, correct, and regulated images. It also looks at how this cinema is influenced by these official images. Additionally, it considers the “atlas” itself as a mechanism for connecting images, a visual machine that, through editing, allows us to see what is absent. Over four meetings, the discussion focuses on the stabilization of official imagery and what is left out of it. It seeks to understand how the selection and arrangement of archives influence the written history and what other possible stories remain untold. It’s a mapping of exclusion.

Directing Luísa Homem, Inês Sapeta Dias Cinematography Luisa Homem Sound Inês Sapeta Dias Editing Inês Sapeta Dias, Luisa Homem Sound Editing and Mix Nuno Morão Design Oh! Mana


IndieLisboa International Film Fest, Portugal'24