The Amateur Movie Makers Association folded last year after 53 years.
Its first meeting was in the fall of 1956, in the basement of the Tappan, New Jersey home of Sidney and Helen Horitz. Initially begun as the American chapter of the Institute of Amateur Photographers, a British organization, in the 1970s it became the Society of Amateur Cinematographers. Reflecting the changing times and technology, in 1991 it transformed into the Society of Amateur Videographers and Cinematographers. Its final change came in 2002, when it became the Amateur Movie Makers Association.
In its time the AMMA was one of America’s largest cine clubs, and had up to 371 members before beginning its gradual decline. As with other clubs, it was a way for amateur filmmakers to stay in touch with other filmmakers and trends in filmmaking. Through newsletters and meetings its members were able to view and critique each others films.
The organization had annual contests in which awards were given for best films of the year as well as the “Magic Moments” contest for films one minute or less. At the last AMMA convention in Buena Park, California in 2008, the Oscar Horovitz Memorial Award for the Best Motion Picture by a member of AMMA was granted to Leo Tallieu of Michigan, who won for his nature film Kayaking on the Oxbow.
The PDF file below is pages 1-12 of the last issue of the AMMA newsletter, including many memories of the organization’s history by some of its longtime members.