The role of amateur cinema as archival material in Italian media productions has only recently been discovered. Italy, as opposed to other European countries, lacked a local, regional and national policy for the collection and preservation of private audiovisual documents, which led, as a result, to the inaccessibility of the sources. In 2002 the Archivio Nazionale del Film di Famiglia (Italy’s Amateur Film Archive), founded in Bologna by the Home Movies Association, became the reference repository of home movies and amateur cinema, promoting the availability of a cultural heritage that had previously been neglected. Today, it preserves about 5,000 hours of footage, contributes to documentary film productions and acts as a cultural and production center. The impact factor of the Home Movies Archive on the Italian audiovisual scenario and the sustainable perspectives strengthen the awareness that amateur film offers new opportunities to discover and represent the past from a different perspective, the one of an eyewitness “from below”. The article overviews the European and Italian discovery of amateur cinema as historical source from the seventies, and some cases from the Italian panorama during the last fifteen years, which powerfully raised the attention on home movies and amateur archive material.

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Keywords home movies, amateur cinema, audiovisual archive, found footage film, historical source
Publisher Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Journal VIEW Journal
Rights Each article is copyrighted © by its author(s) and is published under license from the author(s).When a paper is accepted for publication, authors will be requested to agree with the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License
Note VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture; Vol 4, No 8 (2015): Archive-Based Productions; 48-60
Simoni, Paolo. (2015). Eyewitnesses of History: Italian Amateur Cinema as Cultural Heritage and Source for Audiovisual and Media Production. VIEW Journal, 4(8), 48–60.

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