It’s not an insult: the Bradford Movie Makers proudly call themselves a bunch of amateurs. Since 1932, members have been making virtually zero-budget films with rickety production values and acting of a quality that often results in fond mickey-taking among themselves. With this warm and rather wonderful documentary Kim Hopkins finds comedy in their idiosyncratic passion without ever being mean or mocking. A Bunch of Amateurs is a thoughtful film about film-making and has some unexpectedly deep things to say too about camaraderie, community and male friendship – though there are a couple of women in the club’s ageing membership.
Cath Clarke, The Guardian
A Bunch of Amateurs, the latest documentary by Kim Hopkins, opens with a quote by Susan Sontag – “If cinephilia is dead, then movies are dead too”. At a time where film viewing is steadily becoming more dispersed and individualised, a small yet keen community of amateur filmmakers known as the Bradford Movie Makers heeded Sontag’s call. – –
What used to be a thriving community of northern cinephiles bonding over their passions now appears on our screens as a seemingly niche group of elders who split their time between watching films, revisiting reels of their early shorts and remaking scenes from old favourites (in this case, the iconic opening sequence from Oklahoma!) on the slimmest of budgets. Bickering, generational differences, ego clashes and cups of tea abound, but the community approach to filmmaking always shines through.
Marina Ashioti, Little White Lies