New adventures of independent film in CR IIIWritten by Andreas Kreuzer
During the times when the inevitable has happened, after the political change in 1989, a new authorship law came to be which abolished the monopoly. The new legislative naturally stopped differentiating between the professional and amateur creators since the law defines everyone as an artist just like in the western countries. It seemed then that this would be last nail in the coffin of the amateur film which had suffered a large decline in audience and lack of interest by the authors who were mostly their own audience.
Mockery after the 1989
Along with the technological advancement, easier handling, affordable prices and spread of easily reachable information it seemed that there were no longer and needs for associating. The number of members had thinned out but everything stayed more or less the same for decades. But it was not and could not be the same amateur film from the times when most of the authors had equal conditions. It was then when it was overlooked what the situation was for people responsible for artistic production in a free country. It was understandable, given the fact that the professional cinematography was also hit and tried to find a new way for a financial structure. This jungle simply could not find the time for a category which was seemingly unimportant under this new democracy. And truly, the problems followed shortly. According to the publications, a large portion of (amateur) creators became professional in the 90's. The blending of both film making worlds has begun. Suddenly they lived either as a part-time or full-time artists, had their own studios and many also owned equipment of a TV crew level. And these creators didn't forget the art and sent their films to competitions and suddenly the rules were broken, in a spirit of fair play. More often questions arose of who is an amateur and who is a professional, how come they had professional actors, co-creators and equipment. Suddenly there was a big difference compared to the pure amateurs who filmed their works on vacations, with their families or friends using their own cameras, without having the parameters of an advanced production. That created differences in the jury's philosophy who realized these shortcomings and started looking for other valuable parameters these pictures could have. Vojtěch Bednář, a man who wrote a dissertation on amateur film, said: "When the only way for an amateur film to present itself is on these competitions, the creators themselves will limit themselves only to the criteria of success. The very purpose of the amateur cinematography starts to grow thinner, just like the purpose of these competitive showcases."
The amateurs often leaned upon the fact that it doesn't matter how the film was made as long as it had a great idea. But the cruel reality today is that the author has fulfill certain criteria of film craft and add some differentiating features of the professional production. In other words, the author has to learn to do the craft properly and then he can afford to enrich his work with new ways and ideas. After all, a bad actor in a theater or falsely playing musician can both ruin a great work of art. Whoever wants to show their picture to the public has to carry a bigger burden and responsibility.
Ultimately the final blow to the already fairly unknown amateur film came through a variety of tv shows which showcased one funny home made video after another, calling the authors amateur film makers instead of showing the true face and philosophy of the original amateur film which the previous regime cared for. And this time it should simply give space to the truly talented creators and their films. But everything is dictated by the ratings these days and the amateur creators could not compete with that. Furthermore, in the Anglo-Saxon countries, which influence our culture the most, the word amateur is unfortunately used as a stark contrast to the word professional and symbolizes a somehow incompetent person. Even that was the beginning of how and why this term has such deep pejorative roots in our society.
The art in a modern democratic society shouldn't differentiate between professionals and amateurs
Possible new definitions of the amateur film in the context of the new social and political changes were doomed right from the start. "This day and age offer a wide spectrum of types of education, let it be high school, universities and various re-qualification courses offered by institutions, clubs or individuals. All of these forms of expert education are actual and it is hard to determine which can turn an amateur into a professional and which can't." That is the warning taken from an attempt on a new definition of amateur film by Nipos-Artama (national information center for culture). There was no other definition since then and it was just the competitions' organizers who declared the conditions and differences depending on the character of their competitions. Naturally, the goals of the amateur film makers changed as well. Because the amateur film makers keep in mind the equipment and technique, they don't just elevate themselves above the family film makers but also show their will to compete with the professionals. The amateur film makers then become obsessed with making their works look professional. Roger Odin correctly noted that the old regime's system is unable to adapt. "The community of the amateur film makers is very closed and has created its own production systems, presentation and distribution. The amateurs can therefore succeed in local competitions and advance into the nationals and internationals, even compete in UNICA without ever leaving the closed amateur space. The amateur film is therefore made in sort of a vacuum in its own little world. If it would try to step out of it, it would hardly find its place in the world since it works according to a very specific criteria which usually aren't the same as the audience's expectations." Odin therefore likens the amateur film to an isolated, spatially cut off bubble frozen in time and lying outside the general public. Thanks to the inertia and the host of the older generation the term still lingers on into the 21st century. Depute its basically ambiguous nature the word itself is not at fault, but it still significantly discredits the creators in the understanding of the new generations and in the socially cultural context it became something unwanted. Fortunately, its most important feature, the ideals still remain. With the new creators they transform into the new challenges and possibilities. That is why it's apparent that it is necessary to adapt the support for art. It is no longer possible to separate the artists into the amateurs and professionals in the modern democratic society as it used to be.