Some very salient and very relevant points there ned.
Yes, there is a confusion, a dichotomy if you like, over what constitutes an amateur or an amateur video. I think the phrase that summed it up best for me was one 'devised' for our local County festival by the chap in charge of publicity at that time - "movies made for fun, not for profit". To me, that says it all: if a 'pro' made a film purely for the heck of it, in his spare time, without intending to sell it or profit from it, in my book he qualifies. If a 'pro' retires and decides he/she wants to continue making films as a past-time and just for the fun of it, why not? That is my opinion, but the edges are 'blurred', and definitions muddied possibly by the aversion to the word 'amateur'. Golfers don't mind being called amateurs: I believe (not being a golfer) they even have a pro-am competition (?). In other words I see no reason why a 'pro' cannot let his/her hair down and make a movie 'off piste'.
So, yes, one of the things that should perhaps be (further) clarified once and for all is what constitutes an amateur movie. Maybe the IAC definition should be re-written to make it perfectly clear and totally unambiguous what does and what does not constitute an 'amateur movie'.
Yes, there are two groups making 'amateur' movies, as you say. The hobbyist, progressing perhaps from shooting family and holiday movies, encouraged maybe by the capability of today's editing programmes with all their whizzbangs and graphics and, in retirement, having more time on his/her hands to exploit the hobby. And the young student with ambitions of being the next Hitchcock or Spielberg. In our local county and regional festivals we do get schools within the area entering films - made by groups of students often under the watchful and guiding eye of a tutor/teacher (is he professional? Does that make the film non eligible? I don't think so, but...). Can we persuade those students to individually join the IAC? From experience, not yet. One or two school groups have joined I believe. Too few to count for anything.
You ask 'what is the cornerstone of the IAC', and suggest it is BIAFF. I disagree with that, and perhaps that's where our differences really lie. I believe BIAFF is its showcase, the 'public' result of what it provides (or should provide) its members with throughout the year - 'training' advice, and movie making help. And that is why I regard the magazine as being important - it is a key - major - element in passing on information, help and advice to its members. The website is another source. At the moment, I see those as being the cornerstones that would or should attract new 'customers'. BIAFF, as the showcase, says to the world 'look what we can do - for the fun of it' , and as such could or should get more attention, more notice, greater recognition.
You're right that the support for clubs from the IAC can be difficult to see. I fought hard to get some financial help for regions holding the festivals on behalf of the IAC. I believe that should change - suggestions have been made here in this thread - for example, provide lists of willing (and thick-skinned!) judges for clubs and local areas to call upon, trainers, speakers for club evenings and so on. Provide or link to lists of keen actors and actresses. Provide lists of people willing to help and get involved with a shoot (for fun, not for profit, naturally).
As a hobby, you will appreciate, it takes a lot of time to create a movie - time which is in more supply for those who have retired. Often, retired people also have a bit of cash they can spend on equipment - which could be denied to struggling families. That's why the clubs are crammed with wrinklies, and why, yes, U3A would be an excellent 'fishing ground' for new members.
Yes, I see the IAC as being an overseeing body that encourages and helps the clubs (and indie groups, why not) to grow and further the 'hobby'. Yes, I think the IAC could do more on that front - but, as Dave commented, it is a charitable organisation, and there are
probably reasons why their hands are tied to some extent. The people who 'run' the IAC are all volunteers (apart from the one-person office), devoting their time freely (and for the most part at their own expense): one cannot and should not expect them to perform like the paid directorship of a commercial organisation.
But, I think we both agree, to survive and continue, it must change.