Competitions, Festivals and The Art of Film

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
Ian Woodward
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:24 pm

Competitions, Festivals and The Art of Film

Postby Ian Woodward » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:51 pm

I’ve just come across Austria’s Festival of Nations website where the results for the 2012 festival are published. I’m astonished to find that of the 200 recipients of awards and diplomas, there is only one representative from the UK – namely, Jim Walker, for his rivetting film Chinese Whispers.

The 199 other prize-winners come from all over western and eastern Europe and from as far afield as Iran, South Korea, the UAE, India and China.

Why, I wonder, have British film-makers simply not figured in any significant way among the 200 recipients of prizes and diplomas? Is it because the UK’s non-commercial film-makers are:

• simply not sending their productions to the festival?

• sending their stuff but just aren’t talented enough to win the judges’ hearts and, ultimately, their heads?

(We all know our film-makers are very talented, dedicated and enthusiastic bunch indeed.)

Could it be that the festival is not sympathetic towards UK film entrants?

Or, finally, are our film-makers maybe being put off by a ruling which, if I interpret it correctly, states that if an entrant is thought by the judges to have submitted a film that is worthy of a screening, it will probably NOT be shown if the film maker fails to attend the festival?

Whatever the reason, this prestigious festival is worthy of IAC members’ attention and it seems a real shame that only one member, Jim Walker, of Bradford Movie Makers, managed to be up there among the 200 worldwide gong-winning, diploma-accruing entrants to represent Britain.

All of which is a round-about way of saying “Many congratulations, Jim, on your well-deserved Silver Medal!”

Ian Woodward

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Dave Watterson
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Location: Bath, England

Re: Competitions, Festivals and The Art of Film

Postby Dave Watterson » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:00 pm

Ian I know that festival was not anti-UK - not least because I was supposed to be on the jury for it.

That would have been my fifth time as a juror in ten years of attending the event. Sadly an operation to replace my right knee took place just before the event and I had to miss it. It was doubly sad because that was the last Festival of Nations. The organiser retired and though there is talk of a similar festival in another town nearby we have to wait and see if it gets going.

I think the "preference given to authors who attend" line did put people off. It is based on the notion that when a jury gives its views from the stage twice ot thrice each day and does not prepare written notes, it makes better sense if the film maker/s are present. Since they - and the audience - could then debate with the jury it made for a more interesting discussion. Naturally many films were shown where the maker was not present, but when the work was considered of equal quality they chose the one where the author was there.

I have not seen the list of all the 1,500 or so entries, so cannot comment on how many UK entries might have been rejected. The list of those selected as suitable for showing only held one. So I echo your congratulations to Jim Walker.

Over the years there have been successes by a few nominally British participants who were actually film students studying in Britain, but we have also seen work from people we know through the non-commercial film making world. Bob Lorrimer's work is much enjoyed. Phil Martin is also successful. Alan Colegrave, Phyl Denton, Peter Rouillard and Jim Walker have all had success and enjoyed visiting the event too.

One of my jobs as Assistant Webmaster for the IAC is to maintain the list of festivals on the website. A major problem is trying to restrict the list to festivals where amateurs are genuinely welcomed and valued. Many festivals seem intended just to give an annual treat to the people of a town. Others aim at work by people trying to get into the business. Far too many will charge a heft whack for entry fee and give no feedback whatsoever. I welcome any recommendations forum readers have ...


Michael Slowe
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Re: Competitions, Festivals and The Art of Film

Postby Michael Slowe » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:56 pm

Dave, I, as you know, have been using the Withoutabox organisation to enter films in festivals both here and abroad (mostly the latter). Even by carefully selecting festivals one can spend a large amount of money (average say $25) and it appears that they get literally thousands of entries. Acknowledgement of receipt is posted on to your particulars within the site but very often that's all you get. Some send a nice letter informing you that your film was not selected and sometimes (hooray!) it's selected and even sometimes (rarely) you get an award. Serious film makers should examine this site. Once you register and enter details of your film, supply the publicity they request (stills, biog, synopsis), it's a matter of seconds to enter in a festival. Don't hold your breath though for a great re action!

Some held in the UK are well worth visiting, particularly the Open City festival held on the UCL campus here in London.

Ian Woodward
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:24 pm

Re: Competitions, Festivals and The Art of Film

Postby Ian Woodward » Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:33 pm

It is sad news indeed, Dave, that this year’s Festival of Nations was the last.

Let’s hope it can be resurrected in some way because a film festival that attracted 1500 non-commercial entries was clearly doing something right.

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