The fact is that IAC membership numbers are declining, and the existing membership age profile is noticeably lacking of younger people. Without 'Change', this trend will continue until the inevitable happens! ...This proposed 'Manifesto for Change' is aimed at reversing this decline into a positive expansion.
1. Constitution no change
The original 1932 constitution is perfectly valid exactly as it is, to quote from the last AGM financial report:
We take this original high thinking and apply it to the times we are living in now.The Charity's object and its principal activity continue to be that of the promotion, advancement and improvement of general education in relation to all aspects of cinematography and associated audio and visual arts and the development of public appreciation of such arts.
2. Purpose and Focus
It is recognised that there are many levels of personal involvement in Amateur Film and Video making, and all are part of this community. However it is anticipated that for new and younger members, the primary purpose and need for this Institute will be from those who see it as their Vocation, rather than their Hobby – a 'Vocation' free of the constraints of the commercial world but aspiring to the same quality. An analogy is open-source software in computing.
...This in no way depreciates the value of hobby films made for the entertainment of family, friends or self, rather it is about the need for an Institute.
To quote a previously made definition...
To an outsider 'hobby' and 'vocation' may look the same, both can involve considerable time and expense, but the crucial difference is that of intention. A hobby is optional, a vocation is the purpose of one's life.
If we write, or make films speaking truth to power, or showing the stupidity of war, or what it is to be different, etc, this is our vocation, not a 'hobby'.
Those of us who see our activity as a vocation, albeit unpaid, then the competition culture is wholly inappropriate. To have a film put down as the loser in a competition such as BIAFF, is sadistic towards the artist who tried to speak out. Perhaps the film was aimed at a different type of audience. Perhaps the judges were not familiar with the issues. Perhaps the filmmaker just needed guidance not a kicking.
Competitions have winners and losers, artistic expression does not.
3. BIAFF Change of Focus
To change the style and focus of our main event; the British Amateur International Film Festival, making it more of a spectacle attracting the wider public, and less about the competition element, though both sides will coexist.
To quote from a previously made suggestion...
A festival should be a festival not a competition, but could we not at least abolish the: 'One, Two and Three star awards', while offering these filmmakers the option to withdraw their work and improve it in line with the feedback given, then re-enter their film for the following festival, otherwise it will only be selected for viewing in the current festival if time allows? ...This will separate out those films that mean a lot to their makers, but are really unfinished projects.
4. Election of Council
The default position where council members are re-elected needs to change. We need to strive towards continually getting some new people on the Council while still maintaining stability. This replenishment needs to be perpetual.
It is proposed that in the AGM election at the end of their current term in office, all existing members present a summary of what they intend to do in the same manner as new candidates will do. Thereby ending the current situation of re-election by default.
5. Replacement of FVM magazine
Due to the high cost of publication, the excessive lead time between writing and print, and also the pressure it puts on an editor to maintain neutrality in times of change while keeping the content to a fixed size; the existing paper 'Film and Video Maker' magazine will be replaced by an upgraded forum, where members can also post pictures and video clips besides their text, also to have click-able links to uploaded PDF attachments.
A section of this new upgraded forum, will be the new platform that contributing authors within the Institute self-publish their articles, while giving the entire membership freedom to comment and discuss the topics as per the existing forum.
Our existing phpBB forum is capable of being extended to all these functions we need if they are enabled, and possibly with software 'extensions'. Currently pictures can only be added if they are remote content on another website such as this on my own website, for which I obviously have permission to use as an example...
(Castlerigg stone circle, Lake District, GB)
6. Use of Technology for Meetings
To work towards the implementation of Multi-platform Video conferencing for all IAC meetings, both for the council and for the whole membership. (e.g. Zoom or Skype)
Electronic Voting will also be set up on the IAC website in a members only area. Again this is possible with the existing phpBB forum if a members-only area is set up.
During the transition, detail instructions with pictures, are to be printed and posted out to the entire membership to help those unfamiliar with the new technology.
7. Database or Network of potential helpers
Members to be encouraged to offer their time and skill, with the extent of travel they are able to cope with, in return for similar help with their own projects. Thereby building a mutually supporting community far wider than a single club could manage.
In the independent commercial film world, there is a parallel with the website 'Shooting People'.
8. Policy of Free Speech but no insults or abuse
An advantage of being free from commercial interests, is the ability to produce controversial content, especially as seen from the perspective of the establishment. Though this freedom must be used responsibly and no insults of any kind, nor incitement to violence made to any other person, member or otherwise. This rule will be enforceable. We want to cooperate together in a pleasant harmonious manner, even when we disagree over issues.
9. National and International
The IAC is a British organisation with International connections. With the demise of similar organisations in other nations, there exists scope to expand our international reach by the use of new technology and video conferencing. Membership is to be open globally, but will remain a British based organisation. All times stated will be Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
It is human nature to resist change of something that has become established, but if the IAC does not evolve as the needs of new filmmakers change, then it will not survive. We all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves, but it must be fit for purpose in today's world.
Jameela M Boardman