Shocking !

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
User avatar
Willy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

Shocking !

Post by Willy » Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:43 pm

I sometimes find inspiration for my one minute movies in cartoons made for an international cartoon festival in Belgium. "Sweetie" was one of them. The cartoonist was a Rumanian artist. Cartoonists from all over the world take part in that festival. Now I've made a new one minute movie based on a cartoon. Hopefully you will see it once.

This year one of the finalists of the festival shows the following picture : a blind man would like to buy a flat. The estate agent shows him round the flat. It's on the first floor with a lovely view on the market square of a village. After having "shown" the lovely view he leads the blind man to a second window. This time the view is just a brick wall. Of course the blind man doesn't know this because he is blind.

There is quite a lot of emotion in this picture, but it is shocking ! It is horrible ! Imagine that I would make a film about this scene... Would you accept this ? Would you appreciate it ? The cartoonist won the second prize at the festival.

Of course I would never make a film with this scene, but just imagine...

7 or 8 years ago I showed a bull fighting scene in Arles in my film. The bull was "tortured" and killed. The bull suffered quite a lot. It was difficult to film this. It was really disgusting. But I wanted to show that final scene in my film. The bull was killed by devout people... That's something that I didn't understand. A sharp contrast. One of the judges told me that he had given me bad marks because of the killing scene. What do you think about this ?

What I hate in some films is unfunctional nudity. Last year I saw a film about a lady who wanted to commit suicide. Before jumping into the lake she undressed. I still wonder why ?

An other thing that I didn't like : in a one minute movie the servant in a castle was a dwarf. But why did the filmmaker take a dwarf as a servant ? Perhaps just to impress the viewers ... and the judges ? One year later he made a new film with that little person who is one ofhis neighbours and who took part in the Flemish and sigusting TV-programme "Big Brother. . The dwarf who is a singer falls in love with a girl who is much taller than him. But alas she does not want him. The dwarf feels very sad, etc... In this film the dwarf was very functional. This time I could accept it.
Willy
Willy Van der Linden

tom hardwick
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Re: Shocking !

Post by tom hardwick » Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:27 am

[quote="Willy"]
7 or 8 years ago I showed a bull fighting scene in Arles in my film. One of the judges told me that he had given me bad marks because of the killing scene. What do you think about this ?
Willy[/quote]

What do I think about this? I'm thinking one of two things. First your filming of the killing scene may have been poor. Your exposures could have been off, your focus wrong, your framing bad, your camera shakey. The judge would then have been perfectly at liberty to give you bad marks.

Or secondly your film of the killing could have been superbly done and the judge was simply taking it as an opportunity to voice his displeasure that such things are allowed to take place. If this was the case the judge should have been turfed out on his ear, never to return.

Many years ago I was one of two judges at a Westcliff competition and amongst the films was a bullfight just as you describe. My fellow judge (who shall be nameless) was adament that the film should be downgraded because it 'glorified killing of animals'.

I was furious. We sat for some time in the little room before coming back into the hall to give our comments, and all that time I kept stressing that he should be sitting in judgement of the film, not the filmmaker. It made no difference, he still dismissed the film out of hand, unable to see the bigger picture.

Some people are simply unable to control or contain their own beliefs. I have no problem with this, but let's hope they don't become magistrates, let alone film judges.

tom.

ned c
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:22 pm

Willy's comments are very interesting, he lists scenes in films that he finds offensive and then complains that he was marked down for showing a bull fight killing that a judge found offensive. Tom castigates a judge who marked a film down for showing a similar scene.

Come on guys! All film viewing is a subjective experience and our reaction to the content is determined by our personal views and judges who supress their personal views and make awards to films with content they don't like are being dishonest. First you must accept that there are no RULES of film making so this is not like applying the law, the judges are really critics. Secondly, films are about CONTENT not FORM. I know we have been here before but will a perfectly made film extolling the virtues of white supremacy win over a flawed film about a successful mixed race community? Before you tell me the first film may in fact be illegal so is bull fighting in many countries.

If you make films with contentious content then the judges should take this into account and if they like it give it an award and if they don't like it say so and why.

ned c

User avatar
Dave Watterson
Posts: 1672
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:11 pm
Location: Bath, England
Contact:

Which is worse?

Post by Dave Watterson » Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:16 pm


Is it more annoying when you think a judge has marked a film higher than it deserves because she or he likes the subject?

I've heard complaints that judge X is a sucker for sentimental topics or that the film happens to be about someone judge Y admires.

Ideally judges should try to recognise and discount their own strong feelings for or against any topic ... but the world is not perfect.


Dave the Philosophical

Peter
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:17 am
Location: London
Contact:

Post by Peter » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:22 am

Ideally judges should try to recognise and discount their own strong feelings for or against any topic ... but the world is not perfect.


Dave the Philosophical


In the end the only thing that counts is your own judgement and strong belief in what you are trying to achieve. All competition judges are in the end just the same fallible biased individuals that we all are.
:lol:[/b]

Peter the non judgemental ... :twisted:

(I am related to Jean paul Sartre ...)

tom hardwick
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Post by tom hardwick » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:26 am

You've been asked to sit in judgement, Col. You've got to be as impartial as is possible. Whatever your views on the subject matter, leave them at home. You're there to sit in judgement of the film in its own rights, not to worry about censorship. Leave that to others; they're leaving the technical and aesthetic judgement to you.

We're judging an art form here. You can't judge-by-numbers (though I
did get 5 out of 10 for dialogue in one of my competition entries. I'm not
sure if the judge even noticed that not a word was said for the entire 6 1/2
minute film). And lets hope that art that stirs the heart continues to get
recognition.

I wholeheartidly support the thought that there should be training given to
prospective judges, and that testing should follow training. I don't expect
the judge of my next competition entry to be a filmaker, in the same way as art critics/ film critics are never expected to be grand masters in the
discipline they pass judgement on.

What we're looking for is solid, impartial, constructive advice. This advice
should come from the heart.

A competition I helped judge 3 years agomeant sitting alone; the 3 judges were spit up - no conferring allowed. I watched over 5 hours of amateur movies on the TV. You've read that carefully? I was longing to be entertained.

I found myself warming to any film that stirred even the slightest of
emotions within my breast. Too often producers forget that their film will
be in competition with others, and too few take on board this simple fact,
turning it to their advantage.

For instance, I never say a film is too long. If that's the length the
producer feels it needs to be to impart the message, then who am I - a mere judge - to criticise that decision? What I CAN say is that it would've
stood more chance at prize collection had it been shorter, but only in
reference to the 5+ hours of competition it faces.

Let me assure you that most films are shot from 5'- 6" above Mother Earth, in colour, with good exposure and focus, and the pictures don't wobble much.

Then let's say a film comes along that's in widescreen, B & W, the camera
darts, the soundtrack follows, the exposures and editing raise an eyebrow.
The effect (again - in competition with all the others, remember) can be a
breath of fresh air. I've met films like this where it's been very difficult to fathom out what it is the film maker's putting over. It's also been all to easy to say, "Oh, he's trying it on, pushing the judges to see if they'll squeek", but the very fact that it's made you sit up and question what you're seeing and hearing adds an entertainment value of sorts.

Thus such a film tends to stand out from the crowd. The emotion it's
stirred may only be one of wonder (as in "wonder what that was all about?"), but this in itself - in a sea of competent mediocrity - can get you noticed.

I'll conclude by saying this. We all sit in judgement every night, remote
in hand. You very quickly judge which of the 5 terrestial channels you'll
bother to watch, even though ones you've dismissed after a 7 second
appraisal could well've cost £30 000 to make.

As an amateur movie judge this option is not open to you, you're not allowed to simply choose "the best" simply because it appeals to you. Who wants to be a millionaire? is no Hamlet, yet will pull a greater audience with ease, and the public's voting with their remote will place it above Hamlet for "entertainment". Does this make it a better production, more worthy of the cup?

Would that film judging were this easy.

tom.

User avatar
Willy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

Post by Willy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:46 am

One of the films I enjoyed most when making it was "Schola Europaea Symphony". I am sure that Dave and other friends remember that film. There was some discussion in Guernsey about it, but I had very good results at BIAFF and the "Lily Festival". The theme was : "The European Schools are communities of children of diplomats from all over the world, speaking different languages. How is everything organized ?" However, one of the judges at the local heat (competiton in my own club) gave me "only" 68 percent. I asked him why ? In the film you see two children arriving at school in a Rolls Royce. The chaufffeur opens the door of the car so that the children can leave it. The judge said that children of European schools are very spoilt and that he hates it. I was disappointed because I just wanted to created the real atmosphere in my film and this was something that happens everyday at the European school gate. I myself was an educational adviser at the European school in Brussels for ten years and I had to supervise at the schoolgate every morning and also after schooltime. I think that the general atmosphere in the film was very positive. It looked a bit like a promotion film, but it was not. The General-Secretary, Michael Ryan, asked me to make that film for the 50th Anniversary of the European schools. In fact I made two films. One for festivals and one for the 50th Anniversary. He was not happy about the first film at all. In this documentary the narrator tells the viewers that the tax-payer had to pay for all these luxury new buildings. After the headmaster told me that he was not pleased with the festival film I still tried to change the commentary, but (un)fortunately I crashed with my casablanca... ! Anyway I still think that some judges thought that it was also a commercialized promotion film. In fact it was not at all.
The same judge at the local heat also told me that I had already been winner of the festival more than 10 times. This is paralysing for the other filmmakers of your club, he said. And he added : "It's time for a change". In fact that was one of my bad experiences. But please, do not think that I am against all judges at festivals ! On the contrary ! I appreciate their willingness to do their job. It is not always easy to judge. I know that because every year I am asked 5 or 6 times to be a member of the judging panel at a local heat.
Willy Van der Linden

ned c
Posts: 768
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Post by ned c » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:13 pm

How do you train and test potential judges? Who judges the judges?

What do I expect from a judge?

They should be thoroughly versed in all aspects of film and be regular viewers of contemporary films. They don't have to be film makers but it helps if they are. If they don't like my film that's fine but please tell me why and not because it has three jump cuts and an oof shot but in terms of impact/involvement.

The confusion of comments confirms that all judging is subjective but sometimes covered with a veneer of objectivity, Tom's markings for dialog in his film with no dialog is a classic example of totally inept judging. If dialog is on the judge's marking sheet and there is no dialog then this film has no hope!

I have come to the conclusion that many amateur films are made specifically for an audience of amateur film makers and with no wider audience in mind. I think this is particularly the case with anglo-saxon amateur film makers who do their best not to offend with bland and uninvolving results.

Ned C

tom hardwick
Posts: 828
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Post by tom hardwick » Thu Feb 01, 2007 5:49 pm

Willy, a pretty please for more paragraphs in your most interesting posts, as multi-paragraphing makes it a lot easier to read off screen than when it's all one big blob.

User avatar
Willy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

Post by Willy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:16 pm

tom hardwick wrote:Willy, a pretty please for more paragraphs in your most interesting posts, as multi-paragraphing makes it a lot easier to read off screen than when it's all one big blob.
Yes, Tom. You're right. Paragraphing makes it easier to read. I will think about it when writing messages.
Willy Van der Linden

User avatar
Willy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

Post by Willy » Thu Feb 01, 2007 10:59 pm

[quote="ned c"]How do you train and test potential judges? Who judges the judges?

What do I expect from a judge?
They should be thoroughly versed in all aspects of film and be regular viewers of contemporary films. They don't have to be film makers but it helps if they are.
_____________________________________________________________

In Belgium it is difficult to find judges for local and regional heats (= competitions). Now one day-courses have been planned by the Flemish IAC (CvB), this to provide training to people who would like to become a judge. But I have my doubts about it. You cannot train a potential judge in one day, not even in two or three days.

I also think that judges should have a cultural "background". Moreover they should be regular viewers of films. I prefer a judge with a cultural background and who is a regular viewer of films to a judge who has never made films himself.

I know that one of the "teachers" or course instructors can't write reports. His spelling and sentence structure are awful. Of course you can't improve one's command of the language in a few hours. Linguistic usage is also very important.

An other quality : diplomacy or tact. A judge must always be careful when evaluating a film. He should always be able to give a comment in a very positive way even if the film that he has seen is rather poor.

Once I had a very welknown filmmaker in my club. Luckily he is member of an other club now. He sometimes said : "That's rubbish !" He's also a judge. His remarks discouraged the other filmmakers.

I also remember a written judging report saying : "Things like that are a dime a dozen". The filmaker who received that report was sad and disappointed. It's possible to write this in a more positive way.

I have a very good experience in Britain. The BIAFF and Guernsey reports are always excellent
Willy Van der Linden

User avatar
Dave Watterson
Posts: 1672
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:11 pm
Location: Bath, England
Contact:

On marking dialogue 5/10

Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:09 pm


I often join the final panel for the Cotswold Festival judging. They famously use a judging sheet where you have to assign marks for various categories. If there is a category on such a sheet for "dialogue" what does the judge do if there is none?

In practice judges try to agree that they will give such items zero or full marks ... it does not matter which so long as they all do the same. But if the judges are not all together and thus cannot agree ... 5/10 probably seemed a safe bet. If everyone else assigned zero you would benefit a little. If everyone else assigned full marks you would lose a little.

- Dave


User avatar
stingman
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:37 am
Location: Isle of Wight
Contact:

Re: Shocking !

Post by stingman » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:56 pm

Willy wrote: a blind man would like to buy a flat.....

I find this type of film very funny indeed. I know it knocks blind people. I can fully understand that. But that is comody for you. Comody pokes fun of everything. If not done in very poor taste then I would produce something similar. If someone made a film about a balding young man (like me!) then I would not be offended. If you have a disability, then you can either mope around all your life or you can make the most of life and be happy.
Willy wrote:There is quite a lot of emotion in this picture, but it is shocking ! It is horrible ! Imagine that I would make a film about this scene... Would you accept this ? Would you appreciate it ? The cartoonist won the second prize at the festival.

I would enjoy the film, but you can see a more serious side of it. I find it more shocking that there are Estate Agents and people that WOULD do this sort of thing. THAT is more shocking. The film Maker could use this as an argument and highlight what could go on.

Willy wrote:7 or 8 years ago I showed a bull fighting scene....

I would not watch a film about bull fighting on moral grounds. If your spanish then this is the norm and you grow up by this. I havn`t so I won`t.
l would have used a nice bubby blond with just enougth room to hold the tray in front of her! This may have got a bigger audience and more fun to film but would it be right.
I like your points Willy and am glad that we all have different views otherwise our films would all be the same (like my video clubs are)(excluding mine). May be we can discuss this in another thread at a later date. It`s worth visiting again.
Some good points.
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

User avatar
Willy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

Re: Shocking !

Post by Willy » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:43 pm

[quote="stingman"][quote="Willy"] a blind man would like to buy a flat.....

If someone made a film about a balding young man (like me!) then I would not be offended. If you have a disability, then you can either mope around all your life or you can make the most of life and be happy...

I would enjoy the film, but you can see a more serious side of it. I find it more shocking that there are Estate Agents and people that WOULD do this sort of thing. THAT is more shocking.
_____________________________________________________

Being bald is not a disability, Ian, but being blind is ! For Yul Brunner and Ted Savalas their baldness was even their trademark. It was a bit trendy some years ago, but now you're getting old-fashioned again. But in fact I agree with you, Ian, and I appreciate the fact that you think about it. I still wonder if other people would find such a film shocking and not acceptable. Ethics and morality are things we must think about when making a film.
_____________________________________________________
Willy Van der Linden

User avatar
stingman
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 10:37 am
Location: Isle of Wight
Contact:

Re: Shocking !

Post by stingman » Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:05 am

Willy wrote:Being bald is not a disability, Ian, but being blind is ! For Yul Brunner and Ted Savalas their baldness was even their trademark. It was a bit trendy some years ago, but now you're getting old-fashioned again. But in fact I agree with you, Ian, and I appreciate the fact that you think about it. I still wonder if other people would find such a film shocking and not acceptable. Ethics and morality are things we must think about when making a film.
_____________________________________________________
I know being bold is not a disability. It doesn`t worry me. People have done films and comody sketches that have people with comb over hair and being windy!
Doing a film that includes or makes fun of a disability may be right or wrong. You can look at it as either being really bad or use it as a kind of infomation film or highlighting a fact about it.
I can see the funny side (of the bad version) and laugh my head off, and thinking that I`m glad I don`t have that disability. Not very nice some might say, but if I really respect the person deep down and even help that blind man across the road, then I see no problem in it.
Making films like this highlights these disabilitys of which some people may not even know (or think) taht a certain problem exisits.
Am I cruel or just human?
I hold open doors for old ladys! But I do exspect a thankyou in return! It doesn`t excuse manners.
For our church youth shows. I`ve dressed up as an old man with zimmerframe and wee bag. It may be wrong, but it`s something I mag go through when i`m older. My mum runs the over 60`s club there. They all loved it and laugthed.
So I believe that ALMOST anything goes as long as it`s not really sick in the head. If people have learn`t something from the sketch or film then it was worth making.
But what is someones `Sick in the head` or `Acceptable`?
Is there something that you would not film?
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

Post Reply