Shocking !

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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stingman
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Re: Shocking !

Post by stingman » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:35 pm

Willy wrote:
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.
Willy
To open an old thread. Only this week, we had our `Holiday Competition`. One of our newish members included a scene that was about 25 seconds long of an eel being killed. You saw the eel being dragged onto the quey. Then a hammer thing smashing it`s brains out.
I`m not against this as we all eat fish etc and so agree to there killing. There was a loud `errrrr` from the members. The judge thought that the scene was too long. I think if I would have done it this way, I would have been called all sorts of names! I would have edited it a bit to make it shorter or put a warning at the beginning of the film.
The film came second out of three. Since my protest in the club, the film entries have fallen :lol:
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Paul Chater
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Post by Paul Chater » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:54 pm

Judging is a skill where the judge usually makes one friend. It is very difficult not to be biased in some way. After saying that, I believe that judging of movies should never be based on any personal appeal, preferences and friendship. A judge is not worthy of their post unless they are open minded to assess and reward:
• the skill for the camera craft,
• quality of the soundtrack,
• creativeness, flow and structure of the edit,
• a package that sparkles for viewing value.
Reward must only go to craftsmanship, technique, art, creativity, flair, skill, and cleverness that leads to a total package.

I believe that inexperienced non moviemakers generally judge movies based on personal appeal and entertainment only, not giving justice to experimental, animations and documentaries as good viewing value. As a result, this makes it wrong for non moviemakers to judge the skill of filmmaking.
One of the IAC primary objectives should be to promote the craft of filmmaking. For that reason, the criteria for judging must reward:
• skill,
• talent,
• flair,
• techniques,
• ideas
• art
• creativeness for filmmaking.
This must be fundamental, to the judging process for competitions. Otherwise, judgment on only entertainment value and personal preferences leads to the IAC becoming a film society and an Institute.

Regarding scenes of a distasteful matter; these must only be judged within the context of the subject matter presented. Good filmmaking should never be punished for just one scene's contents.

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Post by ned c » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:52 pm

Hi Paul, I have seen some of your films so know that you do fine work but I would like to challenge some of your points.

personal appeal and entertainment
creativenes, flow, structure.
a package that sparkles for viewing value
flair
ideas
art

all of these are individual emotional responses so it is impossible for the judges to leave their personlal views behind, I agree that friendship or connections should play no part in judging and in my experience never have. No matter how we slice it different judges will often review the same film with totally different evaluations.

Ned

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Post by Willy » Sat Feb 24, 2007 12:11 am

I agree that friendship or connections should play no part in judging and in my experience never have. No matter how we slice it different judges will often review the same film with totally different evaluations.

Ned[/quote]

I agree that friendship should play no part in judging. My experience is different. It's not good that every year the same or almost the same judging panel is made up. Of course this does not happen in the British festivals.
If more than 100 films are judged one after an other at a high speed then judges cannot concentrate all the time and they may think : "Well, this is a filmmaker who always had excellent results in the past. Therefore I will give him a high score... I don't want a big difference between my marks and those of my fellow judges. " I often hear filmmakers say : "Again the judges have been led by the names of the participants."
Willy Van der Linden

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Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:58 pm

A judge is not worthy of their post unless they are open minded to assess and reward:
• the skill for the camera craft,
• quality of the soundtrack,
• creativeness, flow and structure of the edit,
• a package that sparkles for viewing value.
Reward must only go to craftsmanship, technique, art, creativity, flair, skill, and cleverness that leads to a total package.
In top level competitions, why should the judges concern themselves with craftsmanship? Surely what they should be assessing is how the film communicates with an interested and alert audience - whether it tells a story, teaches, moves us emotionally or whatever?

Of course in club-level competitions which are part of the teaching / learning experience then commenting on craftwork helps people improve their skills.

But do you go to an art gallery and consider how well each brush stroke has been laid on the canvas, or to a concert and worry about whether music fits the rules of composition? A top notch film is a work of art and what matters is what it does - not how it does it. There are lots of cases where works of art which lack something in the craft area nevertheless succeed because of their strengths in touching the audience.

I agree with much of what Paul says but detect just a hint of the view sometimes expressed as: "I worked blooming hard on this so it must be good." To which the answer is: "You may be a good person for working hard, but the result may not be good. Someone with more talent, experience or just luck may produce something better with far less work."

Don't get me wrong, I know even the simplest film requires a lot of work and dedication to complete - and generally the best films involve an enormous amount of work ... but the input isn't what matters, its the output - the resulting movie.

Dave

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Post by ned c » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:53 am

A few years ago I saw a film that followed the life and eventual death of an anorexic young woman. Most of the shots were hand held, often the framing was less than perfect. There were stills and interviews, wavy shots of documents, oof shots, a true "gun and run" documentary. It was riveting and won (deservedly) a major award. Technically it was imperfect in most departments but had been well edited. This is a good example of the sheer importance of CONTENT over all else.

Ned C

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Post by Willy » Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:48 am

This is a good example of the sheer importance of CONTENT over all else.

"Low Handrail" is one of my one minute movies. Two men are having a beer in a pub. They are tipsy. They leave the pub when it's already dark. The pub is near the railway line. They cannot find their way back home and they crawl across the railway line. "These stairs are very steep", one man says. His friend replies : "Yes, and this handrail is very low !". At the end of the film it's dark and you can hear the fast train, but the two can jump off the railway line in time. (noise)
I was very successful with this one minute movie in competitions, but it also seemed to me that not everyone could appreciate this film. I showed this film at a festival in my own town. One of the spectators felt miserable. One of his relatives had commited suicide some months before. She had jumped onto the railway line when a fast train was approaching. My lesson : think twice before making a film !
Willy Van der Linden

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Post by stingman » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:28 am

Willy wrote:This is a good example of the sheer importance of CONTENT over all else.

could appreciate this film. I showed this film at a festival in my own town. One of the spectators felt miserable. One of his relatives had commited suicide some months before. She had jumped onto the railway line when a fast train was approaching. My lesson : think twice before making a film !
I would have had one of the men being hit by the train :shock: :shock: ! My reason is that it would be like an information film and have a point to the film. By just showing them doing what they did in the film didn`t seem to have a point! Why not show the men crossing a road. By killing one of them it would have shown what drink can do to you and not to cross railway lines in the dark. I know were mean`t to feel sorry for little Johnny when we here of a kid being hit by a train by 99% of the time, the idiots play chicken or chuck rocks at the trains. In my opinion, they deserve it for endangering other peoples lives and the Police and Ambulence men and women who have to scrap them off the rails. Very selfish. I only feel sorry for the parents who have lost little Johnny. For little Jonny, you were no helpfull use to society!
Sorry to think this but the info film would have had a more relevent ending.
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Post by stingman » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:36 am

ned c wrote:A few years ago I saw a film that followed the life and eventual death of an anorexic young woman. Technically it was imperfect in most departments but had been well edited. This is a good example of the sheer importance of CONTENT over all else.

Ned C
It must have been a BBC film! Quality and finding new ways to edit films. It`s like TopGear (BBC2). It would have no points at our club!!!!!!! Shakey camera movements. Altogether now.... He didn`t use a tripod. 1 out of 10! So we can see that judgeing at club level is a bit C*ap. Which has been my little battle at my club. One lady said that she didn`t want to see `shakey films` and that they would not be happy if they did!! I bet they have seperate beds :lol:
As for TopGear. Filming and Editing it this way, as well as Clarkson, Hampster and James have really gone miles with this programme and made it available watching to a more wider audience.
If you think back to the days of the old Horror films. You will remember that if the camera was being handheld then you were looking through the eyes of the monster or victim. They would also get 1 out of 10 for camera work!
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ned c
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Post by ned c » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:40 pm

The film was made by a lady member of AMPS and won the award for the best entry by an AMPS member that year. There are situations where it is impossible to use a tripod or carefully focus before the event to be recorded is under way. However, if the information is essential to the film then so be it, "run & gun" documentaries are the original fly on the wall films and when they deal with people then they can be wonderful. Look at the early Pennebaker documentaries.

Ned

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Post by Paul Chater » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:15 pm

Quote: In top level competitions, why should the judges concern themselves with craftsmanship? Surely what they should be assessing is how the film communicates with an interested and alert audience - whether it tells a story, teaches, moves us emotionally or whatever?

David, I usually agree with 99% of our input to this site, but this one is where I strongly disagree. Surely films should ever be judged on personal appeal or audience entertainment value alone. Otherwise, the range of films will die and become limited. Just like “Hollywood” only making films based on box office receipts. This attitude can stifle creativity in film making.

Further more, film makers’ will always debate in the field of aesthetics between those who believe that films should be judged based on technical criteria and those who argue that one should consider the creator’s intentions in judging whether a film is successful. The latter group promotes that it is difficult to formulate criteria in ways that are not artificial or based on traditional notions of what is “good art,” particularly in the case of contemporary art for which there is no clear understanding of the conventions constituting that art. (Example: the 2006 IAC award winning film “Nothing girl”, where ‘out focus’ clips were assessed as art, although this created an unwatchable image. Technically, a pulled focus shot would have been more visually acceptable, enhancing the emotional involvement within the film.)

I can not argue with the freedom to be creative, but I do disagree with contemporary art being used without good reason. (That is the “art” which is considered ‘good’ because conventionally different but doesn’t enhance the film’s contents). For me there must be a skill within that any art process for it to have quality, otherwise judges are rewarding something that can be filmed by a chimp.

For this reason, quality principles in film making craft must always be paramount. A film is not just entertainment value. Rather than adopt the perspective that ‘art’ for the sake of it. Basic principles of quality is not just subjective, there are predetermined criteria for what is quality techniques rather than guessing the sense of imputed intentions of a film maker.

Judging on specific criteria entails going beyond simply assessing a film in terms of one’s subjective reaction; such as in “I think it should have a good mark because it appealed to me,” to assessing the specific aspects of a film making process based on pre-determined criteria of principles for good quality techniques. (Most of the basics are mentioned on the fvi website in the master classes). Otherwise, I previously stated: the IAC becomes a film viewing society than an Institute promoting good ethics in film making.

My fear is; the odd judge not knowing or taking account the fundamental techniques of film making: skill of using the camera, capture of quality sound, and edit process for creating your masterpiece. Hence judgment is only given on personal appeal for audience interest to whether it tells a story, teaches, or moves us emotionally.

Whenever, an audience votes on one minute movie competitions. The winning film is usually the one that gets the biggest laugh rather than the one with a lesser laugh, which has been better made with skilled craftsmanship and technically superior. This is because the audience are not all film makers and their votes are based on entertainment value alone. (Watch for this, at this year’s IAC festival).

PS: I considered “Nothing girl” to be a fine and very well made film, worthy of the award except for those out of focus clips. (In comparison to Willy’s film – judgment should not have been made based on one or two scenes or on personal appeal - the total process must be taken into consideration) Furthermore -Summarizing my long rant: I’m saying that good ethics in film making should have equal or more consideration in the marking to entertainment value. Judging should ever assess on entertainment (audience value) alone. I believe the IAC should be a Centre and Example for technical excellence in film making.

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Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:54 pm

Paul wrote:
Surely films should ever be judged on personal appeal or audience entertainment value alone.
- I guess that a mistype turned "never" into "ever" there.

It is too late tonight to tackle your wonderful message fully, but let me just explain that I did NOT mean films should be judged by their popularity, audience appeal ... etc

What I wanted to say was that we should judge the film as it stands and not the work that went into it.

In a wildlife film a wonderful shot of a bird landing on water may have been the result of hours of waiting in a hide with a super-long lens - or it may have been a lucky chance shot by a cameraman just passing by. To the audience all that matters is the shot they see, not how it was obtained.

Of course the vast majority of good films follow the usual guidelines, because those guidelines work. Of course the best films almost always involve weeks and weeks of blood, sweat and tears.

The risk is that if we concentrate too much on technique we may give awards to beautifully shot material which is as dull as ditchwater. That cannot be right.

Dave

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Post by ned c » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:45 pm

This is a replay of the 19th Century Academicians versus the Impressionists. The impressionists created a new way of looking at things that transgressed all the "rules" of painting as defined by the teaching academies of the day. The resulting uproar in the world of art divided the artists of the day into warring camps. When "rules" are broken "establishments" assaulted the new look is rejected because it does not conform to "standards" that are totally artificial in art. Question - what are the "standards" of film? Is a jump cut allowed? Is manipulation of time and continuity permited? Must every frame conform to the golden rule? Can we let the sky blow out? Can we cross the line withot warning? Where is the book of rules? Craft underpins all art but it is the servant not the master. Knowing technique and understanding tradition is important to all artists, Picasso was a consumate artist ranging from the traditional forms to a developing new and controversial views of the world.

Those who make films that do not conform create the basis of the next set of "standards". Have a look at "Mulholland Drive" and you see a progenitor of the disjointed time line and mix of reality and dream. I am presently working as AD on a production of "Waiting for Godot", this conforms to nothing that had happened in the theatre before and established a new line of thought about theatre.

Returning to my opening, name three impressionists then name three 19th century academic painters.

Finally, the amateur film maker is completely unconstrained by the need for commercial success so can go where no professional dare go. The fact that very few do is a comment on the state of amateur film making and judging.

Ned C

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Post by Willy » Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:52 pm

Dave wrote : "... It is too late tonight to tackle your wonderful message fully, but let me just explain that I did NOT mean films should be judged by their popularity, audience appeal ... etc

I have the feeling that on the Continent films are often judged by popularity, audience appeal etc. Once a judge wrote : "You should make more films for a wide audience. You make too many films for viewers with a strong cultural background". I don't know if 'wide' is the right word in English, but I hope you understand. In other words it's better to show things that are charming and soft according to that judge.

I know that the English are dog-lovers. What a bad thought to say that it is good to find a charming dog that can play an important role in your film. It gives a guarantee for success in England. Perhaps it's a very bad example because I myself used two lovely dogs in my film "Until You Smile" and "Together with Yoda". However, I used them because they are functional in my films. Anyway you may wonder if it's better to make a film about the life of (teddy)bears and songbirds than a film about Einstein. What do you think about it ? I make films about things I am greatly interested in. Point finale ! At this moment I am making a film with some personal impact. Maybe the judges may tell me that the film is too personal. I'm enjoying it. That's what counts. I feel that the charming films made by some friends are more successful, but I really don't mind.
Willy Van der Linden

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