Regardless of the festival or the film's rating, crits seem to me to fall into two main groups:
- a) those that only seek to justify or explain the rating the judge has given. These may be quite short and only touch on one or two points of detail.
b) those that try to help the film maker do even better by referring to several details in the film and suggesting ways to get round them.
Yes Dave, in Guernsey it was clear that you belong to the second group. When going home Werner Van den Bulck and I myself enjoyed reading the judging comments while Werner's wife was driving the car. Perhaps I've already told you. For my "Breendonk"-film I received 9 pages of "literature" ! In the mean time all Belgians and also our Dutch friend René Roeken received their certificates and comments. They seemed to be very pleased. Therefore again congratulations to Mary, Peter, the other Guernsey-friends and the judges. Now I can show my 9 pages of criticism to other Belgian filmmakers and encourage them to enter the British international film festivals. The judges comments are an excellent means to promote BIAFF, Guernsey etc... The Britis festivals have an excellent reputation.
It does not mean that I do not appreciate the judges who belong to the first group, the ones who just try to justify the raitings that they have given. Being a judge is always courageous, Ian. In fact when you have been a judge yourself then you understand that we are all human beings with our personal feelings and that everything is so subjective.
Judges under pressure
At the time when I was in Guernsey the Belgian National Film Festival took place. With my "Breendonk"-film I got the highest score ever : 81 %. I am not someone who is moaning all the time about judges and I never put them under pressure. In the Belgian system this is possible and some prominent filmmakers always do. Writing reports means taking responsibility. In Belgium 4 out of 5 judges gave me more than 80 %. One gave me 76 %. Unfortunately there were not judges comments at all. In the BIAFF and Guernsey-system I would have known how I could have improved my film. Maybe I would even praise the man who had given me the lowest rating.
So I thank the British judges who made a detailed evaluation report. It's clear that I cannot change my film anymore because I am already focused on the next one.
An other thing that is very good in BIAFF and in Guernsey is the "star"-system oer using the words "very highly commended", "highly commended" "commended" ... Percentages give the impression that you are in a