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Guernsey : there was only one bad thing !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:58 am
Again my wife vera and I enjoyed the Guernsey Lily immensely. it is still the friendliest festival in the world ! Sometimes my thoughts were also in the Cotswolds. How hard it must be to organize such an international event !
Rick Stein and David Pritchard were there !
I was in Guernsey together with my wife, but also with my 25 year old clubmate Samuel Faict, who won a Lily, and his actor Steven Galje, who is a real glamour boy. We stayed in "La Barbarie Hotel" at about half a mile from "La Vilette Hotel", the venue of the festival. We arrived on Friday night when the reception was taking place in Sausmarez Manor. We had not had dinner yet and we hoped to find a table at "La Barbarie Hotel".
What a shame ! All the tables were reserved, but when we looked at the menus the courses seemed to be very expensive. After some time I knew why. When we arrived at the hotel the receptionist gave us a bag full of brochures and leaflets to promote the beautiful island. It was from Mary and Peter Rouillard, the organizers of the festival. In one of the brochures there was an advert about "La Barberie Hotel". it said : "The freshly caught lobster we ate at "La Barberie Hotel" where we stayed, covered in that wonderful yellow Guernsey butter was the best we have ever tasted". Signed : TV's popular chef Rick Stein and his producer David Pritchard".
I know these two boys because they sometimes appear on our Belgian TV-screens.
Shortest taxi ride in my life !
That same evening young Steven wanted to find "Le Douvres Hotel". Maybe there was still a table available in that restaurant. Outside it was as dark as pitch and we walked "for miles" until we saw some youngsters having a chat under the light of a lantern. I asked them the way. Alas, when we arrived at that restuarant-hotel, it was already late and the cook had just finished the washing up. Having driven about 800 kilomtres from my house to Sain-Malo that day I was too tired to walk for miles and miles in the maze of the parish of St. Martin's. Therefore I took a taxi to "la Vilette Hotel", the hotel that I knew. We discovered that we had walked for half an hour to find the "le Douvres Hotel" and it was just round the corner !
Re: Guernsey : there was only one bad thing !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:51 pm
Fish and chips
In "la Vilette" we could have haddock and chips or rice and curry. We enjoyed it very much. In particular our young clubmate Samuel who ate half of the portion that I had left on my plate. He's still a student and that's why he was short of money. It was the first time that he was in Britian and he only had £15 for all his meals. Steven and I helped him to stay alive but after some time he received an envelope with £150 in it because he was one of the winners of the festival.
Guernsey chocolates !
There was only one bad thing in Guernsey. After our delicious meal in "La Vilette" we went back to "La Barbarie" on foot. Now we knew the way. We didn't want to take a dessert, but that was not necessary. In our welcoming bag there was also a little golden box. The sweets in it were a bitter disappointment ! Chocolates ! .... but made in Guernsey ! Not in Belgium ! Just now at this moment ! The recession is a world wide problem and we Belgians fear that our chocolate market will collapse. We felt offended ! Joking of course. To be honest : Vera and I enjoyed the Guernsey chocolates. We even think that they were made in Belgium.
Lemurs in Guernsey !
After our English breakfast the following morning we rushed to "La Vilette" for the actual festival. There I met my sweetheart again : Dorothy Speirs. She was there together with her husband Norman, the photographer, and her Scottish friends. I also met some good forum-friends like Mike Shaw and Ken Wilson, but perhaps it's better not to mention any other names because I may forget some.
Again I enjoyed a film made by Jean-Pierre Hué, "For a few Rupees". Also Guido Haesen's film was extrremely good. It was called "Menschen im Wandel". Guido is a Luxembourg friend who used to work in a European School just like me. The pleasant documentary "Lemurs" by Daphne Barbieri seemed to be the best film of the first part. At least that was what the audience thought. "The Sticky End" made by Arthur Bates was a very funny animation film. Such films with puppets are always very entertaining.
High definition projector
I was surprised by the excellent quality of all the screenings. The organizers used a high definition projector. A veryyyyy impressive one. A veryyyy expensive one, I suppose, but also a veryyyyyy good one.
Re: Guernsey : there was only one bad thing !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:21 pm
Reg and Ron, tea and cookies
After tea time I had a nice short chat with Reg Lancaster, Ron Prosser, Ken Wilson, Afifa and Richard Rouilllard. Two friends even asked if I had found a new clubhouse. Apparently they had read the sad story on the forum.
Liz and Rod
In Part 2 of the programme we watched a good film made by Liz and Rod Willerton. I met this couple in Tonbridge Oast Theatre in April. At the gala dinner they were our table companions now. I also enjoyed "Molly's Miseries' by the Dundee Camcorder Club. Our Scottish friends are always present at international film festivals.
Berlin and Mosel Gold
After the interval with tea and cookies we saw some very high quality films. I admired the photography in "Mosel Gold" by Ernst Auhuber. Next year I would like to spend a weekend in the Mosel valley together with the members of my club . it's not so far from us. Only a few hundred kilomtres. Showing that film as an introduction would be fantastic !
It was difficult to decide which film to choose as the best one in that "chapter" of the programme. "The trap" by Robert Lorrimeris very, very amusing. Robert gave me a copy of his film. "The Trap" reminded me of "The Party" that was shown in Royal Tunbridge Wells last year. A film that can be used as a pleasant intermezzo at any show.
And yes, again ... I saw a solid documentary made by John Astin. "Berlin - Phoenix City" is very fascinating. John showed us how Berlin changed in the course of all those years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. John's films are always a well-edited harmonious entity of sound, image and narrative power. I was very pleased to meet John and his father again.
The Windows of Life
The Winners Show was impressive. In my opinion on one could say that one of the films didn't belong to the top class. They were all different and excellent. Danny Van Belle from Belgium was laureate with "The Windows of Life". I have already seen many documentaries about tropical fish, but this one was unique. It was about the eyes of all those magical creatures. Danny is unknown in the Belgian amateur film world. His sister told me he's not a member of a film club.
Danny Van Belle "shoots" fish in their natural environment. This is not obvious. I know that the other Belgian filmmaker Florent vanopstal, who won a lily with "The Insect Man", used to catch insects to drop them in a terrarium. Years ago he made a film called "Mantis Religiosa". I was his narrator. He was very successful with that documentary. Now I could also see that "cannibalistic" sort of grasshopper in his newest film. I also enjoyed the narration and the narrator's voice.
Re: Guernsey : there was only one bad thing !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:53 pm
Take courage, Bernhard !
A winner was also Bernard Hausberger. I looked forward to meeting him again and taking a sip of his "Schnapps", but alas, he had to stay at home for a medical examination. I do hope that he will be able to attend festivals again in the future. He's such a nice man. His "Oldiegarage" was super. Bernhard deserved to be the winner of BIAFF 2008. By the way, a week ago I met Urbain Appeltans, an other winner of "The Daily Mail Trophy". Urbain still suffers from his disease, but he tries to forget his misery by making and judging films. Anyway I was pleased to see that he looked alright and very energetic.
Samuel was very proud
How happy I was to hear that my young clubmate Samuel Faict (25) had won a Lily with his film "The Prey". He's a talented young man with guts. Steven galje, who also attended the festival, played the role of a paedophile. Some people recognized Steven in the room of the hotel and maybe tyhey had bad thoughts about him. Actually he's a very kind man.
I was surprised that Samuel brought his ugly doll with him. The audience seemed to be a bit frightened when seeing it and Samuel was proud. It's good that some young filmmakers like him, like Lana Tannir of germany and ian Thoume of Guernsey were praised at this festival. One thing is clear. All young filmmakers seem to prefer films of mistery, imagination and horror.
Orpington Filmclub 50 Years Young !
About 35 members of the Orpington Filmclub were in Guernsey. They all looked like "jolly good fellows". At the gala dinner they celebrated their 50th anniversary. That's not old. A table companion said that her club is already 80. Unbelievable !
The Orpington friends stayed all together in a different hotel but they created some ambiance in the dining room of "La Vilette". An impressive cake with candles was shown and even we were offered a piece of that delicious cake. They all sang " Happy Birthday to You ! ... and of course we joined them. In fact a very good suggestion : celebrating your club's anniversary at a British Film Festival. My club is 48 years young... Congratulations, Orpington friends !
"Bulldozer", Vote of the Audience
On Sunday "The Bulldozer", a Belgian film about a boy who suffers from a syndrome, woke us up. We still felt the aftereffects of the gala dinner the day before. "The Bulldozer" is a very moving film. I had already seen it at the Benelux Festival in Luxembourg. It received a special award. Therefore Christiane Surdiacourt encouraged the filmmaker André Bosmans to take part in the "Lily". André will be very happy to hear that he was the winner of the Audience Vote in Guernsey.
Re: Guernsey : there was only one bad thing !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:51 pm
"From Flanders to South Korea "
It was good to hear that the audience in Guernsey appreciated my film "Will Ye Go ,to Flanders" about my two great-uncles who died in Flanders Fields. A pity that I didn't receive an award for "best acting". Big joke because I am one of the actors and so is my brother. But I think that my brother is even worse than me ! We both have two left feet.
Two of my friends that I missed in Guernsey were Jan and Dave Watterson. I only found some comfort in Michael Gough's film "Scenes and Screens". Jan and Dave were also at Unica in South Korea. Michael showed us how colourful and exciting the trip to South Korea was in his well-edited film.
Mike is a Magician !
Once I read on this forum that Mike Shaw said something like "I will never win a festival". However, last year he was the winner of the one-minute movie competition in Royal Tunbridge Wells. You're very modest, Mike. I enjoyed your "Turn Around" very much. You have the talent to win many awards with animation films. "Turn Around" is only 2,5 minutes long, but how poetic and well-edited it is, your film with the three shoes !
Mike is a a magician. The things he can do with his computer are fabulous. In travelogues and documentaries I don't like special effects that are not useful. Mike, however, demonstrates how you can make funny animation films by using special effects.
The coppersmith was there !
In the next part my "Guernsey Coppersmith" was screened. Of course I hoped to become the overall winner of the festival with it. I coaxed my Guernsey friends into giving me a Lily by showing a close up of the inscription "Guernsey Lily Film Festival" on the milk can that was used as a trophy last year. Of course such thoughts are ridiculous. I made that film for pure fun. After having shown my documentary I gave a copy to Trevor Rogers Davis, the coppersmith himself, who attended the festival. Afterwards it seemed that some friends had already bought a milk can as a souvenir and they asked me a copy of my film. I did it with pleasure.
Behind the Wire
I was also impressed by Paul Bagshaw's "Behind the Wire", a documentary about the Holocaust. He received an award for "Best Use of Sound". It was good to see Paul back in an introductory film. It reminded me of the wonderful time I had together with Geoff Harrison and his wife Val when I was a judge for the "Mersey Ten Competition". Paul Bagshaw was the winner of that festival with "Head in the Sand", in Guernsey good for "Highly Commended". Paul Bagshaw has already been very successful this year.
In the "One Minute Competition" there were 16 films. "Plan B" by Clive Atkins was there again. Of course I already knew the joke as anybody else, but it was still the best one minute movie. I also appreciated "Godiva" by Gerard Bishop very much and yes, "Time to Go" by my friend Werner Van den Bulck.
Valrie and Linda on their last legs
At tea time Valrie Ellis and Linda Gough told me that they are on their last legs as president and chairman of the IAC. In Belgium once president you are "president for life !". In a few weeks Linda and Valrie will be dropped ! (joking of course) What a great job they did ! They were omnipresent ... from Britain to South Korea and Tunisia !
Excellent judges' comments
An other thing that impressed me were the certificates and the tone in the judges' comments. I read all the judges' comments of all the Belgian films. Every report was very encouraging.
In Guernsey one of judges apologized. He had written something about "Will Ye Go to Flanders?". He had detected a little mistake in the sound. After having seen the film again he found that he had been wrong. I am not going to mention his name, but he is a real gentleman ! I appreciated it.
Gold for Mary and Peter Rouillard !
At the end of the festival Linda Gough praised Mary and Peter Rouillard and their assistants for all the work they have done. Organizing such a festival is gigantic. The Guernsey Lily International Film festival was a direct hit again. Mary and Peter deserve some rest somewhere on a beach of the Balearic Islands now, but maybe they prefer to take a breath of fresh air in Petit Bôt or in an other beautiful bay on Guernsey. However, there is still some administrative work to do they told me. Organizing a festival is in some way a never ending story.
Congratulations, Mary and Peter and all your friends !
Posted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:20 pm
Thanks for the write up, Willy, may I suggest that you send this to Garth for the magazine? I am sure that many IAC members will enjoy reading your comments.
Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:06 pm
A good review Willy ... and many thanks for the very kind comments! In fact, seeing 'Turn Around' on the big screen (again) I am pretty disappointed with it - I can see all the 'joins' as it were. On a small (TV) screen the flaws are less visible!
Seeing the quality of the films at Guernsey - especially your very moving 'Will ye go to Flanders' - I am even more certain I will never reach the standard of the top awards - one minute movies and the shorts that I tend to make are different - they're just the 'roll and butter' that goes with a superb feast.
The Lily was indeed a superb festival - my first visit there, but hopefully not my last. I was with the Orpington club - and we were certainly well feted by Peter and Mary, even gifted with miniature Guernsey Milk urns - each personalised with an engraving of our name. That made your film 'Guernsey Coppersmith' even more fascinating - and our personalised gifts even more treasured!
And I put on 2 kilograms in weight... not bad for a five-day visit!
Guernsey: there was only one bad thing!
Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:32 am
There WAS only one (bad) thing about Guernsey and that was the uncomfortable seats in the hotel. But that isn`t unique to La Villette hotel. For me it is all hotels and all festivals. In fact it is also airline seats too, so perhaps is is just me. Though Bob Lorrimer commented on it when collecting his award and suggested that paracetamol was a good remedy for bum ache!
Willy gave an accurate and interesting report on the festival and I agree that there were some excellent movies on show. "Bulldozer" was one of my favourites too and I voted for that one in it`s own section of the festival. Willy`s Flanders film was also excellent and I can tell him that his acting was not an issue as he spoke in his own language and as we read the subtitles, we added our own interpretation of their thespian prowess. (Acting skills.)
The pictures on screen were certainly excellent. I didn`t know it was a HD projector, but I noticed how good our own film "Toxic" looked, so that now explains it. We had learned a few things this year from our visit to the festival last year, in particular, to have a lunch time meal on the Saturday as the evening gala dinner follows the winners show and all the prize giving.
The weather (as usual for all film festivals) was very pleasant during the shows and slightly less so afterwards. We stayed for Monday and Tuesday to add on a short holiday break to the weekend.
It was another great event and thanks certainly go to Peter and Mary and all their helpers. I can appreciate how much work all this takes as our own event, a much smaller affair, eats up so much time. Willy summed up most of the rest of it in his own postings, so I`ll leave it there. Thanks to the organisers and to the film makers who gave us such a good selection of movies. Ken Wilson.
Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:55 pm
Willy, it sounds like you had a wonderful time at the Guernsey Lily and I am now even more disappointed that once again I was unable to attend. I have a very good excuse though. With two friends from the defunct Dalziel Camcorder Club we have formed a new group to make films and during October we have been working on a short movie for one of our Scottish inter-club competitions. We also have a script ready for a more substantial production which we were intending to film this month but had to postpone because two of our actors of choice were on holiday. Hopefully next year we will have films to enter into the various festivals!
Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:32 pm
Brian I wish your new group all success in your adventures. F
Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:17 pm
all the best Brian, you are a credit to movie making!!!
look forward to seeing the results of the group's work...
Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:54 am
Mike Shaw wrote:A good review Willy ...
I am even more certain I will never reach the standard of the top awards - one minute movies and the shorts that I tend to make are different - they're just the 'roll and butter' that goes with a superb feast.
I would agree. I love Willy ramberlings! We get so much insight into his Private feelings as well as the general feel good factor.
As to Mikes `one minute films`. The Mega long Blockbuster Films need a bit of padding with light entertainment films............. Just like what adverts do
Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:48 pm
Peter and Mary told me that the chocolates are real Guernsey ones... Maybe a traitor has given away our unique Belgian recipe.
Ken is right. It was difficult to see the whole screen, but yes, what else could the organizers do ? Once we changed our clubhouse (that we lost) into an "auditorium" with 3 different folding levels made of wood. We did this to organize the competition in our club. We could borrow these levels from our local authorities. However, the ceiling in our clubhouse was very high. In "La Villette" it's very low.