Should juries "police" film competitions?

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Dave Watterson
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Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by Dave Watterson »

In the British and European traditions I am used to, it is the job of the competition organiser/s to decide whether or not a movie is elegible to take part in a contest. It is the job of the jury to evaluate the films they are shown.

Recently I have been involved with a contest organised by NordFilm ( - a web-based film group originating in Scandinavia but now open to the world.

The competition was intended to find films up to 2 minutes long, which would promote NordFilm.
Not one entry did so.
Many were short films promoting something else.
A few were just short films!

As a member of the jury I gave my views on the films I saw - as did my colleagues - but there have been complaints suggesting that it was part of the jury's job to decide whether or not an entry met the terms of the contest.

What think you - o wise and experienced film authors?

ned c
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by ned c »

In my view the simple answer is "yes". For example at AMPS we have awards for various genre and there have been times when the jury has felt a film has been entered in the wrong category and the film has been assigned to what the jury felt was the correct category. However, for the initial entry the acceptance rests with the competition officer/manager and as discussed elsewhere he/she can ask the questions and accept the film makers answer.

The Nordfilm case is interesting; not one film met the set objective!! This is a failed competition and perhaps the organisers should try again with more clearly defined objectives.

ned c
Brian Saberton
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by Brian Saberton »

Many years ago I judged a competition at a club. The film I picked as the winner exceeded the running time stipulated in the competition rules but this was something I wasn't aware of at the time. My personal view is that it isn't the job of the judge to decide on the eligibility of a film - this must be the responsibility of the competition officer. If presented with a set of movies by the organisers the judge must assume that they are all eligible and comply with the rules. However, if the competition is for films made to a specific theme I think it is legitimate for the judge (s) to take account of how well or badly the films interpret the subject.
Brian Saberton
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by Stephen »

Hit the nail on the head there Brian ...
It is the minimum standard to scrutineer entries by the competition officer before the judge views them.

If the judge is made aware of any theme, they are then free to get on with their judging.
Competition officers please look at your criteria for entries through the eyes of a judge!

The thought has often crossed my mind, why oh why all these rules?.... then I realised it soon breaks down into near anarchy if the rules/guidelines are not there to assist both the judge and entrant.

I think judges in the n-c circle do a 1st class job.

Here's a big thank you from moi to all those judges that have helped my film making progress get to the current standard. They have offered positive, constructive comments I could not have got anywhere else.

Film making is not a matter of Life and Death
It's much more important than that.
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?


Perhaps the problem lies with the orientation of Nordfilm's event itself. Maybe it should be call
I would personally be very sceptical of the intertests of a festival or competition that wants entrants to promote it. Surely the reason for entering a festival or competition is to promote one's own film making skills not the event to which it is entered.
I'd say if they want an advert they should pay for it and not milk a free-bee by way of a film festival. It's just a bit shallow. Film makers will tell you of experiences where some festivals and competitions are just used by the organisers as a way of making a quick buck. I'd say Nordfilms remit is somewhat self interested and from my point of view as a film maker, they are the very thing that I am not interested in contributing my work to. They are not open to the world so what's their point?

After all that, certainly someone should make sure that films meet the entry requirements but the main requirement of a festival should always be to promote the work of the film makers themselves. Event organisers should do their own promoting work.
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by stingman »

It should have been the responsability of The Competition Secretary to check if the films qualified or not. He really should have disqualified all of them, if he had the balls to do it. If not then they need someone else!

As to Nordfilm. They should have made it clearer in the film rules. May be they need to put it a bit more simply. Dave, for that 1 minute festival in Croatia I entered a few films. Most were cut downs of longer films. One I did especially for them. It didn`t do to well with the judging! They chose one of my Abba films instead.... but I digress... as usual!

Smile and the Tears will go away ;-)
Ian Gardner
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Re: Should juries "police" film competitions?

Post by billyfromConsett »

Film Thurso sounds spot on ...
But they chose one of your Abba films to get into their comp? I thought Abba are from Sweden ... though I'm not a pro on the subject mind.

Stingman I'm with too ...
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