BIAFF 2009

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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fraught
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BIAFF 2009

Post by fraught » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:17 pm

I know i only made it to the Sunday part of the festival, but i had a really good time anyway.

Some great work on show too! It looks like i have my work cut out for next years competition!!

Was good to chat to some of you in person rather than just on here. :)
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:44 pm

Jan and I had an engagement in Reading on Friday night so we only arrived at BIAFF at lunchtime on Saturday, but there was a really good "buzz" among the hundreds of delegates. People were enthusiastic about most of the films they had seen.

Some of those in the Chesterfield Hotel itself had problems with room heating and hot-water supply, but the staff were always helpful, pleasant and thoughtful. The delegates included a great range of age groups and interests. Everyone had something interesting to say, there was a lot of happy laughter. A few old friends could not attend for various reasons and were sorely missed.

Most of the projection that we saw was good, but there were projection problems in mini-cinemas - and sadly at the gala show too. That is unforgiveable at an event of this standing. At least one mini-cinema team had digitally transferred all the material they needed to show onto a laptop computer's hard disc. That way they had resolved any problems of aspect ratios, sticking DVDs and so on long before they came to Chesterfield. The gala show was presented with each tape or disc individually handled ... surely a long-outdated hangover from cine days. Many years ago both the Guernsey and Cotswold festivals started running their award shows from a single tape with copies of all of the movies on it.

To be fair to the projection teams, who all worked very hard, it was not always clear what aspect ratio each film was. But surely the Competition Manager should check that and label the tapes/discs accordingly. I understand that some of the projection teams got the films in advance ... in which case they should have checked them beforehand. It was especially annoying to have some subtitled films presented with either half of the titles cut off at the bottom or part of the heads cut off at the top.

Alan Atkinson did good introductions to the award films, bringing a welcome lightness of touch from time to time. A quick (and highly unscientific) check of delegates found that most seemed to agree with the choice of top awards though there was a substantial group who would have given the top prize to"Rex" and a number who would have liked "The Drill" to win.

David Newman did a very good job of programming the mini-cinemas and the awards show - offering plenty of variety and slipping in a range of star-grades among them. Sometimes the Sunday show can feel very heavy ... this year it felt much more balanced.

At the gala dinner well-deserved fellowships went to Ivor Rose and Sir Paul Holden. Phil Martin received - much to his obvious surpise and embarrasment a UNICA medal as well as a Master Moviemaker fellowship. The voice-over artist Colin Day gave an amusing presentation after the awards. Personally I prefer something like that to "Songs from the Shows" and similar cabaret items sometimes offered ... but frankly there is no need for any entertainment. People are quite happy talking and an earlier end to the formal part of the evening allows people to drift off to the bar to chat in a relaxed atmopshere or head off for bed after a long weekend of film viewing.

Let me make it clear that BIAFF 2009 was a success and very enjoyable ... my concern is that an international film festival should get the presentation of the films as near perfect as is humanly possible. So far BIAFF remains at B+ for projection in my book.

Dave

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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by fraught » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:01 am

I agree Dave about the projection issues. I was only there on the Sunday and there were a few issues with the projection. Namely;

Stutter/Breakup of one film
Wrong film Cued up
Aspect Ratio out so that the subtitles were out of frame

and more importantly... the sound was messed about with during my film and then the end was cut off! :(

It could have been slicker, and should have been. But... it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can't wait for next year. :-)
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by fraught » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:26 am

Oh... and i agree with the decision as to whom won the Daily Mail Trophy. Rex was a close second mind.
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Willy » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:35 am

Bad things
OK Dave, I agree, but there were also very bad things about our trip to Chesterfield.
The sun was shining all the time and we had to stay inside. A film festival is more enjoyable when the weather is dreadful. Only on Saturday morning we could not resist the temptation to make a short tour round the Peak District. How beautiful it is ! We went to Castleton and visited Peverill Castle. It was also raining cats and dogs when we were back on the continent. Luckily my friend Werner was willing to drive my car.

I felt dizzy when I met Valrie
As we live in Belgium we had to get up very early in the morning : at 3 am ! We arrived in Chesterfield and felt exhausted. As I am a chatterbox I stayed up late. When I was just about to go upstairs I met Valrie Ellis. I felt dizzy. Not because I saw Valrie, but only because I was tired.

Sore throat
An other bad thing : After two days I had a sore throat. I thought it was because I had talked too much, but I also knew that an English and Belgian friend had the flu - hopefully not the Mexican flu.

Brown blood
Dave has already anticipated some criticism about technical problems. In particular in the Ballroom. My Belgian friend Werner said that the colours were not bright. The red colours in his film 'Death Game', a story about bullfighting, were water brown, but after all that was a good thing for people like my wife.

Long live the discussions !
Dave also said to my friend that he thinks that there will be some discussions on the forum about the quality of the films. I hope so. That's something fascinating about a festival. Talking, discussing, ... Why not ? Imagine that everybody says : "Oh, yes that was wonderful". The festival would be boring.

"Aus der Seele" excellent film
First of all I appreciate the work done by the all the judges and David Newman, the competition manager. To me it is a great relief to hear that "Aus der Seele" has won the Daily Mail Trophy. Indeed, the photography was super. Holger Loewe also received the award for "most creative use of sound". The story was short but powerful. I enjoyed the last shot very much : the applause of the old cleaning lady. The atmosphere went crescendo throughout the film.

Rex
I agree : "Rex" was a good film, but I repeat : I hate the things that he maker has written on his website. His movies are for sale. We make films for fun, not for money, unless it is used to raise funds for something. For charity for instance ! I also wonder if everybody understood why Berry has chosen "Rex" as a title. In Belgium we know "Rex" very well. Degrelle and company were hated after the Second World War. Last year my Belgian friend Christiane was very furious when she thought that a commercial film had won an international festival. Now we are sure about the intentions of the filmmaker. I talked about it at the festival, but not too much, and only to some intimate friends. I prefer serenity. I hope it won't happen again, because I am one of those who always encourage Belgian hobbyists to enter their movies. I also admit. It is sometimes difficult to take the right decision.

Experimental films successful
Our Belgian film-student Samuel Faict is very talented, but after showing his film many viewers seemed to be puzzled. Everywhere I heard the same question : "Did you understand his film ?" Of course it was an experimental film and you can even be thrilled by something that you do not understand. I am sure that Picasso's paintings are also very mysterious and not comprehensible. Anyway, I have the impression that young filmmakers prefer to make complicated and mysterious stories by using sophisticated special effects. Sometimes their films are mere "Spielerei". I enjoyed Samuel's "The Gift" very much. Also experimental, but a very emotional story. And "The Prey". He was runner-up with that film in Guernsey last year. I only fear that by chosing complicated stories made by youngsters it will be more and more difficult to encourage filmmaking hobbyists to take part in international festivals. The time of romantic stories like "Hannah" made by Urbain Appeltans and Magda Verbist is over, but I think we must not exaggerate when altering direction. I heard too many times : "Did you understand that film ?"

I think that most diamond award-winning films were won by very young people. If they were the best ones, ok then. I agree. I am in my early sixties and I did not deserve a diamond award at all. On the contrary. There were so many films that were better.

My Belgian friend, who was a final BIAFF-judge last year, and I enjoyed "Denthophobia" very much. But we have some doubts. It won the diamond award (OK) and the "best youth entry". Christoph Heimer must be extremely talented to make such a film at his age. And how did he find all those people wearing white uniforms ? And the man gliding through the air ... ? I must read the article "the making of" again.

Fantastic British films
I repeat... it is ridiculous to say that everything was wonderful. I hate hypocrisy and to play up to friends who have a different opinion. I hate populism. Werner and I would have given diamond awards to "Aus der Seele", "Denthophobia", "Der Bettnässer", but in particular to "The Man-Virgin Flesh Eathing Monster-Vamp from Hell" (5 stars), to "Fallen Leaves" (4 stars), and to "The Drill" (4 stars) and maybe also to "Rent a Mate" . Maybe also to "The Gift"'. Three German and four British films. It does not mean that we are right, because everything is so subjective.

Some British films were very funny and I always wonder why these films are not so successful. Why did Alan Atkinson not win "The Daily Mail Trophy" once with his films about the warming up of the earth and the other one ? Yes, I agree, maybe he was unlucky. Bernhard Hausberger's films were so fantastic in 2008 and 2009. Bernhard did not win the trophies because of his disease, but because he really deserved them. This year we missed a chance to give the award to a humourous film.

I also missed a picture of the winner raising the "The Daily Mail Trophy" this year. Dave said that there were young people. I didn't see many. Yes, there were some. But how many watched more than 10 films ? They just came and went. Maybe I am wrong. My apologies then.

Snoring
One more thing : of course I could understand what Colin Day, the overvoice-artist said, but you are right Dave. It's better to give the time to talk at the end of the Gala Dinner. Every year it is like that. I remember Buxton about 10 years ago. A podium. A pianist. A lady in a long Victorian dress singing some romantic songs. She invited me to a dance on the podium. It is something that I hate. But I did it. Luckily most people had already fallen asleep. Also last Saturday many friends felt very sleepy. One friend was even snoring, but his wife gave him a little push and he awoke. The organizers must not forget that there are also foreigners at the Gala Dinner. I am not sure that everybody understood everything.

Please, do not think that I did not enjoy BIAFF this year ! On the contrary ! I had a chat with some forum friends like Ken, Paddy, Fraught, etc... I also admire the organizers of the festival. The best coaches are always in the stands. In Dutch : "De beste stuurlui staan aan wal."

Guernsey
Hopefully I will be back next year in Bedford and I am looking forward to the friendliest international film festival in the world : the "Guernsey Lily International Film Festival". Mary and Peter Rouillard, the organizers, told me that there will be lots of new films in October. I know that the deadline is 31st May. I am very curious. Dave Watterson was wearing his Ebensee T-shirt again. A good idea to go to Ebensee next year, Dave. I also appreciated your Scottish kilt. By the way, SAM, the Scottish Association of Moviemakers, will celebrate its 60th anniversary on 7th November. Also a reason to "risk my life" in an airplane. (joking, but yes, I'm afraid of flying", in particular when flying over Lockerbee.) I expect lots of flights to Scotland and Guernsey. Chesterfield was a good start in 2009.
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Dave Watterson » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:20 pm

Willy - what is the story behind the title Rex? We had hoped to ask Berry Van der Vorst at breakfast on Monday morning, since he was also staying in the Ibis hotel ... but he must have risen early for we missed him.

I know that in Britain and Germany Rex is a very common name for a dog.

My previous post may have given too negative an impression. I loved BIAFF and anyone who missed it should be envious of those of us lucky enough to be there. But I know that there will be a flurry of thanks and appreciation for all the hard work done by so many CEMRIAC people ... and a risk that the odd failings will not be recognised and dealt with. The thanks are well deserved. 99% of it all went superbly well.

- Dave

P.S. I learned from an overseas visitor that the film Nebenan (Next Door) is inspired by a true story of a Leipzig woman who, while in a state of depression, killed her baby and buried the body in flower pots on the balcony of her flat. That explains why the film is not so clear about what happens as I wanted it to be. The original audience would have recognised the events and not need them to be spelled out.


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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Willy » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:20 pm

Dave Watterson wrote:Willy - what is the story behind the title Rex? We had hoped to ask Berry Van der Vorst at breakfast on Monday morning, since he was also staying in the Ibis hotel ... but he must have risen early for we missed him.

I know that in Britain and Germany Rex is a very common name for a dog.
Hitler to Degrelle, founder of Rexism : "If I had a son, I wish he'd resemble you !"

Maybe Rex was a dog in the negative sense of the word. My apologies for saying this. My father was a member of the Resistance in the Second World War and he talked about Degrelle and about Rexism. At that time I didn't understand everything.
You can find all information on http://en.wikipedia.org/wuiki/L%C3%A9on_Degrelle in English but I will already give you a summary :


Léon Degrelle (1906-1994)was a Walloon (from French speaking part) Belgian politician, who founded Rexism and later joined the Nazi German Waffen SS (becoming a leader of its Walloon contingent) which were front-line troops in the fight against the Soviet Union. After World War II, he was a prominent figure in the neo-nazi movements.
...

The Rexist group seperated itself from the Catholic Party. It was heavily influenced by Fascism and Corporatism. It had a vision of social equality (which is alright in my opinion) that drew comparisons with Marxism, but was nevertheless strongly anti-comminist (anti Bolshevik). Drawing its major support from Wallonia and French-speaking middle classes in Brussels and Flanders, Rexism had a Flemish ideological competitor in the Vlaamsch Nationaal verbond which advocated an independent Flanders and exclusive use of the Dutch language.

Degrelle met Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, both of them providing Rexism with funds and ideological support. The party added Nazi-inspired Antisemitism to its agenda and soon established contacts with fascist movements around Europe.
After Belgium was invaded by the Germans the Rexist Party split over the matter of resistance. He was arrested as a suspected collaborator, and evacuated to France, being released by the Germans when the Occupation began. Degrelle returned to Belgium qand proclaimed reconstructed Rexism to be in close union with Nazism.

He joined the Walloon legion of the Wehrmacht to combat against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front... In 1943 in nhis native Bouillon Degrelle was told to leave a Requiem Mass, as he was wearing his SS uniform, which Church authorities had strictly forbidden. ...

Degrelle steadily climbed in the Schutzstaffel hierarchy ... He received the Ritterkreuz from Hitler's hands. He later claimed Hitler told hilm "If I had a son, I wish he'd resemble you"

A very interesting story I think, Dave... but in the film it is not clear what Rex means ... Therefore I think that the other German film deserved the "Daily Mail Trophy". In my previous message I gave other reasons.
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Brian Saberton » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:02 pm

I can think of no job more nerve wracking than that of being a projectionist at a big event so I would like to congratulate all the projection teams at BIAFF for doing a great job. I made a point of thanking one of the Sunday team and learned that the DVD that stuttered had been checked and run before the show when it had performed perfectly.

I had a great time at BIAFF and agree with Dave about the "buzz" in the hotel. At the end of the gala show I came to the conclusion that picking the outright winner this year must have been extremely difficult because I thought that the general standard of the diamond awards was pretty even, with no one film particularly standing out. I liked Rex but also enjoyed Aus der Seele and can fully understand why it came out on top. I thought that Dentophobia was a hoot and the scenes where the young man was being chased by hordes of dentists put me in mind of the Buster Keaton film "Seven Chances".

I thought that David Newman did a terrific job of programming the shows; not an easy task when you need to create balanced programmes that will fit a fixed time slot, and I must say that the time slipped by very quickly indeed on both days which suggests that it must have been good! There might have been a couple of films I didn't take to but I was never bored and, in fact, have come away quite inspired.

The other good aspect is meeting up with friends old and new and it was nice to see a few folk from the forum and have the chance to say hallo. I was interested to see from the programme notes that 40% of the entries were in widescreen - I wonder how much higher that percentage will be next year. As a widescreen fan from the cine days I've done a couple of holiday films in 16:9 but I think I'll switch over completely now.
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Michael Gough » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:56 am

Hi all,

Please be careful with the criticisms you make in public on this forum. Like Brian, I fully appreciate the ordeal that projecting at a major festival entails. I too have checked DVDs only to have them fail on the night. As Reg Lancaster says, “DVDs are the most reliable media in the world. You can always rely on them to break down !!”

I also know keen Festival workers who have resigned from office after the battering that this forum has given them by back row critics. Last year even our own Billy got so upset he threatened never to project for BIAFF again. Luckily the support of some writers calmed him down and he is still with us but we could have lost a keen contributor to our hobby.

So, one film got the jitters in Chesterfield. So What? That same film projected perfectly when I presented it to the judges. So something happened to it in the meantime. Who knows what? It is unfortunate because it was a great little film. Perhaps it will appear in the video library for any disappointed members of the audience to see again.

Lets be positive. Lets look back on an excellent Festival. Wonderful company. A fascinating mix of films. The best balanced Sunday show for a few years. A simpler printed programme than before. Lets thank everyone who worked so hard. Lets sympathise with projectionists whose glitches will inevitably be public (unlike my own fault in mis-printing a certificate which will remain private between me and the film-maker) (Oops !! I’ve just publically criticised myself !!)

THANK YOU EVERYONE

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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Willy » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:12 am

Michael Gough wrote:Hi all,

Please be careful with the criticisms you make in public on this forum.
...
Last year even our own Billy got so upset he threatened never to project for BIAFF again. Luckily the support of some writers calmed him down and he is still with us but we could have lost a keen contributor to our hobby.
You are right, Michael. If I was one of those criticasters, please accept my apologies then. Some criticism should be made in a different way. Not in public on this forum. I had a chat with Dave yesterday. We said that the festival was very successful thanks to the volunteer work of so many CEMRIAC- and other friends. Of course we must always try avoid mistakes in the future and it is not wrong to talk about the things that went wrong. Something very positive : in "Devonshire" (the name of the room also reminded me of my English friend Brian who lives in that beautiful county) everything was OK. The projection was super. Only 4 films were shown, but one of them was Ned Cordery's, our Anglo-American forum-friend and the other one was made by Billy Ellwood. I didn't see Ned nor Billy, but it was very pleased to see their interesting films. Now I know why you are called BillyConsett, Billy ! The fourth one was one of the best films in the festival : "Retro-Cine (Grandpa's Cinema", made by Jeannick & Pierre Michel from France. Perhaps technically not a masterpiece, but so enjoyable. The children were so spontanous. They compared their grandpa's machines with theirs in a very humoristic way. "What is that piano for ?" one of the kids asked his grandpa and he pointed to

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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Willy » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:32 am

"What is that piano for ?" one of the kids asked his grandpa and he pointed to[/quote]
an old tape-recorder with knobs that were made of "ivory" and looked like the keys of a piano.
It was a very funny moment in Chesterfield. I enjoyed the French film very much and not only because I have a nostalgic "Seele".

Prayers and bow-ties !
An other special moment : the prayers and toasts at the Gala Dinner. I am already used to it. For my Belgian friend Werner and his wife Corinne it was the first time. In Belgium we don't do this. I prefer the English way of starting a Gala Dinner. We also liked the impressive IAC-logos hanging on blue ribbons or chains. Very traditional and English. I only wear my bow-tie once a year. It's at BIAFF. I have seen that the number of bow-ties decreases every year at BIAFF. That's a pity ! Maybe in a few years I will be one of the last Mohicans wearing such a "jewel".
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by fraught » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:50 am

I echo Willy's comments. If we are going to give feedback, then we do need to give the positives as well as the negatives and ensure our criticisms are constructive.

It's been 14 years since i last went to an IAC Film Festival (Buxton in 1995) and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I look forward to coming back next year!
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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Fingercuff » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:49 pm

Just wanted to say as a first timer to the Biaff how much I enjoyed myself. It was great to finally meet Dave Watterson and several others who were keen to discuss my film Commitment including Rex's director Berry Van Der Vorst who sat in front of me. It would have been nice to have been there on Saturday as well but unfortunately my day job got in the way (I was at a highly dull trade fair in Germany!)

Highlights for me were certainly Rex, Der Bettnasser, The Drill and Dentophobia.

Looking forward to next years event already!

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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Dave Watterson » Fri May 01, 2009 9:15 am

There were lots of good films to see on Saturday and Sunday ... but for me the special pleasure of festivals is meeting the authors (continental term for film makers) especially if we have been exchanging emails for some time.
Things got hectic on Sunday with only brief breaks to grab some tea/coffee and have a pee ... so most of my conversations were pretty short. I had an idea what some people would look like because they had a role in their own films. Others were a complete surprise.
How did it feel to watch your film at the festival? Those shown on Sunday had a huge audience. Willy has already mentioned that it is disappointing to have just a handful of people attend a mini-cinema. I recall one BIAFF where the film maker and I were the only audience and one IAC Council member introduced the show and worked the tape player.
But for other authors the feeling of a show in a full cinema to a critical audience must have been special ... or maybe terrifying!

Dave

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Re: BIAFF 2009

Post by Fingercuff » Fri May 01, 2009 9:56 am

I find it really hard watching my own films with an audience. I alway see things that I should have done differently. In short I am my own worst critic!

The part I enjoy the most is hearing people thoughts on the piece after the film has finished. I had a very interesting chat with a gentleman who wanted to know why I showed one of main characters arriving home, repeatedly removing his tie and what was significant about the shot of the trousers at the end. I think I answered all of his questions!

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