Film Festival Time Limits

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Michael Slowe
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Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Michael Slowe »

It was recently pointed out by a competition organiser that the entries were mostly confined to one line jokes and consequently very short and that resulted in the the programme being very short. I replied that I had intended entering my latest film but noticed that the running time of 25 minutes exceeded the stipulated running time. It would have been difficult to reduce it and still retain the scope and shape that I had aimed for. Last year I recall having to reduce the length of my entry for the very same competition and just managed to squeeze under the bar. The film actually won!

I do think that competition rules generally (BIAFF excepted) are being set to discriminate against films that are not the 'bang wallop' type of production (I used to make plenty of these) but sometimes I come across a situation where a more considered approach is justified. I am well aware of the danger of boring an audience with a rambling documentary on a stately home but 'long' does not always equate to 'boring', it all depends on the film maker.

I considered sending a film to the new Morecombe Festival but find that they too exclude my 25 minute film. This is very discouraging. Many of my films that in the past have won major prizes were around that length. What do festival organisers have to say on this - particularly please - the Morecombe people?
ned c
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by ned c »

As a sometime judge/organizer of the AMPS AIFVF (although not in 2008/2009) the problems we face are finding judges and having enough time to devote to properly viewing and judging entries. Plus the time required for the write-ups which n-c film makers expect. I am not aware of any professional Festival that provides written notes to the accepted entries, you get a note of acceptance (if you are lucky) and can go and promote/view your film at the Festival; perhaps answer a few questions.

Full marks to the BIAFF for not having a time limit; but this is the only n-c Festival I know of that does not.

I too wrote to Morecambe as my potential entries were too long, I did receive a reply that explained that they are working under time constraints; but I do hope they can extend their time limit next year.

I am a member of a preliminary judging panel for Docutah and we have recived our first batch to review, all "feature length" documntaries, two of then run 90 minutes! There goes my summer!!

ned c
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FILM THURSO
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by FILM THURSO »

Remember, The Big Gig has no time limit on film lengths. Send your movies to our festival and it will hit the screen the way you intended the audience to view it. I think it's better to screen films as they are because it allows the audience to experience them properly. Films can be good, bad or indifferent. The Brits have a tendancy to enjoy badly made films anyway, we love to laugh at other folks folly! :D
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fraught
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by fraught »

I'm finding the time limits rather frustrating too... i have a film that runs at 33mins, which is even more frustrating when there are festivals not only with the 20 mins constraint, but there are some with a 30mins limit. Which doesn't really leave much else!

I've tried cutting out 3 mins from the film, but it just doesn't work.

So thank the makers for BIAFF and the Big Gig. :-) Both of which will be receiving my 33mins film.
Only Boring People Get Bored
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Mike Shaw

Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Mike Shaw »

Pity you don't live in the South east - at SERIAC this year we had a film over 45 minutes and several over 30.

There is a downside though - these films - all winners of course - meant that not all of the winners could be shown.

And non-winners didn't even get a look in. That is the problem with one day, one cinema events.

A long films festival (nothing under 30 minutes) running over several days could be an alternative, but I fear there wouldn't be enough entries (of sufficient merit) to warrant the expense involved (hotel bills etc.)

Perhaps Cannes or one of that 'pro' ilk could be persuaded to hold a 'non commercial' section to their Festival?
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fraught
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by fraught »

I understand all the time limits on a Festival... maybe the entries can be any length, but only excerpts are shown at the actual festival?

Plus as Ned says... as a Judge, it also takes up a lot of their time if the films are really long too.

Hmmm....
Only Boring People Get Bored
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Mike Shaw

Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Mike Shaw »

We did do an 'extract' one year at the Kent Film Festival - 10 minutes from a 70 minute movie (which, believe it or not, had Brenda Blethyn in a small role!). However, it wasn't very satisfactory - so much of the excellent film was missed. Some film makers, also, are understandably reticent about simply showing an exceprt from their film. It's a tricky one.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Dave Watterson »

FESTIVAL TIME LIMITS ON ENTRIES:

40 minutes
FIKE

120 minutes
Oskariada

125 minutes
The Big Gig

any length
BIAFF
Cork Youth International
Danube - Rousse
Docutah
Fantastic - Delta award
Outdoor Films
Railway & Transport Films
Tallinn
Up to 21

This list and details of all these on that inestimable resource
http://www.theiac.org.uk/events/forthco ... ivals.html
- Dave
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FILM THURSO
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by FILM THURSO »

The Big Gig is unrestricted, it's only that our programmes tend to be around 125 minutes because that's how the programme arrangements generally end up. If someone was to give us a 3 hour epic (we keep our fingures crossed it's worth watching!) we will certainly show it complete. :D
Ken Wilson
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Ken Wilson »

On running times...
Can I add that this year as an experiment, we decided that the PHASE 4 fiction film competition should have NO TIME LIMIT.
Although most of us (including ourselves) rarely go up to the 30 minute mark, I know that there are a few films which do run over that length. There are several problems, some of which have been touched upon here. Wherever you draw the line, say a 20 minute limit excludes a top notch film at 21 minutes or a 30 minute limit excludes another at 33 minutes as Michael has said.

But there is initially the problem of available free time for judging the films. We have pencilled in the Saturday after the closing date, but may now need an earlier pre-judging session. Another issue is also how long you have at a festival show to squeeze in as many films as possible. On balance, the time limit for 2010 was removed to see what happened.

What has happened so far, is that we have 3 films which run for an hour and more! These have not yet been viewed, so I do not know what to expect. But our show on October 10th has a MAXIMUM screening time of 3.5 hours. What we can show still depends on what is entered by the closing date of September 30th and which ones end up at the top.

Ken
Ken Wilson
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Ken Wilson »

Sorry correction. Michael`s film was 25 minutes and it was Fraught with the 33 minute one. But the point made remains the same.
Michael Slowe
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Michael Slowe »

Good to see that my 'thread' has been revived by Ken Wilson

It is a tricky problem but it is not confined to the non commercial world. Sky want to transmit one of my films on one of their channels which runs for 29 minutes and the 'slot' is only 25 minutes (the dreaded commercials!). Four minutes therefore have to be 'lost'. Since I'm heavily involved in an edit I discussed it with one of the channel editors and he is having a go. I'll see the result and hopefully agree it. In this kind of situation I'm happy to let go of a baby I nurtured a few years ago but would probably have been less happy with a new born.
Ian Woodward
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Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Ian Woodward »

Congratulations, Michael, on your wonderful documentary about those cute alpacas which was screened on Sky's Horse & Country channel last night.

Beautifully filmed and superbly edited, with an irresistible thread of humour weaving its way through the well-scripted storyline.

An inspiration.

Ian Woodward
Mike Shaw

Re: Film Festival Time Limits

Post by Mike Shaw »

There are 45 minute films where the time flashes by, and when it ends, you don't even realise that you have been watching it for just 45 minutes.

There are five minute films that, when 'the end' pops onto the screen, you heave a mighty sigh of relief and can stop fidgeting.

To paraphrase that old maxim ... length has nothing to do with it!

At the KFF this year there was a very long film (felt like 5 hours), no dialog, no commentary, erratic music, which just showed ships sailing into a harbour. Long, tediuous and often repeated shots. Paint drying would have been more interesting after the first 2 minutes or so. It was cut short before the end - after about 20 minutes - because of a dvd player problem (so how much longer it would have gone on, heaven only knows), and a comment from one in the audience - obviously someone involved with its making - "I hope they show the rest, our club members haven't seen it yet..."
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