Many people reading this will know that I am a bit obsessive about movies. Movies are the equivalant of my sport where people live and breathe it and "getting it right" is very important. So I was awake for hours last night going through the logistics of the idea I posted on here, which so far seems to have gathered some support-thank you all.
I was about to say, before others did, that yes, I agree, NO system of judging an art form can be perfect as it will not be proveable which (film) is best. Unlike sport, we cannot prove who is fastest, or who can jump the highest, so it will always be subjective, but not having a perfect system, doesn`t mean that we shouldn`t try to have a better system. After all, nothing in life is perfect anyway.
So I read Peter`s comments about the "Lily" system with great interest and he has already talked to me about how this worked.
I was on the final panel at Guernsey one year, so saw for myself the fairness of how the final winners were chosen. I also have judged in a number of other competitions, such as "The Burnley" festival, "CEMRIAC," "Dundee club", "The Mersey Ten", "North vs South" and a number of others, apart from our own fiction competition 5 times. Having the films at home, certainly does mean that I watch them more than once. Sometimes seeing them three or four times if I need to verify something, is not unusual.
So to expand on what I said last time, it really could be simple number crunching when deciding the rating a film should receive.
If we had 6 preliminary judges at home (or 3 in Peter`s example) there are a group of people who will see EVERY film. Unlike at present where apart from David Newman who is not judging, NO-ONE sees all the films entered.
So based on my figure of 6 ( which can be adapted to suit chosen number of judges) here`s how it works out.
1/ Closing date to BIAFF weekend date adjusted to allow sufficient time.
2/ 6 judges= 6 parcels of plain (in wallet) DVDs posted out. Each parcel contains around 35 films =210 films. Judges would get at least a week to see each set of films. This would equate to watching an average of 5 films per day. Not an unmanageable number.
3/ Parcels are passed around by post from one judge to the next. Allowing a week each, means a 6 week+ process. This would likely run through January and the first half of February.
4/ Each judge writes a few basic notes (meaning each film gets 6 sets of fairly basic comments) and gives the film a score of 1 (1 star) to 6 (Diamond.) Max score 36. (6 x 6)
5/ A film with a score above 18 at the end of this (6 x 3 or an average of 3 stars per judge) moves on to the second session at the judging weekend. A film scoring 6 would be a 1 star; a film scoring 7 to 12 would be a 2 star (meaning at least ONE judge thought it deserved 2 stars) and 13 to 18 would be 3 stars (meaning at least ONE judge thought the film deserved 3 stars.)
As we should encourage and support film-making, we should always defer to the higher score.
6/ Films above a 3 star rating (above 18 points) automatically go through to session 2. This could be the remaining 9 judges (as BIAFF uses 15 judges and 6 of these have been working from home) divided into 3 panels of 3 as it is now.
This is the Saturday session and each panel of 3 now have to see about 25 films each. (75) These scores are added to the first judges` scores.
7/ This Saturday judging session selects the 4 star films. Each film arriving here has now been seen by 9 judges!!! Time constraints would probably mean that this session still needs 3 panels, but each film is being seen by many more people anyway.
Again the scores would show that up to 36 are 4 star films. (This is 9 x 4 the total added together from sessions 1 and 2.) Any score above 36 means 5 star and Diamond and the final award winners.
8/ The Sunday session now has only around 15 films to view and discuss on the final day to put into place the 5 star films, Diamonds and winners. This could be done by the current sysem of 3 or by all the judges at the weekend who have stayed over and may be the total 9 from Saturday.
This means that EVERY film will have been seen by at least 6 people. Some films may have been seen by all 15 judges!
In practice, judges at home (session 1) can begin when enough films have been sent in and wouldn`t need to wait for the closing date.
A "level-setting" DVD could be made and sent out to the judges by David Newman ( similar to the Friday evening session at the judging weekend) to agree star rating levels.
If in doubt, any film should be graded upwards. (We are here to promote film-making and encourage it.)
The final decisions should remain with the competition officer; David Newman.
So that`s it. Just my thoughts and a way that this system could work. Perhaps a bit more effort, but I think as with the Guernsey Lily, many fewer complaints and though we will not all agree, it`s a much more balanced system in my view.
There are areas where fine tuning and/ or some elements could be changed as required, but It`s no use moaning and not having any suggestions to back up a new system.
I hope that David Newman reads this or we may have to let him know what is being discussed on the forum.