FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

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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Dave Watterson
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FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by Dave Watterson »

In our hobby we tend to use the words "festival" and "competition" interchangeably. This has long bothered me and now I know why.

The Red Carpet Screenings in Basingstoke are a true festival ... they celebrate the films and film makers involved. There is no bitter competition, no disappointed film maker muttering "We were robbed!" The tone is set by Seb Hall the organiser, who is efficient, charming and very, very positive. He introduces the films and follows up each one with a short interview asking the film maker/s about the piece.

No one pretends the world is perfect. The problems of distribution and funding came up several times, but were never permitted to swamp the event. We went home feeling happy, buoyant, uplifted.

Maybe this is a better model for us than constant competition. There is a place for contests, but most film makers simply want their work to be seen and enjoy talking about it with sympathetic friends.

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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by Pqtrick »

Yes ! I prefer the expression 'Festival' or celebration of film as as screening rather than a constant round of competitions. Obviously? there are certain events where films need to be openly appraised and then come out as being graded according to its merits.

Most film makers want their epics to be screened, and be seen by others. But most importantly they need to talk about them, hear the reason why they made and the various aspects of its content.

I find, (and I have said so) that at my local club level, there are far too many competitions, both in house and then inter-club etc. Far too much time is spend on concocting something at the last minute, just to enter a film in a competition to try gain status and brownie points.

In my humble opinion, it would be far better to work on film which you have a particular conviction for, over a period of time and then when it is ready share it and discuss it with other like minded souls.

Perhaps I have gained the advantage in belonging to a club overseas. There, discussion is far more open and films of whatever level are discussed and 'appraised'. Here, I find that many films are screened as members offerings, followed by a grunt and a snort if you are lucky and a polite tapping of hands and 'next please'.

The number of events I attended at local and regional level in France, they were 'festivals' where everyone participated. As a result, participants went home enlightened, rewarded and satisfied.
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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by Willy »

My opinion is a bit different. I think that every film maker is a bit competitive. There is nothing wrong with it. Getting a good result is a form of appreciation. However, I am against fanatics. I am against constant competitions. Every film maker is proud when he has won an award or a number of stars. Every film maker is disappointed when he has poor results.

In Belgium our competitions are sometimes very bitter. I have friends who don't want to enter their films for our regional and national competitions anymore because they hate the negative competitive mood in our country. They invite themselves to go from one club to another to show their films. Maybe they are right. They also enter their films for BIAFF and other international festivals. I am almost sure that in other countries it is similar.

You are a critic or you are a film maker. Both prefer festivals. However, the film maker also wants to compete. Why not? And doesn't a film critic stay up all night to know who has won an award in Hollywood?

Last week I finished my last film for BIAFF, Ian. I must admit. I hurried. I did so because I had already worked on it for months and monts. After some time there were too many unforeseen obstacles. I like challenges, but now there were too many. I didn't have the feeling that my film would have been better by waiting for BIAFF 2013. Today I have started to continue the preparations (storyboard, script, etc...) for my next film and I am enjoying it.

I don't know the Red Carpet Screenings in Basingstoke, but I have read very positive things about them now. I know BIAFF. It's a competition and a celebration. It has the advantage that the filmmakers already know their results some weeks before the festival.

This year it's in Weymouth. My wife, my friends and I are looking forward to attending this friendly international competition with an excellent reputation. I am sure that we will also enjoy the atmosphere of a British seaside resort. We were there when our children were still teenagers. A breath of fresh air after having seen films on Saturday and Sunday! Our our way to and from Weymouth we will spend one night in the Garden of England (Goudhurst and Biddenden). "We are lambing at the moment", one of the B&B-ladies wrote to me yesterday. "I am struggling to escape from the sheep shed". Yes, England is unique. We don't have such an atmosphere here.
Willy Van der Linden
Peter Copestake
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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by Peter Copestake »

Only just noticed this and am glad to be able to say I agree with Dave and the general tenor of other replies. Better late than never?
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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by TimStannard »

Willy wrote:I know BIAFF. It's a competition and a celebration. It has the advantage that the filmmakers already know their results some weeks before the festival.
(Thanks to Peter for opening up this thread again)
I'm with you Willy. It's a massive advantage that, with one or two exceptions, the winners are already known. This enables us as an audience to relax and really enjoy the films - I won't say without a citical eye as that is impossible for us as filmmakers to do - but with more of an admiring eye.
It's the same at club level. When we watch a film in a competition, the atmosphere is all rather serious and there's very little audience feedback during the showing. Yet when we show the same film at our public show, we seem to appreciate the films much more.
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
ned c
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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by ned c »

Even non-competitive festivals are 'competitive' as the number of entries usually exceed the available screening time so there is a selection process. At Docutah films of special interest where the film maker was present (another selection process) were used as the basis of seminars with extended discussion time with the film makers. I found these excellent and learnt much attending them.
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Re: FESTIVALS - celebrations or competitions?

Post by fraught »

They all have their place. I like a little competition, but i love a festival. I agree with Dave about the Red Carpet Screenings film festival (i know i'm a little biased too), they really are great fun, and i feel stoked after leaving! There's such a good vibe, with lots of creative people chatting to each other, networking, and sharing knowledge!

I've been to every Red Carpet event and not only have i made some brilliant new friends, i have also found lots of people to work with on future projects.

Dave won't mind me saying, but he appeared as a sort of guest star at the last festival, and he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Such a brilliant speaker supporting the art and hobby we all follow.

Good times. :)
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