BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

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Mike Shaw

Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Mike Shaw »

University campus - we use one at Canterbury (Powell Theatre) for the Kent Film Festival: they certainly have enough seats and a huge screen with all mod con. The Oast Theatre at |Tonbridge is used for SERIAC Festivals - again, very raked seats, but only about 120 of them, so - cosy, but not suitable for BIAFF.

Shame and Glasses was one of my favourites at BIAFF. '13' did not project well at all at the Festival - it looked (and sounded!) much better when being judged I promise!

But like others, I was puzzled by the number of 4-stars shown on the Sunday (a lot of them seemed morbid and gloomy) when really superb and entertaining 5 star films were mingled with the masses on the Saturday. Of those, two really stand out to me - Stan the Man and the movie about the chap with a thousand hobbies (slight exaggeration of course) - one of them being making absolutely mind blowing 'Faberge' (type) eggs.

Of course, one can't get to all the Cinemas one wants to visit on the Saturday because of conflicting showings, so I missed many of the films I wanted to see. Short of adding three more days to the Festival, I don't see how that can be avoided though. Pity.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Dave Watterson »

Off-hand I cannot recall which British festival ... but one was held in a university campus. The irritant there was the need to walk outside from the residential block to the lecture theatres.

One practical problem is that most of the people who actually attend are over retirement age and expect a degree of comfort more than most student lodging can offer. Many delegates also have problems walking any significant distance. Since they are the supporters whose attendance makes the event possible, their needs must always be considered.

In the Netherlands there are at least two hotels which include large enough theatres but the only British one I know is in central London with a theatre that seats 200 or so.

Audiences at festivals are a problem all over Europe. Film makers send their work happily, but all too often cannot turn up even for one day. Apart from UNICA with its 250-300 people regulars the best-attended events we have been at were the Senftenberg Festival weekend in Germany and the FIFA Festival due Film Animaliers in northern France. The first is in the former East Germany where such events were rare and something of the rarity values remains, it also includes the German national one-minute film festival. The FIFA event is mainly for professional films. Croatia's renowned one minute film festival in Pozega gets a huge audience for its main show and parties though fewer people for the preceding days.

It might be possible to find a hotel in Manchester and hire a local cinema ... the Festival of Fantastic Film does that each year.
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John Roberts
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by John Roberts »

I must say I enjoyed the weekend, staff at both hotels were friendly and courteous and did their best under the circumstances. It was great to meet again fellow filmmakers I already knew and some for the first time (and my apologies go out to anyone whose name badges I needed to read - I am still very much at the 'name-badge-reading' stage but slowly matching bodies to faces!)

Overall I enjoyed the presentations and came away inspired and with renewed aspirations. I need to step up my game. I also came away with a slightly sore posterior - despite my comparative youth I found the seats hard and uncomfortable after a couple of days :lol:

I am not going to knock the projection team or set-up, but simply make one observation. A number of times some opening titles and end credits were very dark, and the film '13' seemed almost continuously dark. After a while I noticed the player/projector combination was doing exactly what my TV does at home - it darkens the screen when it thinks nothing is being shown, in a sort of 'power-saving' mode. It thinks the screen is 'black' therefore it powers down until something bright appears. Maybe this is something that needs checking for future presentations, and disabling for shows. Just a thought :-)

Congratulations to everyone who walked away with an award, see you again next year if not sooner!

John
Mike Shaw

Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Mike Shaw »

Ah! that would explain it: as I mentioned earlier, 13 was dark but definitely not that dark at the judging sessions. In fact one or two of the films seemed to project quite differently to how I remember seeing them.

On the subject of providing DVD combos of entered films for people to buy and take away - surely all it would need would be a tick in a box on the competition entry form to agree? As long as the DVD is marked for 'personal viewing only' (as is usual anyway), I'd have thought few would object. We make movies/films/videos to be seen, after all. The DVDs would be priced to cover reproduction costs and maybe a tiddly bit - after rounding up slightly - for the IAC coffers. Or a charity.
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by TimStannard »

Mike Shaw wrote: But like others, I was puzzled by the number of 4-stars shown on the Sunday (a lot of them seemed morbid and gloomy)
Indeed. I must apologize that my own effort included two divorces, two beheadings, a couple of deaths in early adulthood and a death from obesity - more than enough for the whole weekend. And that was the light entertainment!

But seriously folks, with only 15 five star/diamond awards to play with, what is David Newman meant to do? Nine of these films were shown at the Sunday show - the emphasis, quite correctly in my mind, being on the diamonds. This left only six five star films for the whole of Saturday (four sessions each in four mini-cinemas). Surely if the Awards Show shows only the five/diamonds this "weakens" the line up for the rest of the event. I appreciate it could be argued that the same people would turn up for Saturday whether they included Diamonds or One Stars so my point may be invalid.

I'm perhaps not in a position to judge, having only attended the Sunday, but from my perspective David produced an excellent balanced program (indeed I complimented him on it), constantly switching from serious to light, from drama to documentary. Morbid & gloomy films? 13, Raven, Into the Light, Still Falling. Arguably Face/Book, Over the Hill, Groupie and Michael. Out of 29 films! And let's face it, drama has to have conflict and this is likely to have at least some gloomy aspect.

I can only suggest that the morbid/gloomy films left a deeper impression than the lighter ones and the documentaries (which is a mark of success)

My only disappointment with the programme (and David has to work with what we submit, after all) was that whilst we had several good factual documentaries (Alan Atkinson's films are like a GCSE course in five minutes and Andy Holt's images had me drooling so much I missed half of the narration) we didn't have one which was at all challenging or opinionated.

My favourites of the 15 (not the same as the three I think were the best):
Groupie
Soul Matrix
Dragonfly
Tim
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Emily
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Emily »

Hello everyone,

I was terribly sorry I was not able to attend BIAFF this time (due to complicated paperwork, my studies and also the distance). I am sure the entire event was an incredible experience as it usually is, and hopefully, next time, I will be there.

I am also very sad to hear that "13" did not look appealing on the screen. Yes, it is shot in black & white and, yes, shadows are more than dominant throughout the film, but we made sure during the entire post-production process that everything regarding the quality of the image and the light balance was fully crisp and clear. I am not sure what happened to the sound, but again, we invested a great deal of time and effort into sound editing and we have never noticed a thing that might be considered low-quality regarding audio.

As for the concept and topic, I do fully agree, it is a rather gloomy and depressing story, especially when one bears in mind the fact that the inspiration started from "Thirteen" by Johnny Cash. I do hope you liked and enjoyed at least some aspects of it, needless to say, I am more than eager to hear everybody's opinion and constructive criticism. When it comes to viewing quality, the only thing I'd like to suggest and ask is whether there is a possibility for the film to be posted on the website?
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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Dave Watterson »

Ah - we missed you Emily. I was scouting round the hotel minutes before the screening started, because I knew you wanted to be there.

Can you give us some background to the film ... was it linked to the Toronto Film School's 13 theme?

What are you doing now?
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

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Emily wrote:When it comes to viewing quality, the only thing I'd like to suggest and ask is whether there is a possibility for the film to be posted on the website?
Emily, if you can upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, then Dave will link to it from this page:

http://www.theiac.org.uk/movies/biaff20 ... n2014.html

I, for one, would welcome the opportunity to watch again. If you'll allow one comment for now (and bear in mind this is from someone who has yet to achieve 5 stars) my overriding feeling of the film is it rather laboured the points - you made a statement and then kept repeating it, rather than moving the story forward or developing the characters. This may, of course, be down to the particularly gloomy presentation and there may have been many more subtleties that I missed. Clearly the judges appreciated it at their viewing so I'm hoping for a chance to see it as you intended, which will hopefully leave me with a different impression.

I'm also interested in the story behind the film. Whilst you may have taken inspiration from the song (which was written by Glenn Danzig for Johnny Cash, by the way), there is clearly other inspiration here. For example, several of us were speculating in the interval as to whether the exploitation of orphans is/was a particular problem in Serbia.
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Emily
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Emily »

Dave - I really wanted to, but, despite all my efforts, it was pretty impossible, classes and visa paperwork being the major issues. However, when I picture myself at the screening, watching something that was apparently unwatchable and directed by me...I would have probably had a mini panic attack :lol:

Toronto Film School came afterwards, "13" was shot before I enrolled and moved to Canada. As a matter of fact, both "13" and "The Raven" were the works that got me into the school. Of course, the mention of participation and 4 stars for "The Raven" at BIAFF were my ultimate weapon! So, right now I'm done with 2 terms at TFS, it is a great learning experience, very intensive, very hands-on and most professional. One of my first works ended in professor's Hall of Fame, so that might be my contribution on next BIAFF. The only drawback is lack is time, as I'd love to be more present on the festivals and network with fellow filmmakers. I do hope you guys had great time this year :)

By the way, I did check the film both last night and today, and, as I've said, it is dark, especially during the cell scenes, but one would most definitely be able to discern the content of the shot, shadows are there on purpose.

Tim, thank you so much for the info about posting the film online, I will try to do it this weekend, the latest. Also, thank you so much for your kind feedback - I did know about Danzig writing the lyrics, which made the entire song even more appealing to me. As for the other source of inspiration, I'm afraid there wasn't anything that particular. It was most certainly not a social issue I was surrounded by, when I actually think about it, I think orphan exploitation was not something that was common and present in my country. What affected us strongly was mostly war, however, at this point, I do not find that appropriate for a story.
I do know that postmodern literature made a strong impact on me, especially extremely strong emphasis on the absence and deterioration of individual's identity. That is what guided and embraced the story. Hence the undeveloped characters - I am not sure if it came across the way I wanted to - but that was the point. I do understand what you mean by overemphasized points - what I've yet to learn, and what I will, hopefully, as soon as possible, is to trust the audience. I still have that urge to overexplain in fear that the viewers wouldn't grasp all the symbols and messages I have for them.
Ken Wilson
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Ken Wilson »

Hi. As someone speaking from a darkened room and still very happily using mini DV tapes without any problems at all, I will add a few more comments.
Sorry Michael (Slowe) that I looked for you at the BIAFF interval tea/ coffee confusion scrambles over the weekend and only glimpsed you once as you took your seat for the Sunday show and never found you again. I note that you were not there on the Saturday, so that explains why we didn`t see you at the dinner this time. Shame about that as I enjoy our chats.

The meal actually, we thought was very good this year. (No-one seems to have mentioned that.)
It was I who mentioned the raked seating and the (always) very uncomfortable chairs at all hotels. This year Burnley Film Festival organisers found a lovely viewing theatre where we viewed the films in real comfort. It wasn`t designed for catering though and there were some slight problems again with queues at that one which they hope to sort out for next year. So yes, many people do now have walking difficulties as I noted in the previous posting, but a bus to get everyone to and from the hotel/s from the viewing theatre would be simple enough and a small price to pay to alleviate everyone`s discomfort at the film shows.

The Saturday shows this year (the ones we were in) were very poorly attended. Was this anything to do with the event being in Bedford? Saturday shows at Harrogate and Chesterfiled have often been full to bursting with several people standing. There did seem to be very low attendance on the Saturday compared to the Sunday. We were told some had cancelled due to the hotel mix-up, but cannot confirm how many did this. As Bedford is some way to go for many, did this put people off? Does a more central location in the UK boost numbers from all the country for those who come for the whole weekend?

One of the biggest complaints that I have and it happens every year, is the number of winners who turn up on Sunday and often for just one segment of Sunday, to collect their award and get their picture taken! There may be many good reasons for those who do this, many one-time only winners who are never seen again, but it does give the impression that this win is simply for their CV to get into the film industry. Most seem to have no interest in seeing anyone else`s film only their own and to collect their award. It happened again on Sunday as one group were seen leaving the hotel immediately after their screening. It doesn`t go down well to the many of us who support the festivals year in and year out with regular film entries and attendance at the festivals.

No one has mentioned "The Futility of War" which yes was only 4 stars, but was fun and I enjoyed it. Also the "Tudor Rap" by Tim which was very well done by the kids!

On sending compilation DVDs around. Yes we did things like this a few years ago and I believe I did suggest this at some point in my regular ramblings. It`s a good idea so that we get to see the films we missed.

I think I might have also suggested this one previously:
Why not include some films in a show at the AGM? These would be films perhaps not screened at BIAFF plus a few "second chances" for us to see ones missed at opposing Saturday shows. It could be an alternative to some of the trips for those who would rather see some more movies. It might also encourage attendance at the AGM events. The AGM is less "full and busy" than BIAFF so selected films from that years` competition might be a good idea?
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John Roberts
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by John Roberts »

Emily - I too would be interested to see '13' again. I could tell something was amiss with the presentation, particularly in the shadow details. One of my favourite films of all time is Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' an absolute masterclass in conveying the multi-faceted bleaker, emptier aspects of life, utilising what to many 'Western' minds would appear to be lengthy and sometimes surreal and puzzling drawn out sequences, repetitive themes and a vague inconclusive ending nearly 3 hours later. A remake using 'Westernised' techniques and expectations would simply destroy the film. It's not a film for everyone, as '13' is not either, but no film can hope to cater for everyone's tastes so ultimately you must remain true to yourself...

Please can you let us know if you manage to host '13' online at some point :-)

John
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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Dave Watterson »

I ought to remind everyone that compilation DVDs of many BIAFF entries are always made available for hire from the IAC Video Library within a few months of the event.

For BIAFF 2013 ones start here: http://www.theiac.org.uk/iac/video_libr ... tions.html
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Howard-Smith »

(1) Further to comments about 13, I too look forward to watching it again to reappraise it as clearly it's unfair to judge it from the Sunday screening. (2) I totally agree with comments made about attendance on Saturday. In the morning session when 2 of my films were shown alongside Michael Slowe's OUI CHEF, apart from my party of 5, there were only about 20 others in attendance. Disappointing. With regard to Sunday, yes I agree with Ken Wilson that it IS irritating that many people only attend to watch their own films. (3) Concerning the 4 star film STILLEN! (Pacifying) shown on Saturday, a powerful if slightly confusing film about the death of a baby... Three of us in my party thought that the opening subtitled caption stated that "the story starts with a death" yet others are sure that it said it ENDS with a death which is what happens in the film. Can anyone confirm exactly what the opening caption said? (4) I heard rumours from more than one source during the weekend that the hotel fiasco was 't caused by accidental over-booking but by 50 of us being dumped to accommodate a team being employed to create the set for a forthcoming Bedford gig by ONE DIRECTION. Hmmm...
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John Roberts
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by John Roberts »

I heard the last rumour too, but what annoys me most is that despite being a musician of some 30+ years I still have to lug my own gear about! :lol:
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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2014 Post Mortem

Post by Dave Watterson »

I didn't see anyone looking even vaguely roadie-like at the hotel. After the Friday wedding almost everyone I saw was BIAFF delegates ...

An extra video added to the movies page: http://www.theiac.org.uk/movies/biaff20 ... tcher.html
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