Guerilla Festivals

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
ned c
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Guerilla Festivals

Post by ned c » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:36 pm

We hear about the difficulty of connecting with the "young" film makers who are so active, then how about your club running an open guerilla film festival with a theme, a time limit, a delivery date and a public showing? This happens three times a year here in SW Utah and attracts a good entry with the entry/admission fees going to local charities and the shows well attended by the film makers, their friends and a wider audience. We are now at the Halloween Horror Fest here, our entry? "Picnic at Pine Valley". Easy to organize and a sure payback in film maker participation.

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TimStannard
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:59 am

Good idea, Ned, but I wouldn't bank on "a sure payback on film maker participation".
We organised a public competition three years back which was reasonably well publicised (local radio, newspaper ads and posted throughout the area, local web forums). Indeed it wasn't even that demanding - just "any theme you like from home movies to dramas" with a maximum running time of 5 mins.
We had two entries - one of which was illegible as it was made by an associate member of the club and the other by a friend of a member.

I've no doubt our publicity could have been better and it might have been better if we'd had a more focused theme, but I'm not at all convinced we'd have attracted any greater interest.

I genuinely wonder whether it would have done better if it had NOT been associated with the club (and its website full of grey-hairs)
Tim
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ned c
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by ned c » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:42 pm

Interesting, thanks for the info Tim. The Guerilla Fests here are arranged by a local film maker in his 30s with promos on local radio and press plus much material on Facebook and a strong connection into the local University Film and Theater Departments. There is a constant rain of promos (this morning 2 e-mails and reports on Facebook). The usual entry is between 15 and 20 and the showing well attended.This festival is now in its 13th year, we entered the first year and there were perhaps 5 entries. I think that like many things you just have to keep doing it and eventually hope it works.

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TimStannard
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:37 pm

Two points I can take from that, Ned.

First. The promoter is in his 30s - this is a definite plus.
Second. I'm sure you're right - you have to keep plugging away at it. Doing it once is never going to work. The problem is it is easy to become disheartened (and even if you keep up the enthusiasm, the much needed support from others can very easily evaporate).

I might suggest we launch one not associated with the club.
Tim
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:56 pm

I frequently rave about the Red Carpet Screenings at Basingstoke ... and in many ways they match what Ned is discussing. Seb Hall (30-ish) runs them and is part of a loose-knit group of film makers already, That gives him a start. Others film makers in the area have come out of the woodwork and joined in. Something similar happened near Hungerford with a groups based on an amateur theatre club.

The trick seems to be to find some likely people who are on the edge of the amateur/professional divide and are in one area. Then get them involved and wrking their contacts.

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TimStannard
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:02 pm

Dave Watterson wrote:I frequently rave about the Red Carpet Screenings at Basingstoke ... and in many ways they match what Ned is discussing. Seb Hall (30-ish) runs them and is part of a loose-knit group of film makers already, That gives him a start.
Funnily enough that was exactly what I was thinking of when I mentioned creating a festival/competition not associated with my club! I do get the impression that Red Carpet Screenings (which I enjoy) is frequented by people who want to make a career in film, rather than "just" for the love of it. (Fraught may like to comment)
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fraught
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by fraught » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:03 am

For the most part Tim, you are spot on. They occasionally get a 'hobbyist', but most people want to move onto the next step, etc. It's really great and inspiring to watch so many talented people on their journey! :)
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ned c
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by ned c » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:17 pm

With the advent of the digital world film making became accessible to many who could only dream of becoming professionals in the days of film. The downside to this is that most of them have no hope of making a living from film making so we have a world of people with talent and skills making films they hope are their calling cards but are really traditional "amateur" films, self funded and with very limited distribution. We have several film makers in this category here in SW Utah and very, very occasionally they may get a paid gig but they have to have a day job and admit their films are made for the pleasure of making films. This is the group that is so difficult for traditional clubs and the IAC to access, to become involved with a club or the IAC is an admission that the dream is virtually dead, the dread word "amateur" is firmly fixed in the professional world as indicating low quality work.

This is why a new look at the world of non-commercial film making is needed, the traditional club is rooted in the world of "Gentlemen" movie makers, some have broken free but in the process have widened the base of their membership beyond video camera ownership.

Community involvement in the most exciting art form of the 21st Century is what we need.

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TimStannard
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:56 pm

ned c wrote: to become involved with a club or the IAC is an admission that the dream is virtually dead,
I think you've hit another nail on the head there, Ned.
Are they the people we want to attract to the IAC though? (As members, I mean, clearly we'd like to support them and learn from them)

Perhaps the IAC needs to decide whether it wants to become a club for wannabe professionals or whether it wants to serve the non-commercial film makers. I don't believe we can be all things to all men.

My fear is that there may be no people who make films just for the love of it.
ned c wrote:
the dread word "amateur" is firmly fixed in the professional world as indicating low quality work.
and, I accept, among the public. However, I'm not sure that "non-commercial" is any better.

Non-commercial has very different implications from amateur and not necessarily any better. It can imply it's a very niche market hence couldn't sell, or even worse, would not appeal to a general audience. It could imply its not good enough to be able to sell. It could imply it was a commercial failure. It can imply left field, geeky, cultish all sorts of things that might put people off watching in exactly the same way that amateur could put people off.

The films I've seen of yours, Ned and of TSB, fit into none of these categories - they are lovingly made, well crafted and suitable for and likely to appeal to a general audience. Labelling them "non-commercial" might do them an injustice.

I suspect the wannabe professionals might not want their work to be associated with being non-commercial for the same reasons they might not want it associated with amateur.

Anyway, I've drifted off topic (again)

Question to all: Should the IAC concentrate on budding professionals or enthusiasts? We seem to be floundering between the two at the moment and failing to meet the needs of either camp, which could well a contributing factor to failing to attract new members.
Tim
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Michael Slowe
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:46 pm

The last few posts have discussed the very nub of all that we've been talking about. We are all FILM MAKERS, regardless of status, amateur, non commercial or fully professional, what does it matter providing that the films are good? Funnily enough, only earlier this week I had the pleasure of talking and showing films to the Reading club. During some conversations with a couple of guys they just assumed that I made my living from film making and they seemed perfectly happy that I was at an 'amateur' club. I explained that I just made films for fun and they were surprised that I should want to go to the trouble that I went to , just for fun! There is simply no need to categorise, so many people are producing films on all sorts of kit, from iPhones up to the Sony F65. There are many festivals all over the world where people can test their standard and we are lucky that BIAFF, run by the IAC, seems to cater for the level of skill for most of us. We will attract more film makers eventually, I'm sure of it. Whether they want to join clubs is rather more doubtful though.

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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:55 pm

On one level, you are absolutely right, Michael, we are all film makers. On one level you are correct, there is no need to categorize.
However, it can be useful to categorise in situations such as we are facing at the moment - where is the IAC going? (and as a separate, but not unrelated question, where are clubs going?)
Labels get in the way. What amateur means to me is different from what it might mean to the next man. Ditto "professional", "independent film maker", "non-commercial" etc etc, but what I believe does matter is the difference between different types of film maker.

The aspiring pros and the young professionals (and established professionals) want different things from organisations to those of us who do it for the love of it and even those who do it for the love of it want different things. When I go to the Red Carpet screenings, much as I enjoy the films and learn a lot from watching them and the subsequent interviews and may even have a chat with one or two of the participants, it is not my world. "They" are not interested in me as a film maker - and neither should they be. They are interested in networking with other aspiring/young pros, quite rightly so. Contrast that with most people I see at BIAFF, or the NTR or SERIAC festivals and we are all interested in each other's films.

And that is why it is important to establish at whom the IAC should be targeted. Categories are one convenient way of doing this.

There is no dispute that the IACs crowning glory, BIAFF, can and does cater for all. There is no disputing the success or importance of BIAFF. But the IAC is not BIAFF. Were the IAC to fold, I suspect BIAFF would continue in one form or another.

If we are to address how we are to move forward, I believe we need to first decide and then state categorically who the IAC is for (I know that should really be "for whom is the IAC", but that sounded rather pretentious - especially from me). I do fear if we try to be all things to all men (and ladies) we will fail to be anything to anyone. Only once we are clear about our target membership can we successfully promote the organisation to them.

I'd much rather be having this chat with you over a pint, Michael. Not long until the NTRIAC festival, hopefully I'll get to buy you lunch this time.
Tim
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Dave Watterson
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by Dave Watterson » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:43 pm

Realistically very few of the would-be professionals will make it in the business. And some who work at the same level probably do not aspire to make films as a profession.

The key difference is one Michael touched upon: some, like him, are prepared to put much more effort into making their films than most of us do. Most of us compromise in every aspect of making movies. The BIAFF Sunday show - with the overall winners - is usually a big step up from the quality of work we enjoy on the Saturday. But the people who devote most of their spare time and energy to making movies as well as they can, are rarely interested in the socialising and mutual support that takes place in good clubs.

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TimStannard
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by TimStannard » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:32 pm

Interesting observations, Dave, and I cannot disagree with most of it but I don't see what that has to do with attracting younger film makers either (a) by clubs running guerrilla competitions as suggested in Ned's original post or (b) to the IAC.

However,
Dave Watterson wrote: But the people who devote most of their spare time and energy to making movies as well as they can, are rarely interested in the socialising and mutual support that takes place in good clubs.
I'm not sure I agree with this as several people who regularly feature among the top awards at BIAFF and active members of clubs and/or frequently travel to affilliated clubs as guest speakers.
Tim
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Paddy Duffy
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by Paddy Duffy » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:12 pm

As a newish member (joined late last year) and being young-ish at just made up 30 (but mentally 12 :wink: ) this is my view on the club situations.

Filmmaking to me is like being in a band. I would never be in a band who only feel they want to practice, the gig is the best part!
Actors join theatres because they want to be in a play on the stage.

what I mean by that is that although some clubs do submit films to competitions, others seem quite content in just holding their meetings and practicing. The best way to practice for me is on the shoot under the pressure to get it right.
I know a lot of clubs have elderly members who may not be as active and not want to make a lot of films but by making every club submit an entry into one of the competitions it gives the group and individuals a purpose and a timescale to complete and compete.

If there is a film to make they could approach local theatres for actors and many of them want to be in a crew also which would open the gates to them joining the clubs. In all club situations you should be building towards things, something big. Features, shorts, it doesn't matter all that matters is people from all ages working together towards a common goal.
I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but I'm sure many will disagree. By making clubs submit something/anything to competitions every year it may re-spark the passion.

I think the urgency and the goal outcome may attract the younger generations.

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John Roberts
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Re: Guerilla Festivals

Post by John Roberts » Sun Nov 02, 2014 10:36 pm

Interesting analogy Paddy, especially poignant for me because during the AGM weekend I met up with a former member of a phenomenally talented band I was in some 23 years ago, that never gigged but just practised to perfection. We both agreed that it was the biggest single waste of talent we have ever been a part of and should've instead just got 'out there' and done something!

In my own club we used to have a 'Summer Theme' competition, which I dearly miss. It gave us something to aim for, our own individual interpretation of a word, phrase or subject. I'm also slightly disheartened that although we are members of NERIAC and some members, including myself I have to admit, attend the NERIAC annual festival during which the chairman issues a 'club challenge' for the following year, we never take it up. Some clubs do, I understand, and I have also seen different regions rise to their own region's annual challenge.

Maybe club committees should at the very least look towards their region's challenge and encourage members to produce a film following the theme, with the best film chosen to represent the club at the annual festival. This probably already happens in many clubs. I'm not sure how one would go about making a club submit a film, we've talked before about proactive and reactionary clubs. If a club's membership doesn't want to do anything other than socialise and rerun their old films, then nothing will change that.


I think what you wrote is very telling, Paddy. As a young person (I'm not sure how I feel about no longer being possibly the 'youngest' member of this forum haha) you want to get out there and 'do something'. You don't want to join a club that ultimately 'doesn't do anything'. You want to make films. You want to be a part of a team that makes films. This is what young people want to do (whether they aspire to be professional or not) and if the club system or the IAC doesn't support them in their quest to 'do something' then they will look elsewhere.

John

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