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Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:05 pm
by Mike Shaw
From the numerous comments I heard Dave, I think it would be far more preferable to have (super)titles alongside the occasional eye line - and to be able to follow the film and its plot, than to sit through however many minutes the film lasts in complete ignorance and fidgeting frustration. That, surely, isn't what any film maker would want. I cannot believe any film maker would willingly write off all foreign viewers of his work simply to keep the titling at the bottom of the picture out of the eye line. Considering club viewings and so on, I think it far more likely a film will be seen in a 'flat floor' situation than a raked seat cinema.

Yes, the solution would be for all (IAC) film shows to be in raked seat or high ceilinged environments... but finding such places ... available on a Sunday )or a Saturday) ... at a price that would be attractive enough to ensure the attendance of the numbers of people needed to make the weekend viable ... what are the chance?. You mention University campus theatres - they certainly exist: we use one for the Kent Festival - and a raked seat theatre, that holds just over 100 people for the SERIAC festival (picking a date when they are 'in rehearsals'). Neither would suit a BIAFF operation for a number of reasons.

It isn't the IAC that organises these events, it is the local Region - Volunteers who are essentially film makers and not event organisers. The IAC expects the events to make a profit, and the Region does it all for the most part at its own expense -since I raised this issue some years ago, I understand the IAC does now make 'loans' and/or donations towards setting the event up. But it still has to show a profit. Who pays otherwise?

As well as being a film-watching event, I see BIAFF as a chance for people to meet up and chat with friends old and new, from far and wide - and believe that side of things is as important as the dispersement of awards. So I'm not so sure I would like more time devoted to the actual award ceremonies at the expense of the social activities of the weekend.

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:36 pm
by TimStannard
OK Dave. My Tut Tut! is there but not A Joy to Ring or the club film If Only . This suggests you (or someone) scours Vimeo and YouTube looking for them as the two that do not appear are private - A Joy to Ring because it is an edit of a longer version that the Church is selling with proceeds going to rebuilding of a sister church destroyed by the New Zealand tsunami, and If Only because I forgot to remove the private flag!

I've put the links below, please add them at your leisure, but it does raise an interesting point. We often have different edits of films and it may be that the version you happen upon is not the same as the version entered at BIAFF.

I'd suggest we should have a mechanism whereby BIAFF entrants can send (electronically - so as to avoid typos, unintelligible writing etc) links to the versions of their films that were entered, preferably in advance of the show so you can have them all ready to publish after the Sunday show.

If Only - Staines Video Makers - 3 Stars
A Joy to Ring - Me - 4 Stars

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:56 pm
by Brian Saberton
Got home at 5pm, weary after a long journey and a great weekend, but excited about the excellent films on show at BIAFF this year. It would be nice though if this thread could, just for once, be confined to debating the actual films we saw rather than, as often happens, spinning off on other topics that have been discussed many times before. It's the films we go to see and discuss with our fellow film-makers and friends and there was plenty of animated discussion at this years event which was truly buzzing!

Of the four star films shown on Sunday my stand outs were Family Reunion, Acid rain and Memory each of which must surely have come close to getting a five. Of the five stars I thought that The Hour Glass was a brilliant film and I liked the way that the story continued to its resolution through the final credits. As far as the Diamond awards are concerned I enjoyed them all but didn't feel that any one film particularly stood out from the rest, so I guess the final judging panel would have had quite a difficult discussion in choosing the overall winner. By the way, I thought that David Newman did a wonderful job, particularly in the way he programmed each show.

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:00 pm
by TimStannard
Mike Shaw wrote: As well as being a film-watching event, I see BIAFF as a chance for people to meet up and chat with friends old and new, from far and wide - and believe that side of things is as important as the dispersement of awards. So I'm not so sure I would like more time devoted to the actual award ceremonies at the expense of the social activities of the weekend.
Couldn't agree more! I like the idea that awards are presented after each film and there are only two big awards at the end.
Terence Patrick made a comment between two films on the Sunday that was quite telling. Trying to cut down the chatter and move things on (quite rightly) he said something along the lines of "We can discuss the films at the breaks". But we all knew there is hardly any time to discuss the films during the breaks, yet as enthusiasts that what we want to do. Treasured moments for me on Sunday were the fact Michael Slowe was sat behind me and kept asking me my opinion of the film we'd just watched (I was flattered he was interested) and the opportunity to discuss the merits and flaws of films we'd just seen with Michael Gough, Phil Martin, Geoff Harmer, Jill Lampert and many others during the all too brief breaks.
Ahhh if only I'd made enough money and was retired I could join the rest of you more often on these binges :)

BTW Dave Newman - I agree with Brian, what a star!
I went to pick up my two films (which he remembered, commented upon and knew what numbers they were) and one from a club member. He then reminded ME about another film I'd submitted on behalf of my club and he guessed it was "about number 150". It was 151. Amazing! But that's just party tricks. He did a fantastic job as he always has. Thanks Dave.

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:44 pm
by Dave Watterson
Tim: A JOY TO RING and IF ONLY (Staines version of that title) are now online - albeit not yet sorted into correct alphabetical order on the BIAFF SCREEN starter page - that takes a surprising amount of work and I have only got 10 upright minutes per hour.

I do all the scouting for available films a week or two before BIAFF and prepare the pages - which take a time to do, specially when capturing images for stills ans tweaking them etc. I saw that A JOY TO RING was private so respected that ... and failed to find IF ONLY !

Anyone else know of any more?

I am not sure we can keep this thread exclusively to the films, Brian. For example echoing Tim's wish that there were more chance to discuss films leads to thoughts about longer breaks and packing fewer films into the day ...

I am glad that everyone seems to have enjoyed the event, liked the hotel and had a good time. Not every BIAFF is like that. Well done SERIAC and friends !

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:02 pm
by TimStannard
Dave Watterson wrote:Tim: A JOY TO RING and IF ONLY (Staines version of that title) are now online
Remarkably efficient, Dave! Should we let you know in advance in the future? Scouting for films sounds so much like unnecessary hard work (and even more like the name of a popular beat combo ...)

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:38 am
by Ken Wilson
I didn`t mean to start a war mentioning the low ceilings, but it IS a problem and several people I saw finally gave up with the manic bobbing heads around trying to read the subtitles and sat through some films that they clearly didn`t follow (reading the programme instead) due to not being able to read them. I was told at the break that this happened.
But Burnley isn`t quite the back of beyond Mike, you will find it on a map of the North West. Their new venue is excellent.

Yes some people around us also mentioned titles at the top and this is preferable as a second best if raked theatres are not possible. I do know from doing searches for the five fiction film festivals we ran a few years ago, how hard it was to find the right venue at an affordable price, so sympathise and understand the problems. But Dave is right that two venues instead of just the one would be better to make it all work.

Also agree that the gala dinner could be shorter to allow more time for chat and perhaps extra films on the Saturday. There is always the problem that we miss so many films when choosing a mini cinema on the Saturday as each programme is only screened the once. And this year we had 5 cinemas to choose from. Also very limited time to discuss what we have seen.

On films;
I did enjoy your film "Illusions" Mike. Fascinating and very well made. Also "Selfie" was surely a close run thing for "Best Film" and would probably have taken it for me, though "Copy That" was very well done and the acting excellent. "Ransom Note" didn`t do it for me at all and I don`t know why it got an editing award. Loved "Popping the Question" it packed so much into 2 minutes.

It was a shame that the sci-fi film "Goldilocks" had initial projection issues. But then it was shown again in full and was brilliantly realised if a little ponderous. But as a sci-fi fan, I thought it was superbly made though I know some people couldn`t follow it.

Another film underrated was "Silent War" at 4 stars. It obviously suffered due to subject matter of domestic abuse. At least one audience member said afterwards that this was overdone and not suitable for BIAFF. Surely the whole point of the film.

Channel 7s "Water`s Edge" was badly under marked at 3 stars. Should have been at least a star higher.

"Family Reunion" was excellent, well deserving of the acting award and a simple but very effective idea. Shame we had to stand up througout to read the subtitles!

Overall a pretty good selection of films this year.

I was asked many times where our films were this year. So to those I didn`t get to speak to, we didn`t make one at all last year. Hopefully something will be made this year.

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:59 pm
by Mark Anthony Games
Thank you Ken,

I would have liked 5 stars for this, but it all depends on who judges really. The violence had to be intense to keep the realism and horror of their situation alive. 70,000 views on You Tube and over 200 emails of thanks from victims and survivors of Domestic Violence show we got it as right as budget and talent allow. I was happy with 4 stars but more unhappy that my actors did not even get nominated for acting awards. I thought Melanie (Claire) was fantastic.

Lots of films could have achieved more stars, and other lose some. It is the nature of a film festival at the end of the day. It is meeting new people that drives my desire to be involved. :-)

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:25 pm
by fraught
Thanks for the comments on 'Selfie' all. Really pleased it went down so well. I almost didn't enter it to be honest, being a horror i thought it wouldn't be well received at this festival... how wrong was I!?

I only came for the Sunday, and my favourite films were 'Arefi Der Hirte' and 'Fall'. I thought 'Fall' should have won the Daily Mail Trophy, even on a second viewing it brought tears to my eyes, and my friend who came with me was silently sobbing away! I know it won the Best 16-21 Film, but in my eyes it was probably the best film of the competition.

I didn't dislike any of the films on the Sunday though, i thought all of them were of a high standard. I did like 'Copy That' a lot, although not sure it should have swept the board as it did.

I thought John's music video was really well put together... i liked the tune too! :)

Bob's film was so beautifully shot... i thought it should have won the best photography award.

With regards to the subtitled films... whenever one of these came on, there was a small group of us getting out of our seats and standing at the back. Like we were a member of secret club! ;-)

All in all... a cracking day out, with some very very good films to watch. I look forward to re-watching some of them online. :)

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:23 pm
by TimStannard
fraught wrote: I thought 'Fall' should have won the Daily Mail Trophy, even on a second viewing it brought tears to my eyes, and my friend who came with me was silently sobbing away! I know it won the Best 16-21 Film, but in my eyes it was probably the best film of the competition.
Just goes to show how we're all different. It had no significant emotional effect on me at all. The film still worked for me - from the opening shots I wanted to know why the protagonist was clearly in a state of severe depression and I thought it told that story well. I loved the resolution too.
So, why wasn't I emotionally involved? The character is revealed already in a heightened emotional state. I don't know him. I don't know what he's done or what's happened. Why should I care? As the film progresses we discover these facts, but I already know where he ends up so i'm not going on that journey with him. Yes, I felt a bit of pleasure/relief when the partner's father's call came as by that time I'd understood "why", but it would have been so much greater and could have brought a tear to my eye if I'd been emotionally involved with the character in the first place. Of course developing empathy with a character in a short is very difficult.
Don't get me wrong, I thought it was well worthy of five stars (and wouldn't have been surprised with a diamond) and there's no need for a film to make one sob!

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:19 am
by fraught
It was the father's call that really hit the message home for me, it was at that point that i could feel the lump in my throat growing. Not many films hit me emotionally, but that one knocked me for six. :)

But you are right Tim in that films affect people in many different ways.

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:25 pm
by Bob Lorrimer
My first observation with regard to the films this year at BIAFF is that there has been an incremental improvement in the overall standard of the films which I saw on the Sunday.

AUDIO is, by and large, very much better (and so it should be) and cutting has become very much more sharp......ACID RAIN, COPY THAT, THE QUESTION (I am still not sure about the question!) SELFIE and many others were showing the way. For me concise and vibrant film making is the key to a happy viewer.

I found the digitally masterful GOLDILOCKS very flaccid......the premise was straightforward......" A Dying Astronaut seeds a toxic planet". I felt the Director had become immersed in his own imagery......and the film began to feel self indulgent and listless after 10 minutes let alone 21 minutes.

IRREVERSIBLE was equally....if not more catatonic: "A Man driving his car in the country runs over himself.... He walks around in the countryside and then hangs himself!"
The Cinemaphotography however was good...and I am led to understand that the young Guys involved had NEVER made a film before. They came from Romania to the Festival and have taken away fresh inspiration and I believe that they are already working on a new stronger storyline for presentation next year...which is good.

Now compare GOLDILOCKS with PATIENT FISHERMAN or ILLUSION or Michael Gough's TAKE cannot of course...but the three Documentaries all had something in common - their narrations drew the audience into the screen....good work.

I really liked the winning film COPY THAT which had some of Geoff Harmer's Previous winner KAREN's ROOM about it. Slick, flirtatious and very well produced.

I did not fully engage with the confused script of "PHOTO SHOOT"...I just did not get all in all some great films and many more than the few I have mentioned here

I liked SELFIE and the clever metaphorical animation ThE HOUR GLASS.

MARK ANTHONY GAMES deserves a word for his energetic Presentation of the young peoples films......(he also deserves an award for 'rear of the year' in DARK HORSE.......a diffusion
filter might be useful next year Howard!)

and of course.....The entire BIAFF IAC organisation deserves a pat on the back for a well run EVENT- Well done indeed!

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:55 pm
by John Roberts
Firstly, it was great meeting up with friends again, and making some new ones as well! The week was quite 'trying' for me, so my apologies to anyone who might've thought I was a little distracted, or didn't buy a drink for that I should've done!

I don't want to comment on any of the films specifically but to express thanks for those who commented to me personally on my music video, and also to say that I agree with Bob that the standard of presentations appears to be rising. I only attended for the Sunday and there wasn't a single film that disappointed; the films I felt that were slightly weaker overall exhibited some real talent in specific areas so there was always something to take away and learn from.

I would also like to thank everyone who took time out to make the Romanians welcome, and I believe they made a few friends as well. I suggested to them that they ought to enter their first attempt 'Irreversible' into BIAFF, after they sent it to me to have a look at via a mutual friend on Facebook. They told me they thoroughly enjoyed the day and also very quickly learned that they need to raise their game, which I surely think they will and also hope they enter their future films into BIAFF.

Indeed, of all the festivals and competitions they entered, BIAFF was the ONLY one they heard anything back from in any way, shape or form. I'm not privy to the content of their judges critique, but I'm sure that this, along with everything they watched, learned, discussed and took back with them, will only help them to make better films.

That is, after all, what we're here for :-)

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:38 am
by Dave Watterson
So that's how the Romanians found out about us! Thanks, John. We must do even more to stress the value of written critiques. I know they are of variable standard, but very, very few festivals in other countries offer anything like them. At most places you must attend the event to listen to the jury pontificate.

At the suggestion of Bob Lorrimer, I have created a Vimeo channel of BIAFF 2015 entries which are on Vimeo. Take a look at

Re: BIAFF - the Festival

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:28 pm
by Brian Saberton
Perhaps I'm completely wrong but on the day I wondered if "Irreversible" was making a statement about capital punishment?