BIAFF at Harrogate

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Ken Wilson
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BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Ken Wilson » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:05 pm

Well I am shocked and amazed! (Shocked and amazed of Wakefield writes:) Nothing seems to have been mentiond about BIAFF in Harrogate which concluded 9 days ago. Surely there was plenty to comment on and in past years the forum has been awash with opinions, likes and dislikes, reviews and overviews. So what`s happening here? Is everyone in hibernation? Bored? Disillusioned? I was waiting for some interesting feedback on the weekend but it seems no-one is going to kick start this off, so I will.
We had only just returned from a 10 day holiday prior to BIAFF and as it`s only a 50 minute drive from home, we travelled on both main days to see the shows.
So this year it all seemed very well attended, at least in the Saturday shows we were in. There were lots of very good and very interesting movies on screen. John Astin`s film "Hamburg`s Wonderland" about model railways was up to his usual standard. We also liked Linda and Michael Gough`s doco "Hooks and Eyes." Other Saturday highlights were "Sebastian and Me" by Channel 7 Productions (who always seem to be undermarked.) This one received 4 stars and I think I would have given it one more up to 5. Also "Picknicking in Jan`s Garden" by Jill Lampert (who we sat with in 2015 at the gala dinner) was another very well made film. Many others were entertaining without being especially memorable, though there are of course three more shows going on at the same time and you really don`t know what you`re missing. We also should mention the show/s run by Mark Anthony Games as the idea of giving a little bit of background to each film-maker before their film was a great idea and a boost to those mentioned no doubt.

Sunday can be bogged down with a lot of very heavy drama, but this year it seemed so much lighter. There were some serious subjects tackled on screen over the weekend and Alzheimers and Motor Neurone Disease were those featured more than once, but there are no reasons why not. But overall there was a good mix of movie subjects which gave a better feel to this years Sunday shows.

Particular highlights from Sunday were the films, "Until the Day Breaks" a well made documentary by Anna and Paul Kittel: "Wormholes" by James Eaves and "Seeking Sydney" by Tim Jones. This last one would have been given my best film award, though it did get the best British award. For me, I totally didn`t get "A Bargain" by Werner Van Bulck which had a nonsensical premise as I was waiting for a believable "punchline" which never came. For me the best comedy should have gone to "Starter, Maincourse & Not so Sweet" by Bob Rowley and Martin Sunderland. Though it was perhaps a touch long and maybe did borrow from the restaurant scene in "Mrs Doubtfire" it was well executed and very well acted and did make me laugh out loud. A great film which the makers told me had been received a lot better than thay had ever hoped.

Well done to Michael Gough for his presentation at the Sunday shows and also to Billy Ellwood for his brilliant efforts doing the projection.

There were lots of other good films and many interesting conversations at the breaks. The hotel for once did a sterling job of getting the drinks out very quickly at the breaks allowing us more time to mingle and chat.

So all in all, I think it is congratulations all round to the team for a well organised and successful weekend. So what do the rest of you think?

Brian Saberton
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Brian Saberton » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:56 pm

Perhaps we were all waiting to see who would go first Ken! Funnily enough I was also beginning to wonder if anyone was going to comment on what I thought was an excellent weekend with some superb films and a most enjoyable Sunday screening. I saw many of the same films as Ken on the Saturday and in addition to those he mentions I also enjoyed "School of the Living Dead" in the young faces programme and was impressed with Rebecca Stanniforth's "Turning Tables" which was also shown on the Sunday. "Evulero" was a fine example of animation and I also enjoyed Huddersfield's "A Day to remember".

On Sunday I thought that Howard-Smith's "Where the Guilt Lies" was an excellent thriller and "Until the Day Breaks" by Anna and Paul Kittel a fascinating and well-crafted documentary. Tim Stannard's "Greece is the Word" thoroughly deserved it's 5 stars but I thought that John Roberts' imaginative music film "The Girl on the Train" merited more than a 4.

As for the overall winners I had "Seeking Sydney" down as the best British film and, though I was less sure about what I would like to see winning the Daily Mail, I thought that "De Loods" was worthy of the award. I was glad to see some really good comedies in the programme and, unlike Ken, I very much liked "A Bargain" which appealed to me for it's daft, off beat humour. Glancing back through the programme we had a tremendous variety of subject matter on the Sunday and I think that once again David Newman did an excellent job in programming each session. The presentation by Michael Gough, projection by Billy Ellwood and lighting by John Roberts was excellent and added a bit of showmanship to the event.

Well done to all concerned for a terrific weekend. Oh, and by the way the AV show on Friday night was also excellent with some first class sequences on a whole range of subjects.
Brian Saberton

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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Dave Watterson » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:18 pm

I totally agree that 2016 was a good BIAFF. My impression was that overall the standard of films I saw on Saturday was slightly higher than in previous years ... and much better than when I first started attending LIAFF umpty years ago. On Sunday I think Ken is right that the overall feel was of lighter works ... all very good indeed but nothing which completely blew my socks off.

I was sorry that some films were shown slightly cropped - especially noticeable with subtitles or credits near the edges of the picture area. I had seen some of them at the judging session and other festivals and know they do not always play like that.

My other moan - as always - is that some films were not graded as I would have done! It is specially difficult with "experimental" films that do not fit into the usual patterns.

That said, I am grateful to the people who lend their kit and/or volunteer to do the work at BIAFF. It involves bringing in kit, working at odd hours when others are sleeping or eating. Feeling tense through the shows. Keeping cool under pressure ... and then striking the equipment and carting everything away again at the end. Those were the people we rarely saw in the bar because they were working.

Jan and I did enjoy chatting to lots of people in the meal and bar breaks. Three cheers for the folks who came from southern France, Belgium and the Netherlands to be with us. Kees Tervort's toast to the IAC at the Gala Dinner was a delight ... and in his second language too.

Thanks for mentioning the AV show, Brian. It was excellent and very well attended. Several of the sequences were virtually films.

It was also good to note some of the presenters making an effort to add a personal touch to their shows. Mark Anthony Games, Michael Gough and one Jan Watterson come to mind, as well as our AV hosts.

Ken Wilson
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Ken Wilson » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:54 am

We gave a film show to Mercury Movies in Leeds last night and Bob Rowley was there, the maker of the comedy film I mentioned; "Starter, Maincourse and Not so Sweet." He told me he was not inspired by the film "Mrs Doubtfire" as he hadn`t seen it when he wrote the script. Apparently he has written a "making of" article about it. Yes Brian, I too also liked Howard Smith`s film, "Where the Guilt Lies." Howard makes good dramas. But perhaps he might say on here why the detective wore a hat and long raincoat straight out of "The Maltese Falcon?" This was one very strange element at odds with a very entertaining film.

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Willy
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Willy » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:06 pm

Nothing was mentioned about BIAFF the first 9 days, but that means that everything was fantastic, Ken. People tend to criticize only when things are/were not good. In my club the members never say: "That was excellent, because ..." They always concentrate on finding possible mistakes when watching a film and they are happy when they can find one. That's annoying sometimes.

But now something different.
Dave said: "I was sorry that some films were shown slightly cropped - especially noticeable with subtitles or credits near the edge of the pictures. What do you mean by this, Dave? At this moment I am subtitling a film for BIAFF 2017. Subtitling is sometimes extremely difficult. Needless to tell you because you are an expert in subtitling films, Dave. If the subtitled sentence is still in a part of the next picture - let's say for 15 images - then it "jumps" a little bit. I always try to avoid that, but sometimes it is not possible to avoid this. An other problem: saying an English sentence lasts for 2 seconds, but saying the translated sentence lasts for 3 or 4 seconds. The British are lucky. The other ones are not.

English is difficult sometimes, but I love it.

A Dutch spoken film with a clear and simple story also has more chance to be successful. One of my friends is one of the best filmmakers in Belgium at the moment. His style is always magic realism. That's a disadvantage. It's difficult to create the right atmosphere in the translations. I hope that you understand what I mean.

I am making an English film at the moment. I mean with English actors. That's easier. I will have to subtitle it only into Dutch, but quite a lot of Belgians will say: there he is again with a film in English! But I don't mind you know.

And one more thing. My friend Werner was in Harrogate. He was very enthusiastic. Not only because his films got diamonds, but also because he could have chats with many IAC-friends. He enjoyed it very much.
Willy Van der Linden

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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:59 pm

Ken, the answer to the detective with his hat and coat is at http://www.theiac.org.uk/film/makingof/ ... -lies.html

Willy, by "cropped" I meant that a small margin at the edges of the picture was lost.

A German wildlife film suffered because its subtitles were almost at the bottom of the frame. I always try to keep my subtitles off the bottom and on the line marked as "safe area" on my editor. Graham Ralls film about wildlife also suffered because he puts captions at the very top left of the image.

Most older television sets "cropped" the picture that way, but it should not be necessary for digital projection.

John Roberts
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by John Roberts » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:37 pm

Amongst the few BIAFFs I have attended I would rate Harrogate 2016 as the best all-round event so far, and by a long way. Films aside, the hotel staff were courteous and helpful, the breakfasts and meals excellent and the coffee/tea intervals were executed with precision. The rooms used for the mini cinema’s were more than adequate and of course the elegant, vintage ballroom used for the main Sunday show was a rare treat and about as good as it gets in a ‘general purpose’ hotel.

For my first BIAFF helping out behind the scenes in a small capacity, I would liken the NERIAC team to a graceful swan – on the surface gliding calmly and serenely with a single minded purpose (to fulfil to the best of its ability top class entertainment for the festival attendees) – yet underneath paddling furiously in pursuit of that purpose. That’s the part of the weekend and the long run up to it that is rarely seen, although in the main it is appreciated by many.

Regarding the cropping of the projected image, this is something that didn’t appear to be an issue in the ballroom on the Friday for the AV show, which used a laptop with HDMI output straight into the projector. I was not ‘in charge’ of projecting but was sat adjacent to the set up with Billy. As I recall, the first time we noticed an issue was with the German wildlife film (Geheimnisvolle Pegnitzauen) which was tried on two different formats but yielded the same cropped result. In fact I pointed out to Billy that the subtitles were also heavily cropped on the small HDMI monitor that he used for cueing up the films (Billy will correct me if I am wrong on this). We therefore, possibly incorrectly, assumed that the subtitles had been placed very close to the edge of the frame, but under the circumstances there was little we could do.

I noticed that my own film The Girl On The Train also looked more like 16:9 format whereas it was filmed in 2.40:1, indicating to me that some cropping was occurring, but due to the nature of the film it was very hard for me to tell by exactly how much. As the second to last film of the entire weekend, it was pointless trying to do anything about it at the time. At no time during the entire weekend did anyone mention to me (or Billy, as far as I am aware) that there was an issue with cropping. We might have been able to look into it if we were made aware, and we would’ve sacrificed our tea/coffee or lunch break to correct it. But, it’s a learning process and subsequent BIAFFs should not suffer from the same cropping issue.

Cropping aside, I thought the entire weekend was fabulous in all respects!

John :D

Ken Wilson
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Ken Wilson » Sun May 01, 2016 9:10 am

Thanks Dave for the link to the "Making of..." for "Where the Guilt Lies." I see now it was the actor`s own decision to wear the hat and trenchcoat. In fact, what the actors wear is always a point discussed amongst us in a Phase 4 Film as it all has an impact on the believabilty of the whole film. We are planning our new one right now and have a meeting tomorrow. We spend a lot of time yesterday afternoon searching dress shops to find the right clothes for our actress to wear. We all come to a mutual decision on how the character should appear on screen. But of course as no-one gets paid, we rely heavily on goodwill and agreement.
Yes Willy I agree. People are much more likely to complain when there is sonething they don`t like than to praise something good. Seems like it`s the state of human nature. So perhaps the low number of comments on BIAFF this year means that most people were very happy with it all as in fact we were.

Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Howard-Smith » Sun May 01, 2016 12:12 pm

Thanks for your kind comments about my film WHERE THE GUILT LIES, folks. I was delighted to see it projected so well from my BluRay disc unlike when FACE/BOOK was shown on the Sunday two years ago from a DVD copy as a technical problem prevented my BluRay disc being used.
With hindsight maybe I should have asked Danny Darcy to wear something more fitting for a modern police officer but I know he was chuffed to get back into his Humphrey Bogart mode many years after he got a lot of employment as a H.B. lookalike.
I agree that this was one of the best ever BIAFFs in every respect. And the coffee breaks were so well organised, unlike at hotels in previous years when we've had to queue for the coffee for ages.
I loved the Diamond Award winning TURNING TABLES which incredibly was Rebecca Staniforth's first film, and I was impressed with most of the other major award-winners, agreeing with the choices of best British Film and the Daily Mail Trophy winner.
I must confess that I struggled somewhat to appreciate a couple of the films. Whilst I absolutely loved the opening credits of the Diamond winner WORMHOLES (shades of Saul Bass's credit titles work in the 1950s and 1960s), I found the story confusing and the acting too over-the-top. The 5-star film LET GO also left me somewhat bemused and it wasn't for me.
Well, BIAFF 2016 has come and gone but the memories of the films, the company, the food, everything in fact, will linger for a long time. Roll on BIAFF 2017.

Bob Lorrimer
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Re: BIAFF at Harrogate

Post by Bob Lorrimer » Mon May 09, 2016 4:07 pm

The Cropping factor which was noticeable on a few of the films was, in fact, present on all of the films which were channelled through the Huddersfield Black Optoma projector on the Sunday.

The Optoma, like many other projectors, allows for a small amount of cropping to remove the dotted line which sometimes appears at the top of the frame on differing formats.

I think it is adjustable incrementally and 'one percent is enough'...but at some point it has been over zealously cropped to what looks like 4%. The aberration is not apparent until either a film of one's own is presented or one with Titles which are very close to the 'safe line'. (I mean to ask Trevor our Club Guru...to reset the crop as it should no longer be necessary.)

I thought the Audio and the lighting was excellent.....the Optoma projector could have done with more Lumens which would have given the HD much more vitality.......

All in all a very well presented show and a good effort by the Hotel too.

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