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Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:43 am
by TimStannard
+1 for publishing nominees. Excellent idea!


Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:15 pm
by Brian Saberton
I've just watched Howard-Smith's "Goose Sauce" on the BIAFF web-site. Brilliant farce, terrific script, great acting and razor sharp editing, especially at the end! Comedy on film is difficult enough to get right, but farce is even harder as the genre is so dependant in getting the pacing right. I watched it on my own, sitting at my computer and found it to be hilarious so it must go down a storm with an audience and I'm sorry I missed it at BIAFF. Well done Howard - it's 5 stars from me!

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:25 pm
by Willy
I was at SERIAC two weeks ago. It's a pity that I didn't feel well. I had a bad cough. But I had the time to have a nice chat with some IAC-friends. There were 42 movies which is fantastic. Last weekend I was in the South East. So in Kent and East Sussex. Together with the two Werners Van den Bulck and Haegeman and an other Willy. I felt much better. Last year I promised an English friend to film a special event that he would organise. I didn't know that the event would clash with BIAFF. Normally BIAFF takes place the second weekend, but at that time I didn't know it would be Easter Weekend. So last Saturday, Sunday and Monday we had a wonderful time in the Weald and visited interesting places. "Oh to be in England when April is there!" I don't remember the name of the poet who ever wrote this. Robert Browning? But of course our thoughts were also in Market Harborough. Yes, I was almost sure that a South Korean film would win the Daily Mail Trophy. Just like some years ago. I was at BIAFF at that time. Of course I am not going to criticise it because I have not seen it (yet). I only have the impression that BIAFF wants to add an international or even an intercontinental cachet to the festival. In my opinion the very best film must win the competition. If the best film is a British film, it must win. If it is made by a regular, it must win otherwise the makers will be disappointed and discouraged which is not good for the festival.

Now I have read the discussions on this forum with interest. I wonder if there were many people on Saturday. Actually I had two films that got 4 stars. "From Bach to the Beatles" and why not saying it also "Ethiopia, "Betam Konjo". A very good result for both and of course I am very happy with it. But ... the judges were right... The movie "From Bach to the Beatles" was a bit too long and maybe not good for a general audience. The other movie about a trip around Ethiopia was also too long. Again the judges were right. They wrote: "If we had any criticism at all, we thought that the background sound actually was a bit low in places and the whole movie was perhaps a bit too long at 25 minutes". Paul Renders was the producer and had made the trip with his camera and I myself edited it together with him. I watched his 6 hours of film and told him about the possible structure. I chose the music. I was responsible for the storyboard, the music, etc... I wrote the text, found a narrator, etc... Paul himself had never made a competition film before and actually he was not interested in BIAFF. I paid his entry, filled in his entryform and sent the film to the competition secretary. I was only curious to know what the judges would think about this Ethiopia film also because Paul Renders is a new name. He is not a regular.

BIAFF two stars says: "Sound may be to uneven. Story may feel too long.". Two weeks before the BIAFF-deadline I sent the Ethopian film to BIAFF even knowing that the movie was unfinished. Together with Paul I still had to work on the soundtrack, but because of personal problems we decided to stop. So 4 stars is really fantastic but corresponds more to the BIAFF-text of 2 stars.

One of our forum-friends wondered - I think it was Ken- have the judges seen all the films to decide which is the "best British entry", the best this or that? We already had numerous discussions about the judging system. There is some change, but not enough.

Some weeks ago I was the judge at the Scottish competition. I had enough time to watch the movies three or four times and even to have them screened in my onw club and to have a chat with my friends about them. Maybe I was still wrong when ranking the films as filmmaking is not a science, but I feel it is ridiculous to show all the films on a small TV-screen in a hotel-room and take a decision immediately. That's why the BIAFF-judges must not always be blamed. On the contrary! It must also be extremely difficult for the competition secretary to find enough judges....

But then my own film "Hop around the Weald"! It got 3 stars and was not even shown at Market Harborough!!! Maybe also because someone knew that I would not attend BIAFF? At least 76 movies were better than mine. If it is like that then I must accept this, but I cannot believe this. Maybe I have a thick head when saying this. I am from Antwerp you know... I had hoped to end my career as a pure BIAFF- amateur filmmaker in beauty (=Dutch expression). About 4 or 5 ex-BIAFF-judges had seen my film in January. One friend even suggested not to go to the South East and break my promise... to attend BIAFF. They all found my film entertaining and interesting. Technically, but also the content. In Belgium the results are very good up to now. Excellent even... But at BIAFF...

I won two diamond awards in 2001 and 2002. Afterwards I made better and more powerful films. of course the standard of films is getting better and better to say it with cliché-words. And now it is really time to stop. When you suffer from backaches while filming then it is better to stop otherwise you are doing your hobby in a masochistic way. I will still take my camera if I can, but I will not take part in BIAFF anymore. That's for sure now. I have promised my clubmates to help them. To be their "coach". For Paul and other friends. I will translate their texts if they ask me. But I love the IAC. I have been a member for almost 20 years and I will renew my membership in January. I have fantastic memories and I hope I will have the time and opportunity to attend the festival in the future. Sorry for this long letter. My apologies if there are things in it that you don't appreciate.


Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:55 pm
by TimStannard
Willy, I was glad to have caught up with you for a few minutes at SERIAC Festival where we discussed "Hop Around the Weir", but my reason for responding is I was one of those who watched "From Bach to the Beatles" on the Saturday at BIAFF. As one might expect from you it was well observed. I really liked the approach of having a supposed new recruit to the choir as a means of telling us the history as well as introducing some of the key personalities.

There were some lovely shots of points of interest around the town at the beginning (indeed my wife thought this was a set up for either a history of the town or a travelogue) which I think gave us a flavour of the "personality" of the town, which must influence the "personality" of the choir. You captured the sound of the choir well, but for me, the actual singing was the least interesting part of the film possibly because some members had a tendency to sing slightly flat (please don't tell your friends in the choir!). But this was redeemed with an appropriate and happy ending centering on the "new recruit" and the film was very well received in the auditorium. Much more interesting that I thought a film about a community choir could be. Well done for well deserved four stars.

It was shown in the Fairfax Suite immediately after your friend Werner Haegeman's "The Meter Reader". That was an intriguing film which I also enjoyed, but I wonder how many of the audience, like me, were still trying to figure out everything in that film whiclst watching the first few minutes of "Form Bach to the Beatles". Position in the programme affects how we view films!

On one of your other points, having spoken to two of the final round judges, I really do not think the fact that "I am" was an international entry entered into their consideration at all. Whilst I may not agree with their choice for the Daily Mail Trophy, I am confident that they made their decision purely on what they agreed was the best in festival. (For what it's worth I also disagreed with "No Hidden Extras" - well acted, well filmed, an intriguing story, looked like it was going somewhere ... then didn't!)


Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:00 pm
by Willy
Many thanks for your reply, Tim. I am very grateful to you. I was really surprised that "from Bach to the Beatles" received 4 stars and my "Hop Around the Weald" only 3 stars. I am almost sure that the audience would have preferred my film about the Weald, also called the Garden of England. You received a copy of that film. Maybe "From Bach to the Beatles" was just acceptable for the Saturday shows.

Yes, you are right. The singing of the choir was not always perfect. That's what the Belgian judges in our competition also said. In Belgium the movie received bronze plus which is a equivalent of 3 stars. I accepted it. Me too, I found that the songs were a bit too long and sung in a flat way. "So this is Christmas", the John Lennon song for instance. Originally the songs were even longer, but I shortened the film from 35 minutes to 14 minutes for BIAFF. I entered this film just to support BIAFF, but I was not ambitious at all. Actually I made this film only to please Richard, the president of the choir, the man with the white hair, and his members. He was my friend when we were teenagers and in our early twenties. The choir is not professional. The members are all hobbyists just like we are. They only wear a "professional" bow tie and look professional. I must say that I appreciated the judges' crits for this film. Richard sent a message to his choir to tell them that the film received 4 stars at the British International film festival. He was proud. His friends were happy. I was happy. Everybody was happy.

BIAFF says: Film is a work of art not science!
But what do they mean by that? To create a simple, but powerful or entertaining story is a work of art in my opinion. Simpleness or plainness are more often more beautiful and entertaining than an artistic complexity. I always enjoy Ken Wilson's stories. Not only Ken, but also his actors and actresses deserve all appreciation. A good result at BIAFF is a form of appreciation.

I also remember your film at Sittingbourne, Tim. The very entertaining film with the children. That was pure fun. Everybody enjoyed it. By everybody I mean the few people in the cinema room on Saturday. Unfortunately your film was not screened on Sunday. On Sunday they would have preferred your film to one particular obscure movie that was made by one of the young members of my own club at that time.

I agree with the things said by Ken and other ones: the audience want to see entertaining films, not art films that are difficult to understand. To be honest my friend Werner Haegeman's films are a bit like that. With the metre film he won the national Belgian competition, but it is sometimes difficult to understand his movies and I can imagine that it is even more difficult for a foreign (read here: English speaking) audience. Werner knows this. The English are not used to read subtitles. You are all very lucky ones!


Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:22 pm
by TimStannard
Willy wrote: BIAFF says: Film is a work of art not science!
But what do they mean by that?
This *may* refer to how it is that no two panels of judges agree. Science, in this context, may be regarded as absolute: the merits of something may be quantified such that it is a matter of fact than one is better than another. Art, on the other hand, is subjective. I might prefer film x to film y, and I can even sometimes explain why, but that doesn't mean another viewer may come to different, but equally valid, conclusion.


Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:39 pm
by Michael Slowe
Willy, I haven't seen you for some years and was very sorry that you were not at BIAFF. It was one of the best for some time, the screenings were well handled and apart from Lorrimer's justifiable criticism of the blackout, there were no hitches. The hotel and food were particularly good.

You mentioned, Willy, that you were surprised at your awards, expecting your Four and Three stars the other way round, my experience exactly! Have a look at my web site which is and tell me which of 'Flask Walk' and 'Moon at Night' you think the better film.

Hope your cough is better!


Posted: Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:05 pm
by Willy
It's after midnight here on the continent, Michael. I will watch the films tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Time is also a bit difficult for me now because my mother-in-law (Vera's Mum) passed away the day before yesterday, but I will certainly do this. You say that you haven't seen me for some time, but I attended BIAFF at Sittingbourne two years ago. I think you were not there. Didn't you celebrate an anniversary? So we missed each other.


Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:31 am
by Michael Slowe
My condolences Willy, I'm afraid that at our age we seem to be attending funerals rather more frequently than we like.

No hurry to view anything, but have a look at how my media designer Grandson has set out my site, rather too flattering to the films I fancy!


Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:55 am
by Bob Lorrimer
Howard has mentally prepared himself for a clutch of '3 star' films next year.......he will thus avoid the bitter disappointment of missing out on either the '4' or '5 star' categories.

The problem with an expectation of '3 star' films is that they are closer to '2 stars' than they are to '5 stars'!


The reason I think for all this 'disappointment' (and I am not immune) is one of 'choice'. On the TV or at the Cinema we 'choose' which film or 'film genre' we would like to view. However an Amateur film maker does not have that luxury.....I watch your films, in the expectation, that you will watch mine. That's the deal......You like trains - I like comedy......but we will watch each other's films because we must.....otherwise there would be NO audience for my daft comedy or films about Canal barges.

Amateur films have to have a special 'fresh' and 'original' quality (particularly with familiar subject matter) to hold the attention of an audience.

I have been congratulated on my films many, many times....and not always because they are good, but because they are short!


Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:43 pm
by TimStannard
Bob Lorrimer wrote:I watch your films, in the expectation, that you will watch mine. That's the deal...
So obvious, but so easily missed. Simply put. Well put.


Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 5:34 pm
by Howard-Smith
To Willy Van der Linden
Thank you so much for posting your film "Hop Around The Weald" to me. I've just watched it and I liked it a lot. It's beautifully photographed and edited and is interesting throughout. It has a good mixture of colourful events, interviews, history, animation and archive footage. A lot of work went into this production. Well done, and I'm sorry you had the disappointment of only three stars. You must have been "hopping mad" at not getting a higher rating.


Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 10:32 pm
by ned c
Back home in the mountains. BIAFF; what a very enjoyable experience, congratulations to the CEMRIAC team on running everything so smoothly, the hotel on the food and service, to the super selection of films that I watched. But I think it is time to move away from flat floor projection rooms; the small "cinemas" were, crowded, hot and difficult to view in if you arrived late. Nice to meet old friends and some new ones. My favorite film was "The Shed", outstanding acting and a sad but honest commentary on ageing and relationships. Thanks to all concerned for such a great experience. We expect a resurgence of SW Utah entries for next year as a number of productions ran over the last few months.

ned c


Posted: Wed May 03, 2017 3:43 pm
by Willy
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to watch your two films, Michael. "Flash Walk" and "Moon at Night". A movie about a narrow street in Hampstead (London) with its shops. The other film is about an old theatre pub, also in Hampstead, the place where you live I remember, Michael. We meet the antique dealer and the couple Scott-Matthews who runs an "open mic" evening every Sunday.

I was a bit more fascinated by "Moon at Night", Michael. Maybe thanks to eccentric people in the theatre, the musicians, the actors, the poet. I loved Annette Jones most. An ordinary lady singing a song. Her singing was awful. It was clear that she had not been to the hairdresser. She was wearing just a pullover. But she was very proud when she was on the stage. The man, however, with the harmonica showed his virtuosity. The Parameter Theatre Pub is a house with a distinctive character. Maybe it is more enjoying to attend a performance in this cosy intimare theatre pub than a grand music festival in the huge Royal Albert Hall. I think that's what you wanted to express, Michael.

I guess that the judges didn't appreciate the length of your films. Just like mine they are longer than 20 minutes. Maybe "Moon at Night" was number 8 or 9 in a serious of 15 films that they had to watch in a hotel room. How many times have we already criticised the judging system at BIAFF? Here in my own room I could enjoy your two reportages for 100 %.

In your films the dialogues and monologues are always very spontanuous. Nothing has been learned by heart. I have tried to achieve this in the last films that I have made. Another good thing are your subjects. You don't go to the other end of the world to find interesting themes or subjects.

As I told you I will never make a film for BIAFF again. But I thought of making a similar film like yours. Just opposite the road there is a baker's shop. Bert makes his loafs of bread, his tarts and chocolates himself. He is a real artist. He makes impressive cultures in chocolote. Next door is a butcher's shop. Louis prepares his own sausages and hamburgers. He is also a good story teller. A bit further on is a late night shop run by a Syrian. It would be interesting to visit these shops with my camera and to have a chat with Bert, Louis and the Syrian. It would be a film for our local film gala in spring next year.


Posted: Wed May 03, 2017 7:14 pm
by Dave Watterson
It is often said that BIAFF judges and audiences do not like long films ... but Vermijo was a Diamond winner and thought by many people to be the best of the event and it is an hour long. The much-admired Exploding Heart also got a Diamond and is 32 minutes long.

The crucial difference is that good drama, well acted, can hold attention more easily than a good documentary.

Some of us do enjoy slow-developing and thoughtful documentary. Some years ago Michael Slowe strongly urged me to watch Into Great Silence an extraordinary film almost three hours long about life in the "Grande Chartreuse" the Carthusian monastery in the French Alps. It was an evening well spent. If you are curious you can see it at

I think we have to look deeper into the reasons why some films go down well and others do not.