THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
Howard-Smith
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THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:17 am

Has anyone had any experience of THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL? This year it’s being held from 20th to 25th November at the Millennium Point cinema in the city centre. Having had my films rejected for so many festivals via Film Freeway, I’m rather pleased that one of my 4 star award winners at BIAFF 2018, HOLLIE, has been officially selected for showing, and it’s been nominated in two categories, BEST SHORT FILM and BEST LOCAL FILM. The Gala Awards ceremony on the evening of Saturday 24th November is a bit pricey at £60 (though this does include a meal) but I shall definitely be there. I wonder if anyone other IAC members submitted a film to this festival and will be attending the awards ceremony?

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TimStannard
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by TimStannard » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:51 pm

That's fantastic Howard. Many congratulations. Personally I've avoided any festivals (outside of stricly amateur festivals) that aren't free to enter as I always assume my own material wouldn't be suitable anyway and I have no interest in "competing" with tomorrows star film makers ("I know my place" as Ronnie Corbett famously once said). What's more I have a cynical view that most of these festivals, even if they start out beneficially, soon become merely money making machines.

So, getting a film screened in that environment is no mean feat. Well done!

You'll recall that "Hollie" was my favourite of your films at last year's BIAFF (and I commented as such at the CEMRIAC Spring Festival) so I have every expectation that it will be duly rewarded at the Birmingham Festival.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:49 pm

Thanks Tim. Yes, a lot of the film festivals charge an entry fee and then reject one’s entry without any refund or feedback. But I’m prepared to ‘gamble’ a few entry fees for the occasional acceptance.

Michael Slowe
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Michael Slowe » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:41 pm

I too often submit films to festivals using FilmFreeway and Withoutabox. Like Howard I receive mostly rejections but get the occasional acceptance and it's always nice to see one's film projected in a cinema. However, I do agree with Tim in that most of these 'festivals' are money making enterprises and over time one can spend quite a bit unless care is taken in selecting from an enormous number of festivals. They get literally thousands of entries so it's all a bit of a lottery and not really worthwhile.

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Willy
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Willy » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:29 pm

Congratulations, Michael! Good to hear that you are still making movies and that they are successful.
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Willy
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Willy » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:06 pm

And of course, congratulations Howard-Smith!!!!!! I am glad you have won awards at the Birmingham Film Festival. You are one of the most respected filmmakers and judges of the IAC!
Willy Van der Linden

Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:41 pm

Many thanks Willy! You are so kind.
Of course I haven't yet actually WON any awards at the Birmingham Film Festival but it's great to have two nominations and to have my film officially selected. I shall find out how I've fared during the Awards ceremony which is Saturday evening 24th November.

Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:02 pm

I saw my film Hollie projected today during the midday session in a MASSIVE screen at the Millennium Point cinema in Birmingham. Only 17 in the audience and the sound was too loud for all the films but nevertheless it was an honour for the film to be shown at all. The 2 pm session was two tedious 50 minute films. At the start there were just 3 of us in the audience. When the first film ended I realised I was the only one left. Then I walked out after 10 minutes of the second film leaving the rest of the film playing to an empty auditorium! At least this never happens at BIAFF. I’ll know on Saturday evening whether my film has won an award.

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TimStannard
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by TimStannard » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:14 pm

Howard - I thought you had more stamina than that!

Perhaps the Birmingham Film Festival over-estimated the interest in non-mainstream films. Basically we all want to see our own films and those of other we know but we are perhaps less interested in those films with which we have little or no connection with the subject or the makers. BIAFF scores well here as most people know one or more people involved in one or more films in each session. Also, it's entirely amateur, so people aren't there soley to promote their own brilliance in order to secure funding for future projects or to be discovered by the industry.

It would be fantastic if Hollie received some recognition beyond being selected, and I hope it does, but, in all honesty, it won't make much difference to you, Howard - whereas there are others who are pinning career hopes on this and similar festivals.

As I've said several times now, one of the privileges of being an amateur film makers is we can make the film we want to make. Film making without compromise.

If it makes you feel any better, you said 17 watched Hollie. If I was to show it this week at Staines Video Makers, you'd get an audience half that size!

(But I do think you should have watched the remaining 40 mins - someone has put weeks or months of blood, sweat and tears into whateverwas being shown - furthermore someone had to sit through it all in order to decide to screen it!)
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:16 am

Thanks Tim for your comments.
But let me explain about my walk-out after 10 minutes of a film entitled THE JOURNEY HOME. During that particular 2.00 pm session I'd just sat through an unpleasant 50 minute film called GUILTY PLEASURES, loosely based on the Rotherham abuse news stories. As mentioned, the only two other audience members walked out sometime during this film. Then THE JOURNEY HOME, another 50 minute film followed it, and as I was the only person in the cinema with no-one connected with the film present, it made no difference to anyone whether I was there or not. It was about an Asian man with vascular dementia. As I have an older brother in a care home with severe vascular dementia it was, for me, depressing viewing; I just wasn't in the mood for it and I'd had enough after 10 minutes. I had a welcome break before returning for the 4.00 pm show which was much better including an excellent 7-minute film called WITHIN directed by Christopher Key. During the 12.00 pm show my favourite film was 32 minutes in length and was called SPITE directed by Tenisha White. I'll be interested to see if any of the films on show make it to BIAFF.

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TimStannard
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by TimStannard » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:37 pm

Fair enough, and wholly understandable and I hope you'll accept my response was equally understandable as your earlier post implied you'd left the film as it was tedious
Tim
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Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Thu Nov 22, 2018 1:29 am

I did find the first 10 minutes tedious, in addition to my problem with the subject matter.
Anyway I’m looking forward the Gala Awards on Saturday. It’s good to have those nominations but I suspect that A LOT of films have had similar nominations in order to encourage as many as possible to attend the Awards (at £60 per individual or two for £100).
On Sunday I’ll post on here a final message regarding the Awards.

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TimStannard
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by TimStannard » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:24 pm

I'll cross my fingers for you :)
Do they show any of the award winning films on Saturday - it'll be interesting to read your views on them.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Howard-Smith
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by Howard-Smith » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:47 am

Here's my report about the BFF (The Birmingham Film Festival) Gala Awards evening on Saturday evening at The Canalside, The Cube, Birmingham.
It was an enjoyable event which was streamed live on the BFF Facebook page. I'd estimate there were about 150 people present. We sat at round tables seating 10 people per table. There was a free glass of Prosecco on arrival.
No films were shown during the evening. All the films had been screened during the week at the giant Millennium Point cinema (which used to be an IMAX!) Amazingly, around 850 films were submitted to the festival, of which 200 were selected for showing. I say amazingly, because the average submission to BIAFF is around 250 films.
There were numerous awards on offer - and the trophy was a 5-pointed star on a plinth. On each plinth was a metal plate engraved with the award, the film title and the winner's name. How I would have liked to have won one of them!
OK, let's list all the award categories:
BEST FILM OVERALL
BEST FEATURE FILM
BEST SHORT FILM
BEST MICRO SHORT (UNDER 5 MINUTES)
BEST DOCUMENTARY
BEST SCREENPLAY
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
BEST ANIMATED FILM
BEST MALE ACTOR
BEST FEMALE ACTOR (what's wrong with the word 'actress'?)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
BEST COSTUME
BEST EDITING
BEST STUNT
BEST HAIR & MAKEUP
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST TRAILER
BEST YOUNG FILMMAKER (UNDER 18)
BEST YOUNG MALE ACTOR
BEST YOUNG FEMALE ACTOR
BEST LOCAL FILM
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
Phew! A comprehensive list.
As you'll realise by what I said above, my film Hollie won nothing but it was a tremendous honour to have been nominated for Best Short Film (which went to BLACKOUT, made by someone sitting at my table), and Best Local Film (given to SUICIDE BLONDE). Unfortunately I didn't get to see either of these films. One drawback of the festival was that it was mainly on weekdays, and I had to take the day off work to attend when my film was shown. I couldn't justify taking further days off to attend and had other things on during the evenings.
Best Feature Film went to NEW YOU. Best Overall Film was EPIPHANY.
I spoke to several people during the evening and not one had heard of BIAFF so I tried to spread the word and encourage people to enter.
Unlike at BIAFF I was one of the oldest people present! The vast majority of people seemed to be well under 50.
So, good meal, good company, an exciting evening. It was the third year for BFF and the first time I'd entered. I'll definitely throw in a handful of films for submission for next year. I recommend other IAC members do the same!

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TimStannard
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Re: THE BIRMINGHAM FILM FESTIVAL

Post by TimStannard » Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:10 pm

Thanks for the comprehensive report, Howard, and sorry you went away empty handed.
It is encouraging to think there were so many entries, but would I be correct in assuming most of these are from people hoping to make a career in film? The lack of attendees at the screenings is, I suspect, not only down to some people having day jobs to go to, but also a lack of interest in other pepole's films - something which is not present at BIAFF.
If this is mainly for wannabe professionals, I can't see them being particularly interested in (or their films being eligible for BIAFF).
Apart from the exprience, what did you get for your entry fee (£30, I think you said) - any appraisal?

(In case you get the wrong impression, I'm not anti the event, I'm just trying to work out what would be in it for an amateur like me)
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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