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SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 10:29 am
by TimStannard
I enjoyed another SERIAC Festival yesterday afternoon at the Oast Theatre in Tonbridge, Kent. Like This year's BIAFF this is a proper theatre with raked seating (SERIAC has been ahead of BIAFF in this respect of for many years!). Keith Sayers and his team are to be congratulated on excellent projection and sound. The program of 42 (I think) films, spread across three sessions between 2pm and 8.45pm ran absolutely flawlessly.

For those unfamilar with how SERIAC presents films, all entries (there were 57 - up 15 from last year) are listed in the programme, seemingly in no particular order other than grouped by maker. No-one knows which films will be shown (or, consequently the order). We could argue for hours whether knowledge one's flm will be shown is more likely to encourage attendance or not, but that's the way SERIAC does it!

The films are then presented as one stream in each session. Before each film we had a title card with the film number (per programme), name, maker and a still. After each film the house lights go up for a few seconds, the same title card is shown again before being switched to the title card for the next film. I thoroughly approve. No excuses here for missing which film is which.

As each award was presented, a similar title card was displayed with name of award, name of film, maker and, significantly a 10-15 second clip of the film! I think this is a fantastic idea as occasionally a still is not enough to remind one of the film in question. This clearly takes a lot of co-ordination between judges, organisers and whoever is putting the presentation together. I thought this hard work really paid off.

Apparently because most postential judges were judging BIAFF, Brian Dunckley acted as sole judge for all 57 films. That's 57 films from which to decide some 16 awards and award additional commendations as he deemed necessary (and he awarded many) and on which to write comments. On top of that, Brian attended the event and said he'd be happy to discuss the films with any of the makers afterwards. There are few more experienced in judging (and running) competitions than Brian, but if his enthuisam, willingness to help and, indeed hard work, didn't leave an impression on anyone there - well they don't deserve to be part of our community. Thank you Brian.

As with all festivals, it seems there's a diminishing hard core of attendees and a chunk of people who will only attend if they have something in the festival. A surprising number of entrants did not attend. Brian alluded to this before the presentations - if we don't go, there will be no festivals. He made an appeal to all thse there to try to persuade others to attend rather than leave it to "them" to do something about it. Well said Brian!

(As I write this I'm feeling rather guilty that I'm doing so and looking forward to some family time in the sunshine rather than attending the NTRIAC knockout competition, but hey, we can't support everything)
[Edited a bit for typos]

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 4:52 pm
by TimStannard
I should also add that the event was subsdised by the IAC and the ticket cost me a mere five pounds - which included 2 x tea/coffe and biscuit intervals plus a decent plated ploughmans and cakes made by Joy Prosser.

Whilst I don't need to explain what £5 buys to anyone reading this I just thought I'd compare that to a walk I took with Martine & Elise across some open Surrey heathland this afternoon which cost me £3.60 parking and £3.00 for a coffee.

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 4:42 pm
by Willy
Me too, I enjoyed SERIAC very much. During the ploughman's lunch interval someone asked me: "Which movie did you like most?" I said without any hesitation: "Out of the Blue". And it won! But, I was very lucky, because after the interval I watched many other interesting stories. Judge Brian Dunckley, who had done a wonderful job, told the audience that it had been difficult to take a decision because there were 6 or 7 potential winners. Indeed, judging is something very subjective. One thing is for sure: all films were made by amateurs "pur sang". That is very positive!!!!! in my opinion. Nowadays organisers of amateur film competitions tend to be very happy with a more professional impact. Good to make their festival more prestigious they think.

At SERIAC I missed one fantastic lady. She had always been one of the most prominent organisers together with Rita, Rod, Liz and other ones: FREDDY BEARD. Unfortunately she passed away last year. I knew this, but we could see her again talking to the audience in a very short moving film.

I also enjoyed SERIAC for other reasons. Vera and I had enough time to have a nice chat with friends. With Joy and Ron for instance who helped me to make "Hop Around the Weald" and "Marc Remembers Sarah". Also with Mary and Pete Rouillard from Guernsey. I worked together with them to make "Guernsey, I Love You". With our forum friend Tim Stannard. It was nice to talk to him about BIAFF and about making movies in general.

When going back home we had a pit stop in Tenterden, the Jewel of the Weald. We often hire "Quince Cottage" in the High Street.

It was still bluebell time and I enjoyed the flowers in the shadow of the trees along the country roads. The Garden of England is beautiful! But so are the Netherlands you know. I look forward to seeing some IAC-friends in Zeist near Utrecht as well. It is only 85 miles from us. And knowing that the Dutch are excellent organisers! I have booked a room for three nights at a B&B. August will be special. First a trip to Scotland. To enjoy the High Roads along the lochs and the Low Roads. Hopefully I won't have crippling back pain this time and I will be able to film the Highland Games at Strathpeffer. Interviews with a piper, an athlete and a dancer included! I still have a Scottish dream! And then UNICA at Zeist! From high to low. From Scottish whisky to Dutch beer with a very little alcohol in it.

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:08 pm
by Dave Watterson
It will be lovely to meet up with you and Vera again in Zeist. It has been far too long since we last saw you.

The SERIAC has always had a good reputation and sometime we must try to get to the Oast House ourselves.

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Thu May 16, 2019 10:33 pm
by Howard-Smith
I can’t get my head round why so many filmmakers don’t attend film festivals even when their films are being shown. I feel frustrated at BIAFF when the filmmakers aren’t there to collect their awards. I personally love to attend screenings of my own films with an audience and get feedback of what people think of the films.
The SERIAC Festival sounds like an excellent event. I assume only filmmakers in the SERIAC region can enter. Am I correct?

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 7:43 am
by Jon Pegg
I was amazed at BIAFF how many people were watching films that were not theirs.It was really cool a lot of festivals theres three people watching a short it finishes then 5 or 6 more come in for next one and so on.

Re: SERIAC Festival 2019

Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 10:25 am
by Dave Watterson
Howard - the SERIAC Festival website says: "... all amateur movie makers in the South East region of the United Kingdom (South of the Thames and into Kent, Surrey, Sussex - and the Channel Islands)"

I also regret the lack of film makers, but it seems to be the case at most festivals.

Inevitably it is expensive to attend a festival - travel, hotels or air b-n-b, tickets and restaurant or take-away meals all add up. They take time too, which is precious if you are working and also have a family.