About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

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Jill Lampert
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Jill Lampert »

Howard-Smith wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:18 pm I’d like to make a suggestion which would go some way towards weeding out films which are not bona fide amateur productions.
From next year there could be a declaration to sign on the BIAFF entry form, along these lines:
“I confirm that this is a non-profit-making amateur film for which no payment (other than expenses) has been made to actors or anyone else involved in the production.”
I’m sure this wording could be improved but does anyone else agree that this would be a good idea?
I wonder what would count as "amateur" and what would count as "non-profit making"?

The world is changing...there isn't such a clear distinction between amateurs and professionals as there was once. Nowadays many amateurs (people who make films for the love of it) use crowdfunding to raise some funds for their projects. Some get a bit of support from local businesses, some put a lot of their own money into their projects, some even get a bit of funding from their own film club.

And many amateurs sell their films. Some of these would ideally like to turn professional and each film is a step in that direction. But at the moment when they enter their film in BIAFF it is a hobby and they are amateurs who have created their film for the pleasure making films gives them. Others aren't interested in making a living from their hobby, but would like their films to reach as wide an audience as possible and platforms that pay are potentially a great source of viewers. I imagine that it also gives filmmakers a boost to think that anyone is interested in their film enough to want to pay to view it.

I know of at least two Diamond award winners made by British IAC members which are for sale on Amazon. Does that mean they're "profit making"? Or is it only "profit making" if the income exceeds the cost of the production? In which case how would the filmmaker know whether his/her new film was likely to make a profit?

Is it desirable to discourage amateur BIAFF entrants from trying to get a wider audience by putting their films on Amazon?

On YouTube it is possible to "monetise" your films in certain circumstances. I have never done this, but I believe that unless the film goes viral, the income is minimal. If I were to monetise my 2 star film, would that turn it into a "profit making" film? If it cost absolutely nothing to make, then even a few pence would be a profit, wouldn't it?

I absolutely agree that there is a problem about a film such as this year's BEST film at BIAFF being accepted in an amateur competition. But I can't see any easy way to solve the problem.
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TimStannard
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by TimStannard »

Jill Lampert wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:31 am Or is it only "profit making" if the income exceeds the cost of the production?
As someone with a further education qualification in Business and Finance, including a module on economics, I speak with some authority when I say "Yes" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Jill is, of course, right - the world is a different place from when the rules for BIAFF were drawn up. It is now very easy for anyone to sell their film - although whether they get any buyers is a different matter. I think, perhaps, it's a matter of intent, but any attempt to define that in any meaningful way has so far eluded me.

I think most of us instinctively know whethere a film is appropriate for entry into BIAFF although there may be some disagreement about those that fall close to the line.

I think the "no-one on the production team (crew or actors) receives payment" is about as good as we can get. The "not made for profit" doesn't really matter.

Of course emphasising the word amateur should be enough to put off many people just hunting laurels. (Imagine being a professional who enters an amateur competition and loses out to an amateur) It's just a shame there are so many true amateurs who don't like the term.

[EDIT - deleted repeated phrase]
Last edited by TimStannard on Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Howard-Smith
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Howard-Smith »

Good post Tim. I always like your tagline “Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it.” I am also proud to be an amateur. I’ve never had any ambitions to be a ‘professional’. If anybody thinks ‘amateur’ means ‘poor quality’ that is an unfortunate misunderstanding of the word.
I hope that the IAC Council comes up with the best and most appropriate new wording for next year’s BIAFF entry form.
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fraught
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by fraught »

I have mixed feelings about this. And I'll tell you why;

I didn't see 'About Death', so can't truly comment on that film. But whenever I watch a film at BIAFF and see a ton of 'funding' logos in the end credits, I always feel a little frustrated. Purely because the film I have just watched has had some money thrown at it, which the majority of amateur filmmakers won't have access to, giving that production advantage over the others. I would also question how that funding was spent.

Now...Dead Air - I crowdfunded it 4 times via Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as put my hand in my pocket, with the final cost of the film sitting at around £30,000. No one was paid for their services, but I did have to rent the studio space, pay for lots of travel expenses, food, equipment hire, accommodation, props, costumes, materials for the practical fx, insurance, music clearance fees, courier fees, festival run fees, and for the merchandise to be created and given to crowdfunding backers. We did all this to make the script and idea we had fallen in love with, not for profit or financial gain. We did throw the film up on Amazon Prime for a short period, making us a total of about £3.47. But I doubt I'll ever get back what I put in, in my lifetime. But that's ok.

So although the film cost an awful lot of money, it's definitely not 'for profit'. Now there are no Funding Logos in my end credits, but both my film and 'About Death' did cost way more than your average amateur production. There isn't really a market for Short Films, especially since Amazon Prime have removed their support for them recently, but there is a market for feature films.

So for me, maybe when declaring the cost of the production, if it's over £5k, then ask how the film was financed and where the budget was spent? It's all rather complicated really, but if there is a threshold, then it could be an additional step for David to take to make sure fairness across the competition?
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fraught
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by fraught »

On another note regarding IMDB, don't get too hung up on what you read on there. Anyone can add/remove credits (although they are "checked" by IMDB), there is no requirement to show evidence regarding what is listed.
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TimStannard
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by TimStannard »

Glad you've entered the conversation, Geoff. This is EXACTLY the problem (or rather problems) with putting a limit on budget.

The difficulty is we instinctively know when something is "in the spirit" of an amateur/hobbyist/obsessive/vocationist/non-commercial film but it seems impossible to define it or put a rule on it. (And actually I'm not sure what I "instinctively know" is the same as what you or Dave Watterson or David Newman or Michael Slowe "instinctively know").

I do lean very much toward Micahels Slowe's "they're all just films, why make a distinction?" point of view, but I can't help feeling I don't want all the pots to go to professional film makers pretending they're having a day off.

The IAC is supposed to encourage film making.

I suppose one question is "Is BIAFF also meant to encourage film making" and if so the supplementary question is "does a proliferation of films made by professionals at BIAFF discourage the very people whom the IAC is supposed to encourage?"
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John Simpson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

It is disappointing when a film which wins a film festival is not able to be seen by Joe Bloggs when they go onto the festival results site. Could it be because these films have ben elevated to Amazon Prime? (After the competition!)
ned c
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by ned c »

I seem to have an uncanny knack of ending threads so I will add my two cents worth.

1. IMDB; I have two sets of entries on IMDB but have never added a single entry myself; they have been added by people I work with so take them with a large pinch of salt.

2. As reported elsewhere the simplest way to stop feature film entries is to have a time limit well below the usual minimum 90 minutes of a feature. I would recommend 45 minutes max. The vast majority of the entries in BIAFF seem to fall well below this limit including the winners. A financial limit is impossible to monitor, people have been known to be economical with the truth.

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TimStannard
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by TimStannard »

ned c wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:17 pm As reported elsewhere the simplest way to stop feature film entries is to have a time limit well below the usual minimum 90 minutes of a feature. I would recommend 45 minutes max. The vast majority of the entries in BIAFF seem to fall well below this limit including the winners.
but the problem is in the phrase "vast majority". Had that been a rule we wouldn't have had "Vermijo" (Paul Vernon) or "Sarah's War" (Brian O'Connell), two films which spring to mind made purely as a result of the passion of amateur film makers.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Dave Watterson »

Harking back to John Simpson's point about having films available ...

Some festivals require entries which have not been publicly online, so several film makers keep control and stop others using their work.

On the IAC website we only post films, which their makers have placed on Vimeo, YouTube or the like and have made embeddable.
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TimStannard
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by TimStannard »

TimStannard wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:44 pm Had that been a rule we wouldn't have had "Vermijo" (Paul Vernon) or "Sarah's War" (Brian O'Connell), two films which spring to mind made purely as a result of the passion of amateur film makers.
Or "I, John Harman" (Michael Finney)
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John Simpson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

Some festivals require entries which have not been publicly online, so several film makers keep control and stop others using their work.
On the IAC website we only post films, which their makers have placed on Vimeo, YouTube or the like and have made embeddable.
Good point Dave, I suppose one of the good things about BIAFF is the rules are fairly loose. People do and don't put films into film festivals for different personal reasons - I wonder how many wonderful films there are out there which have never been shown to a wider audience?

PS to Tim, How do you do that quote thing in a different colour and all that?
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Dave Watterson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Dave Watterson »

The quote should be between
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John Simpson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

Dave Watterson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 4:34 pm Harking back to John Simpson's point about having films available ...

Some festivals require entries which have not been publicly online, so several film makers keep control and stop others using their work.

On the IAC website we only post films, which their makers have placed on Vimeo, YouTube or the like and have made embeddable.
In the days of the "Ten Best" there would have been very few Film Studies/Filmmaking courses and they may not have been at a University level. Today the Short Film and the non-profit making film is the gateway into being taken up by some sort of mass media entertainment conglomerate. That sort of film is a showreel for the filmmaking team and the individuals within that team. The film has become so precious it cannot be shown to Joe Bloggs on a film festival website.
Years ago the "Ten Best" films going around the country to Provincial Polytechnics and Town Halls would have been a bit of a damp squib if only 8 could be shown and the winner and runner up had to keep their powder dry!
Michael Slowe
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Michael Slowe »

The old Ten Best, where I was lucky enough to be successful, had quite a few entries from film educational establishments, but almost all were from the USA. They often won awards and considerably embellished the competition. They were never regarded as professional, nor were they, but they were a 'gateway' into the business, without doubt. Even today I'm often asked by a commercial film web site for permission to use and show a film and they offer payment. I always accept the invitation but refuse the payment!
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