About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

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John Simpson
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About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

Following the discussion about the film after the showing and the award it seems right it should continue. The film has an estimated budget of $50,000 which makes its amateur status questionable. The details are here:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13491294/? ... _flmg_dr_1

Perhaps a maximum budget for amateur films should be set at say £5000 for them to be eligible to enter BIAFF. And this should be made plain on the entry form
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Howard-Smith
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Howard-Smith »

The elephant in the room...
Michael Slowe
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Michael Slowe »

I'm afraid that I didn't watch this film but those that claim that it did not comply with the BIAFF entry rules look like they have a good point. Looking at the site, it does have all the hallmarks of a commercial project but this may not be true. There are groups who get together to make an ambitious film and are lucky enough to attract sponsors, it may not be a wholly professional effort. It is up to the organisers of BIAFF to make the necessary enquiries at the outset, when an entry is received that arouses suspicions.
ned c
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by ned c »

If in doubt; ask. The makers of films that look to be outside the BIAFF rules should be contacted and requested to provide financing and budget details. When I was involved with AMPS and submissions director of DOCUTAH we frequently contacted entrants for information about their entries. mostly relating to copyright clearance but also on other topics. This does add to the administrative load but with BIAFF as the most prestigious amateur festival and the increased burden of entries from Film Freeway then additional resources will be needed. For example, DOCUTAH has a support group of one paid and four volunteer administrators plus some twenty plus screening teams; a final judging panel and a full support staff during the actual festival.

The advent of digital production and potential financing through Kickstarter and similar media has blurred the gap between amateur and professional to the point where it may be difficult to define a film; particularly as a an amateur film may go on to distribution through a site that remunerates the makers. If a film goes on to a YouTube vloggers site and becomes a part of the income generated is it then a professional film although made for little or no money and no payment to the actors?

Once again I strongly advocate the creation of a separate category for students who will have access to a wide range of equipment and professional actors. There could be two categories, under 18 (High School) over 18 (university/college) with a judging panel made up of academics. As I have written previously this will create a possible source of future membership and management for the IAC.

All this from 5,000 miles away but having been involved in the demise of AMPS and watching both Australian and Canadian organizations disappear I hope to see the IAC find a sustainable place in the world of n-c film making.

Thanks for the well organized BIAFF Zoom meeting; due to the time difference I did not see as much as I would have liked. Hope we can meet in person next year.

ned c
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Howard-Smith
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Howard-Smith »

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?
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Willy
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Willy »

That's a very good suggestion, Howard. I think it was not the first time that I watched a professional (read 'commercial) film at BIAFF. It does not happen very often, but it happens. That's my feeling. Michael is right when he says that it is possible that friends form a group to make an extraordinary film. But an estimated budget of $50,000!!!!

I understand our Scottish friend who expressed his displeasure in rather strong terms after having seen the film because of its theme: "About Death". Not a pleasant movie to start the Saturday show, Tony said, and he also had other reasons to dislike that movie with a length of almost 100 minutes.
I watched it from the beginning till the end. Actually I enjoyed it because the two ladies Mariana Castu and Sandra Fellueger are very talented. And the movie had many other qualities. But I started to have mixed feelings when listening to the discussion of our friends during the interval. And also when "Sobre La Muerte" was announced to be the overall winner of the festival. Argentina, Italy, Belgium, South Korea, USA, Germany... now Mexico... Wow! ... But I would have preferred an ordinary good film made by a British friend who makes films only for the love of it. We must not forget that BIAFF stands for British International AMATEUR Film Festival. There are enough festivals and competitions for professional (read 'commercial') movies.

If the budget was $50.000 why didn't the filmmaker ask a professional translator to write his subtitles. Sorry if I am wrong but I saw many mistakes in his subtitles. "Watter" instead of "water" and many other ones. I am a foreigner and I am sure that there are mistakes in my message now because I didn't use a dictionary, but each time when I write subtitles for my movies I ask a native speaker to correct my mistakes or to polish my text. Dave did it for me many times, also Mary Rouillard from Guernsey who is a professional corrector and my neighbour who studied languages at the University. She lived in England for 35 years.

Ned says that he advocates the creation of a seperate category for students. I have always found this a good idea. But it is not the first time that he says this. Unfortunately there is no reply and I fear there will never be a reply.

My apologies if I have been immodest or unfriendly.
Willy Van der Linden
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Howard-Smith
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Howard-Smith »

Willy, you make many excellent points and I can’t spot any mistakes in your use of English or your spelling!
There are things I could say specifically regarding ABOUT DEATH but it would be inappropriate for me to do so as I was one of the first round judges for the film.
All I will say is this - it never crossed our minds to question the amateur/professional status of the film at the time of judging. We had seven minutes to discuss the film and we just got on with it.
Anyway, that’s two of us in favour of an extra declaration on the entry form. Who else supports this suggestion?
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Dave Watterson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Dave Watterson »

I suspect that after this BIAFF there may be more open minds about changes.

For many years we have stuck fairly rigidly to a formula which was successful in the past, but seems less so now.

I firmly believe that there is too much responsibility heaped on the competition manager. That said, David Newman, prefers to be in sole charge so that he can be satisfied that everything is done properly.

The numbers attending BIAFF are down. Not so long ago we could expect 300 or more visitors to a "live event". Now we get less than half that to an "online event". And this at a time when most of us are stuck at home and there are almost no competing attractions!

Keep the ideas coming. Some members of Council do read the forum ...
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Howard-Smith
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Howard-Smith »

With regard to future BIAFFs, I will be very disappointed if the decision is made to keep the event online next year. It’s depressing to think that we could just be heading for a ‘stay-at-home’ future, with new films and shows simply being streamed to our homes instead of returning to where they should be, cinemas and theatres; meetings with friends remaining on zoom; all our shopping via home delivery; working from home; having takeaways delivered instead of eating out at pubs and restaurants. It’s not a future I look forward to. I’m a ‘people’ person. I want to mingle with friends and fellow enthusiasts. I want to watch films on a big screen with an audience. I want to enjoy meals and drinks in company... and a weekend stay at a hotel.
Even if the BIAFF event needs to be scaled down I shall be very sad if it doesn't return to being a live event. So much will be lost. For many years it has been the best weekend of the year for me. Also my friend Val, who has accompanied me to BIAFF every year for several years, has no interest in watching the films online but would love to attend if it reverts back to a live event.
Maybe the number of people attending would start to increase if my suggestion were taken up of bringing back the Ten Best tradition of a celebrity from the film world presenting the prizes.
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TimStannard
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by TimStannard »

Here's a third person in favour of an Howard's declaration.
Having said that, I doubt many people who submit online to festivals even bother to read the rules on the basis that if they are questioned they will withdraw. a £20 entry fee is not a big deal for a film with a $50,000 budget.
However, even if it only catches a few, it's worthwhile.
We do the same for copyright, after all.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
ned c
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by ned c »

Hold on; I didn't realize that David Newman ran BIAFF single handed; without detracting from the great job he does this is a recipe for disaster. First recognize that BIAFF is presently the most valuable asset the IAC has (no; not the membership) and until it finds more membership attractions must protect and develop this asset. So if for whatever reason David cannot work BIAF one year there is going to be a lot of uninformed scrambling to save it; am I correct? The other asset is the magazine and it was a close run thing to save that when the editorship became vacant

I have personal experience of working with two festivals. With AMPS we had a four person group who administered the festival plus screeners and judges. DOCUTAH is run by the local university so has the full power of the film department with clearly delegated responsibilities and an admin team with a paid member plus a person responsible for marketing the festival.

With declining membership; closing clubs and no clear definition of its role in the world of n-c film making the IAC needs to take care of what it has and plan for the future.

ned c
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John Simpson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

Well said Ned, and for the BIAFF Festival to be in a Cinema again we will need more watchers, and to get more watchers we will need more competition entrants and that would mean more work for the organiser/s and judges, things which need to be thought of.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Dave Watterson »

I should make clear that the competition is under David Newman's control - rules and fees agreed by IAC Council.
He recommends any changes, which if approved, have to be listed on the website and in the magazine.
He makes the call for entries, checks the submissions and views every film.
He finds the judges, sometimes with recommendations from others on Council.
He organises the hotel where judging normally takes place.
He plans the programmes for the judging sessions - ensuring, so far as possible, that no one judges a film from their own region.
He introduces the judging weekend, having sent out notes on what is expected and in recent years examples of films in each star category.
He arranges the projectionist for each room in which judging is done.
He prepares and circulates judging sheets for the judges to make notes.
In the event of problems he can arrange for a film to be passed to a second panel for confirmation of the assessment.
He receives, reads and checks the critiques sent from the judges in the weeks after the judging weekend.
When satisfied that all is correct, he prepared the results.
He plans the festival timetable.
He writes to each entrant telling them how their film was rated and if it is selected for screening, when that will take place.

For a live festival he organises the teams projecting in the various cinemas and makes sure they have copies of the relevant films. Until online entries that also involved having a room full of films, cassettes, discs and memory sticks. HE made sure those went to each cinema as needed, collected them back and had them ready to hand back to film makers who were present.

For the last two years Martin Evans has produced the programme brochure.
Mike Whyman prepares the results listings in FVM.
Jan Watterson and I put the results, timetable and some of the festival films on the BIAFF website.
David often captures stills from the top films. Jan and I try to capture still from as many entries as possible.

SO Ned is right ... if David stops, someone else has to pick up the pieces. That does happen at intervals and is not impossible. But it is difficult and demands a great deal from the new competition officer.

There is obviously scope for parts of this work to be delegated to others.
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John Simpson
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by John Simpson »

It is good to have the tasks broken down and itemised and there could be more.
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Martin Evans
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Re: About Death (Sobre la Muerte)

Post by Martin Evans »

Given what Ned and Dave have said, this is something that would never be allowed in any industry whatsoever - a single point of failure - a train-crash in waiting.

But on the original topic. I agree and sign up to Howard's idea. But also a feel that some sort of declaration pertaining to budget ought to be made too And why not a cap on budget?
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