BIAFF 2022

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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Willy
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Willy »

"Living With Heartache"
Let's have a nice discussion about the films shown at BIAFF. We also did it the previous years. The judges said the award winning films excelled in the way emotions had been displayed. That's how I understood it. I looked online and could only hear what Romy said from some distance. The Big Winner was "Living With Heartache". It was the recording of the grief of a number of relatives over the loss of a young man who had died in a car accident.
Of course I had to think back to my youngest sister. Her only son (20) hit a tree with a car. That was terrible. He didn't survive the blow. His friend had driven the car and was also killed. However, the mere representation of feelings should not be the only criterion when assessing a film even if it's about something terrible. After so many years my sister's sadness is still beyond description.

"Two Lives in One Journey"
A movie that appealed to me a little more was "Two Lives in One Journey" by Graham Kay. I got tears in my eyes when I saw this wonderfully moving story. Graham delivered the film in a special way. It was not boring at all. He is an elderly cinematographer who earned at least as much applause as anyone else in the Winners' Show. His film was not just a collection of photos about his attractive wife who died of cancer in 2004. It was not accompanied by a dry narration. He had also collected nice film recordings of her and other pleasant things. I also enjoyed Graham's sense of humour. He pointed out, among other things, the beautiful long legs of his bride. I was glued to my online office chair watching Graham's movie from the beginning till the end.

I have also seen Howard-Smith's and Michael Slowe's films. I will tell you about them next time. It's already after midnight here on the Continent.
Willy Van der Linden
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Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Howard-Smith »

Willy, I really enjoyed your Scrabble film which was extremely well made and most entertaining.
Since you mentioned me in your last message, I’d like to check whether you are aware that I sent nine films into the festival and six of them got 4 stars. However, not one of them was shown at the BIAFF weekend. The longest of my films ‘The Morality of Lying’ was just shown online on the Tuesday evening. I hope you will watch some of my other 4 star films that weren’t shown - the links are on the BIAFF website and also of course on my Vimeo page. In particular I recommend ‘Dead Tonight’, and my favourite two, ‘Stockhausen Syndrome’ and ‘Self Assessment’ which some people have said is the best film I have ever made. Also my 3 star film ‘Face Time’ which won two awards in the CEMRIAC Spring Movie Festival: Best Joint Overall Winner (along with ‘Stockhausen Syndrome’) and Best Editing.
Last edited by Howard-Smith on Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Michael Slowe
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Michael Slowe »

Willy, and others, your comments on the obscure nature of at least two of the leading films, is much appreciated and are indeed, educational. I was puzzled by them at first but have now begun to accept the fact that they are obscure, probably intentionally. Film viewers do like to be challenged, as well as entertained and festivals today do seem to search out the films that fulfil this function.

However, one film that totally flumoxed me was "Face The Music". Please will someone offer some words of explanation. It was beautifully shot and the opening title sequence wonderfully done, but after that I was totally lost. The poor man in the rowing boat seemed as lost and alone as I was viewing this film

I very much admired David Brezina's "The Wrong Way", although it was quite a simple story it was very well told, and, as a sometimes criticised driver, it sent shivers down my spine! The documentary "Living with Heartache" was, in my opinion, the worthy winner (I had circled this well in advance of the revealed result), and I admire his courage in tackling such a delicate subject. I am sure he had to approach the project fearfully and carefully.
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by TimStannard »

Willy, many thanks for your (Werner's) explanation of Thirst. It makes perfect sense. The post apocalyptic world is described in the title and the bestial world is portrayed well and understood. The idea that the women trade water for sex is, presumably, as I had thought for the purpose of procreation rather than (just) pleasure as I would have though the men could provide more essential services for them in this bleak landscape.

For me, the missing piece was I wasn't able to decypher the idea of a couple breaking away and without that the message is lost. This might be obvious to the director and to others more observant than me or, indeed, to me on a second viewing (especially now I've been informed).I think his is because of the way the film is cut. I'm never clear who is who and the narrative is is obscured by the frequent intercutting of different scenes and symbolism. This was a great shame for me as whilst I really enjoyed the film, I think I would have got so much more out of it if I'd understood this when watching the first time. I'm sure it will be much clearer if I get a second chance to see it (I really hope I do).
Tim
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by TimStannard »

Willy wrote: Wed Apr 27, 2022 11:11 pm "Living With Heartache"
[...]
However, the mere representation of feelings should not be the only criterion when assessing a film even if it's about something terrible.
Bingo, Willy! I was searching for words to describe why I didn't particularly rate this film, but, as is often the case, you have seen through the haze and pointed out it really is as simple as that.

I'm not suggesting it was a poor film, just not a winner for me. It is a documentary about someone whom a general audience will not know and who, until the making of the film, was unknown to the maker. It was filled with platitudes about the deceased boy, but we would expect his family and friends to say this, wouldn't we? Yes, it portrayed their sometimes quite different reactions to the tragedy well, but that's pretty much all we got.

The two potential areas of interest for me were not followed up.

Presumably there was a coroner's verdict and police report. The accident needed to be explained better (even a line saying "The police report stated that the car was travelling at xx kph in a yyy kph zone" would give some sort of explanation). Not mentioning this just felt like it was being swept under the carpet to avoid causing any offense to the family to suggest the boy was in any way to blame.

The father's reaction to the surviving passenger was by far the most interesting part of the film. His struggle with his irrational feelings of blaming the passenger were clear. I really wanted this to be explored more. What about interviewing the passenger and his family. Surely some of them must feel resentment towards the driver or his family? And how about some input from a psychologist about grief - particularly the father's reaction?

That would be a documentary. What we have is a tribute, and a tribute to someone neither we nor the film maker has any personal connection to.

Contrast this with Two Lives, One Journey. Here the film maker is personally involved and it shows. It tells a story. It is affectionate, at times amusing, at times sad, but overall a life affirming film. Being made by one of those involved there is no need for controversy or conflict. I agree with everything Willy says about this film.

I was going to say these were two films dealing with the loss of a loved one, and in one sense they are, but they are very different. The first deals with death and grief, the second deals with life. The former is probably a more challenging film to make.
Last edited by TimStannard on Fri Apr 29, 2022 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tim
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by TimStannard »

Michael Slowe wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:48 pm The poor man in the rowing boat seemed as lost and alone as I was viewing this film
Brilliantly put, Michael. I, too, would appreciate any light someone can shed upon the narrative for this film (Face the Music).
Tim
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Willy
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Willy »

You've been productive again Michael. I have seen your name three or four times. Only Howard-Smith can compete with you. You both show that you enjoy making films. Your movies are completely different, but they are more than worth seeing.

What do I think about "Danny's Red Box"?
I always look forward to seeing your "charming" movies, Michael. Imagine that people are watching your film without your name appearing. Then they immediately know that you are the maker. You have your own style. You bring to the fore people who are special and often who live in your neighbourhood. In Hampstead Heath. Actually you don't have to look far to make a pleasantly interesting video. You convey the exceptional atmosphere to the viewer. Your "actors", they just talk, mostly in a colourful and pleasant way. They have not learnt sentences by heart. Everything is so natural, so spontaneous. You always make simple things special. Not long ago I had another look at your "King Willy". Once again I enjoyed the atmosphere in the pub.
Unbelievable that Danny, a man who is only two years younger than me, is selling coffee from an old red telephone box and chatting with people. I felt like ordering a cappuccino or a hot chocolate myself.
I only think that this time you have exaggerated a bit in the length of your video, Michael. You and I, we have both been accused more than once of not being able to put an end to our story faster. Next time I will write about Howard's film.
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Michael Slowe
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Michael Slowe »

Willy, many thanks for your insightful analysis of Danny's Red Box. You are right, we both tend to hang on to our stories just that bit too long. However, when I put this to people who liked the film they all said, no, not too long at all, I think that the judges may have thought it was. The problem is that we are viewing our films in isolation, not in a programme. I like to make something that stands up as a single entity, competition and festival films are viewed, by and large, in comparison to others. Talking of King Willy (my pub film) it could mean Willy Van der Linden- the King!

I have been re reading Tim and Willy's comments on some of the other films and perhaps I was a bit hasty in preferring Living with Heartache to Two Lives. Tim's critique is perhaps more accurate than my own. As to Thirst, I think that maybe the rewards to men bringing water should be extended to the present day, think what fun we would have! I'm glad that Tim shares my puzzlement over Face The Music (man in boat), let us hope that the requested explanation appears on this Forum soon.
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Willy
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Willy »

Dear Howard, ... Maybe "The Morality of Lying" deserved a place in a higher category... That would have been a world of difference in your mind, but I am sure you know that the number of movies that you have made should not be a criterion, nor the name and fame that you have acquired.

Now, I'm trying to guess why the judges didn't rate your film a little higher. You said in the introduction your story consists of two major parts: outlining the problem and the suddden impulse (explosion) that creates a lot of tension and makes your film a real thriller. The tension even runs very high in that second part. I was in suspense all the time. It can only be achieved if you have very talented actors and if you have the talent yourself to direct them in an excellent way. Nobody keeps looking at the death threat at the end of your film without any emotion. A big bravo. Nine out of ten for that part in your movie.

But didn't the judges think that the lead-up in the film was a bit too long? Maybe I am wrong to think about this. You make thrillers. I prefer to make documentaries.

Indeed none of your 9 films were shown on the big screen on Saturday or Sunday. A big disillusion. I understand. A few years ago I had to go through the same thing. I thought I would have become world champion, but unfortunately I only got three stars and the judges didn't want my film to be screened. Luckily in my own country the documentary was awarded several times. It even became runner-up in the national festival and so I could forget my disappointment. In the mean time you yourself have achieved many successes at other festivals. That's what I have seen on facebook. Now you can already look forward to BIAFF 2023 because you are a very passionate filmmaker. Be sure I will also watch the other films you have made.
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Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Howard-Smith »

Thank you so much Willy for your excellent review of The Morality of Lying. Your generous comments are much appreciated.
I did originally ask the writer Gary Cattell if he would be prepared to shorten the script down to about half its length for the film but he, and the actors, asked for the complete script to be filmed.
As it turned out, the judges’s comments were extremely complimentary and didn’t say that the first half of the film was too long. In fact I don’t think that there were any ‘negative’ comments or criticisms at all. As you suggest, getting a 5 star award this year would have meant a great deal to me. I don’t know what stopped it from being a 5 star film and will probably never know.
The Morality of Lying was by far the longest of my films this year, running at 38 minutes. The other five 4 star films ranged from 2 minutes to 19 minutes. There were also two 3 star films and a 2 star film. I’ll be interested to hear what you say about those other films of mine, Willy.
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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Dave Watterson »

For all of you puzzled by FACE THE MUSIC ...

I understand that Jan did an interview with its author during BIAFF and that the video of that (shot by Alistair Biggar) will be on the BIAFF website soon. She wants to send it to Noah Greis for his approval before publication.
Michael Slowe
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Michael Slowe »

Well done Jan, let us hope that all will be revealed!

Willy l and Howard. Stars don't matter that much, it is an impossible hope that everyone can be satisfied. I personally could have complained loudly about my one star for "From The Balcony" (see it on my site) since many people love it! None of my Ten Bests got more than four stars at LIAFF (that's the forerunner to BIAFF). It is merely that individuals have different views and emotions and the standard of judging varies enormously, you can't have David and Jan judging all the films! That would be ideal but rather unfair on them.
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Martin Evans
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Martin Evans »

"Face the Music": I may not have completely understood what was going on in this film but this was one of the stand-out films for me this year. I loved it's surreal edge. It put me in mind of the bizarre world created by Flann O'Brien in the Third Policeman. It made my spine tingle. Another film that stayed long in my thoughts was "Leap". Great story, well told. A modern story that needs telling.
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by Michael Slowe »

Martin, how can it be the "stand out film" for you if you don't understand what's going on? I can appreciate a meaningless film if it looks particularly beautiful, or it contains stimulating montages, but this had neither. Surreal yes, certainly that, but where's the point. I can agree with you on Leap though, well acted, good story, meaningful.
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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2022

Post by TimStannard »

Blimey it's quiet here. I can't imagine your post, Michael, has stunned everyone. Normally, post-BIAFF, the forum comes alive but apart from a few comments about how little we understand about some films and the shameful lack of Howard's films being shown, there's been very little. Do we assume everyone is happy with the awards and the judges' comments?

Or do we dinosaurs have to accept the rest of the IAC membership has moved to Tik Tok and Instagram?
Tim
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