BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

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Bob Lorrimer
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Bob Lorrimer » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:29 pm

Sorry Jill...I got the wrong end of the stick! I should have read your write up more thoroughly!

bob

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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by TimStannard » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:06 pm

Bob Lorrimer wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:46 am
Perhaps we should have Judges to Judge the Judge's Comments....or, dare I say it: "Indicative Comments"!
Bob, whilst probably unachievable, it's not such a bad idea! Or, at least some sort of editor through whom the comments go and who can refer them back to the judge writing them up. (I know David Newman edits for spelling, grammar, punctuation etc, but I'm talking about double-checking content)

I suspect many comments are well intentioned and accurate but clumsily worded (your own 1972, critique for example). I know I've been guilty of this. In the same way as film makers have to try to see their films through the eyes of an audience who has never seen it before, a critic needs to read their comments through the eyes of a film maker who has no knowledge of any of the critics other thoughts. Perhaps a read-through by a third party (I frequently ask my wife) could reduce the level of upset.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:54 pm

I do agree, Tim, though time is always pressing as David Newman tries to chase up notes from the judges, plan the BIAFF timetable, and write to all the entrants in time for them to know if their work will be shown or not. Worth exploring.

For those who find the notes off-putting, you might consider taking part in the competitions of the Eurofilmers (EAK = European Authors Circle) which runs a series of heats, the best films then going on to their international festival. An essential part of their credo from the start has been to keep film makers making films ... so crits are never too harsh.

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Willy
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Willy » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:34 am

As I have already told you I can accept the judges' critics for my movie "Neil Ross, his Sheep and Dogs". However, for 95%. Why not for 100%?
It seems that one of the images was not perfect. Perhaps that's right, but I don't know which one. That's a bit annoying. I was also surprised that they found that my film had to be subtitled. The accent of the Scottish shepherd was too strong they said. I know that my Scottish is very poor, but I could understand everything except some limited "dog language" that the shepherd used. Not language for human beings. I subtitled my movie of the Dutch version of my film. Dutch is my mother-tongue.


On that farm in Kincraig there were tourists of different nationalities: Dutch, Belgians, Germans and Americans. They asked questions with a Dutch, German and American accent and the shepherd replied. In my film you can see them smiling when the shepherd is speaking to them. I even think that any subtitling would have affected the charm of the Scottish accent, because the viewer also focuses on the subtitles, not only on the images.


But anyway I am happy with my 3 stars. The theme of my movie is not spectacular enough to give it 4 stars. I agree. Be sure that I am not always a difficult man. I appreciate the judges' comments that I have received. I appreciate their great expertise. I even know that some of them are very experienced. I know that the best coaches are in the sands. After all I have shown my short movie in some clubs now- not only in filmclubs - and each time the audience seemed to enjoy it.
Willy Van der Linden

Jill Lampert
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Jill Lampert » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:44 am

It seems that one of the images was not perfect. Perhaps that's right, but I don't know which one. That's a bit annoying.
Willy, you've picked up one of the problems that recurs in judges' comments: making a statement/criticism which doesn't help the filmmaker to do better next time because it's too vague.
I guess the issue of subtitling is probably one which different people will have different views on. If your audiences are happy without it, then the judge may well be out on a limb!
An essential part of their credo from the start has been to keep film makers making films
Dave, interesting that you've recommended some other organisation for filmmakers who want to be encouraged to make films. I thought that was part of the point of the IAC? :) :) :)

I do think that judges must make criticisms! I'm not suggesting they should only say encouraging things. Filmmakers need to know how they can make their films better. Pinpointing the issues and offering solutions is constructive. Sweeping generalisations are demoralising. Seeing on paper what the judge liked about your film gives the filmmaker a boost.

Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Howard-Smith » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:35 pm

Dave, could you please provide a current link for EUROFILMERS EAK? The only information I can find for their competition ends in 2017. I’d be interested in submitting films to them. Cheers!

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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:16 pm

Hi Howard

For this year you have to act today ... the closing date for "Forum North" entries is 1st April !
A possible issue for you is the films should be up to 20 minutes long.

Films can be sent electronically to forumnord@hamburger-film-club.de.
If for some reason that doesn't work, try hansen-hanau@t-online.de.

The entry fee for filmmakers who haven't participated before, is 15 euro.
Send to
European circle of authors for film and video eV
Sparkasse Heidelberg, BIC: SOLADES1HDB

IBAN: DE84 6725 0020 0025 0270 19

Please indicate forum North 2019 !

Their website is better in German - view it using Chrome web browser and it can translate for you. I do not know why their English version is so out of date ... especially since I translate most of their irregular magazine news into English for them!

Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Howard-Smith » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:12 pm

Thanks Dave. The running time limit is not an issue for me. Years ago I used to make one long film every year. But in recent years I’ve made several SHORT films each year. Out of my seven entries to BIAFF 2019, six of them have a running time of less than ten minutes!

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TimStannard
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by TimStannard » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:08 pm

Jill Lampert wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:44 am
Dave, interesting that you've recommended some other organisation for filmmakers who want to be encouraged to make films. I thought that was part of the point of the IAC? :) :) :)
The more organisations that encourage good film making, the better. I don't think the IAC has exclusive rights!
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Jill Lampert
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Jill Lampert » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:43 am

Tim's right, of course!

Brian Saberton
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Brian Saberton » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:16 am

At XDL Films our main entry for BIAFF, "Whodundidit", has been awarded 4 stars with which we are very pleased and we are also delighted that it is being shown on the Saturday. Our other film was a one minute story called "The Anniversary" that only received two stars, primarily due to some technical problems that we were aware of and had tried to fix in post in the hope that with such a short film the judges might not notice. Not surprisingly they did notice, hence the low mark. I would add that we are comfortable with both of the critiques and are already working on a script for our entry for next years competition. I didn't have any personal films in this time simply because I haven't made any, primarily due to other commitments and also because I couldn't come up with a subject that was sufficiently inspiring. I remain determined to do something this year!
Brian Saberton

Ken Wilson
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Ken Wilson » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:38 pm

Well here is what happened to us.
This time we had 3 new films which were sent to BIAFF. It is a good guide (or should be) to judge our own films against our own previous ones. Yes standards change over the years but they do for everyone and we should all be moving upwards together.
Our 3 films were "The Last Word" a comedy which I estimated should get 3 stars...it did. A second comedy, "Fast Food" which was better and at least as good as our previous comedy from 2016 which got 4 stars, so I expected 4 stars for this one too. It was given 4 stars and at least the comments on this were fair and honest. But myself and several actors in the group who had worked on different films with us, thought the thriller drama, "Breaking Point" was the best of the 3 films from 2018. So by this measure, we thought at least 4 stars and even a good shot at 5.
Our three actors were all top notch and I was delighted with them. But no, it received a very disappointing 3 stars. This mirrored a result from a number of years ago when a very similar situation happened when our best film (in the opinions from within the group) got the lowest award. In that case it was two stars and the same film won at the Burnley festival, the same as our 3 star film this time.

So only the comedy with 4 stars will be screened on the Saturday which will be good.
But again some of the judges comments seem vague, critical and not really very helpful. To state that "Some shots would have benefitted from better framing" is not helpful. Which shots? Why? This is what I see as the permanent trend towards negative judging. Instead of concentrating on positives, the critiques focus in on making negative remarks, to possibly justify why the film didn`t do better.

As several people have mentioned on here such as Jill and Bob, this DOES discourage some people, not only the film makers but also actors. I can state as a fact, that over the years several negative comments have lost us 3 different actresses. In each case, the actress has seen the completed film and been pleased with the finished result. Then after a mauling by a judge or two, their opinions of the said film has been affected and finally the actress in each case has stopped acting for us. This is despite the fact that they have all made many films with us previously. Why should they give up their time, for no payment, to be rewarded with criticism? Naturally none of us expects continual back-slapping, but a bit of balance would be nice.

In many cases it appears as though harsh comments slip through. I have judged for many competitions, though not for BIAFF as I have never been asked, but I have heard from several people who have who tell me that the films are viewed on hotel TVs and have very restricted time limits to view, write notes, rate it and move on. One correspondent told me this year that the films were viewed on a (quote) "Crappy hotel TV." For the supposedly prestigious annual IAC competition, this method is appalling. Why are the films not viewed and judged on a large projected image with sound through a proper system? Or is this not how it is done? It would make sense why my comedies fare better than a drama/ thriller which would benefit from a darkened room and a large cinema-type image, a good sound system and so on. For me the BIAFF competition and the festival weekend along with FVM magazine, are the only reasons for being a member of the IAC surely funds should be ploughed into the judging weekend to give every film it`s best chance? How difficult would it be to have a projector and small conference room for each judging panel as we have for the Saturday mini cinemas?

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Dave Watterson
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Dave Watterson » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:50 pm

Now the results are published online ... does anything strike you as unusual?

https://www.biaff.org.uk/2019-diamond.html

Michael Slowe
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Michael Slowe » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:41 pm

I've only now thought to look at the Forum where many friends contribute.

BIAFF competition results time is always entertaining. Me, only Three Stars for two documentaries, about what I expected but would;don't have been surprised at Fours. I advise you lot not to get old as I am finding that inspiration and imagination are fast disappearing for me. I fear that my record of Three Diamonds (one was the equivalent years ago) and a couple of Fives will not be repeated for me, my time has gone, but it's great to read of Bob's continuing success. Part of the attraction withe his films is that they are short, succinct and amusing, something that I find difficult.

Jill, you take far too much notice if judges comments, as do some others. I wish that we didn't have them, merely get the rating. Only a limited number of people are able to write worthwhile comments on films (David & Jan spring to mind). It is easier to rate a film than comment sensibly on it. Only this year I had some irrelevant technical points raised rather than on the substance of the film. As for being upset and withdrawing from the contest, that's plain silly. The best way to get opinions on a film is to share it with carefully selected friends (not necessarily film makers). Jill and I used to exchange films, I fear that she is now far ahead of me in standard, her current result excepted.

See you all at BIAFF, all being well. We should try and arrange a "Forum Contributors" social meeting. I tried that one year but it proved tricky to organise.

Howard-Smith
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Re: BIAFF 2019 at Birmingham

Post by Howard-Smith » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:19 pm

As a first-round BIAFF judge for the past five years, one thing I’d like to point out is that whoever is writing up the comments has to reflect all views expressed by the panel of three judges. If the judge who is doing the write-up thinks that some points raised by other judges on the panel are rather nitpicking and trivial, there is still a duty and requirement to include them in the comments. The writer is the messenger, the spokesperson for the panel.
I do believe that it’s important for the comments generally to be as positive and encouraging as possible, and important to express any ‘negative’ comments in a constructive, helpful and focussed way. Clearly this doesn't always happen, as Jill and Ken have experienced.
With regard to Dave’s question with regard to the Diamond awards, I assume that the unusual point is that only three of the eight films are from the UK. I look forward very much to seeing all of them. I was in on the judging for the feature length Iranian film GOLNESA which is a superb piece of filmmaking.
Last edited by Howard-Smith on Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:57 am, edited 5 times in total.

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