Jameela

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela M Boardman wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:17 am Sorry Tim, but I can't compromise on the word 'hobby'. To an outsider 'hobby' and 'vocation' may look the same, both can involve considerable time and expense, but the crucial difference is that of intention. A hobby is optional, a vocation is the purpose of one's life.
That's clearly put. I understand. Thank you.

I may be way off track here, but I'd suggest your vocation is not so much making films as getting your message across. This is different from what Michael Slowe describes which is a passion for film making - I'd be interested, Michael, if you consider it a "vocation" as well as/rather than a passion or obsession.

I am not belittling that - the message is what's important. The film making is how you get it across.

Similarly nursing is considered by many who enter the profession a vocation. But the vocation, what they dedicate their lives to, is caring for people. Knowing how to inject a correct dose of medicine safely is the means, not the vocation.

Ditto teaching. The vocation is imparting knowledge and inspiring students. Knowing how to use classroom software and technology (in our days we called it a blackboard) or how to ensure we pass an Ofsted inspection

Like it or not, there is an element of competition here. We expect standards. No matter how caring a nurse might be, if she hasn't passed her exams I do not want her administering medicines to my sick mother or daughter. Similarly I don't want someone who cannot pass GCSE maths teaching my daughter A level maths.

"The Charity's object and its principal activity continue to be that of the promotion, advancement and improvement of general education in relation to all aspects of cinematography and associated audio and visual arts and the development of public appreciation of such arts"

Nowhere does this suggest to me that this has anything to do with the importance of the subject or how artistic the film is. What it does tell me is that the IAC exists (or should exist) to help you get your message across better.
Jameela M Boardman wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:17 am My argument is that those of us who see our activity as a vocation, albeit unpaid, then the competition culture is wholly inappropriate.
I disagree. Your film is being judged by how well you get your message across - not the message itself. I'm sure you'd agree that given two films with equally important messages, the one which provokes a stronger reaction in the audience has done a better job and is therefore worthy of more praise than the other. The IAC is about film making and the appreciation of films, NOT the message itself.
Jameela M Boardman wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:17 am To have a film put down as the loser in a competition such as BIAFF, is sadistic towards the artist who tried to speak out. Perhaps the film was aimed at a different type of audience. Perhaps the judges were not familiar with the issues. Perhaps the filmmaker just needed guidance not a kicking.
Here you and I are in total agreement. The objective should be guidance as to how to improve the delivery of the message. However, in my limited experience, I have never, ever heard of a film as having "lost" a competition or an entrant described as a "loser". I would be most upset if I did hear it.

Finally (in this post!) "art" is a real problem. The only arbiter as to whether something is art or not is the artist. If I take a photo of someone urinating against a wall and say it's art, it is art. If a gallery chooses not to exhibit it, should I feel marginalised?
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

I think the only person who can judge a work of art, is the Artist who created it! ...All else is just an opinion.
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela M Boardman wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 6:07 pm I think the only person who can judge a work of art, is the Artist who created it! ...All else is just an opinion.
Yep.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

A story or a film has both its message and its presentation.

We may call it the moral of the story and how well it engages us, but whatever we name them, there are two equally important but different aspects... If a story or a film does not leave us with some kind of thought or inspiration, then it is rather flat. Similarly if it is not crafted well, it will fail to do what it tried to do. This applies as much to a Nature documentary as to a Drama film or anything else.

I suggest that my 'problem' with the IAC is not about me, but because the IAC's voice has become out of balance... and being a somewhat stubborn person, I challenge this!

Historically – Poets, Artists and Philosophers found invigorating company in cities like Paris and Vienna. Each person had their own message or style, but together they formed a community that would attract other people who felt something to express. They were the radicals, the ones who influenced thinking.

The principle remains the same today, though video and the internet reduce the need for a city, we still need the community... But the commercial world has taken over and made it into an industry. Big money controls what is now produced and how it is edited. So where is the voice of truly free Poets, Artists and Philosophers? ...they are still there, but how much are they heard?

Enter the AMATEUR.

Now are my calls for reform too outrageous?
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela M Boardman wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:50 am The principle remains the same today, though video and the internet reduce the need for a city, we still need the community... But the commercial world has taken over and made it into an industry. Big money controls what is now produced and how it is edited. So where is the voice of truly free Poets, Artists and Philosophers? ...they are still there, but how much are they heard?
With the rise of the internet it is easier than ever for them to be heard.
With the rise of the internet it is easier than ever for them to be lost among the zillions of others who are also being heard.

This is good in that it has democratised what is popular, but also terrible because popular leans much more towards what makes people comfortable (the muundane and the tried and tested) than what stretches people's horizons.

When the primary driver was commercial success, this very success provided the resources and vehicle for artists occasionally to push the boundaries. Hence Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" (or from a different angle, but still highly relevant as it was, so I believe, his vocation, by your definition) Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List".
Jameela M Boardman wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:50 am Enter the AMATEUR.
At the risk of repeating myself, it is a privilege to be an amateur for many reasons, but one of the main ones is it enables one to make the film one wants to make (and it can run for exactly the length it needs to run). However, when it is impossibe for every film to be shown in a festival, I suspect most people would rather watch a curated selection, than a totally random one.
People who want to watch a full spectrum of films should do what I do and offer to judge.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Regarding Poets, Artists and Philosophers, to quote from a previous post I made on the thread about my reform article in the the FVM magazine...

If a new filmmaker makes a film to change people's thinking,
then enters it in a film festival,
but that "festival" is really only a competition,
and the film receives a poor score -- because the criteria is of lesser issues;
then it must be really devastating for that person who spoke out.

Art is expression, it cannot be judged by Criteria
I strongly believe the IAC must make itself truly inclusive, but there is so much opposition.

This is the root of my 'problem' with the situation as it is.

Jameela
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

I fear we're going around in circles but, just to clarify, I think you are saying that if we have two films that are delivering the same message and to which the makers are equally committed, where one film is concise, clear in its delivery, beautifully photographed with clean sound, well edited, entertaining, lively - basically all the "lesser" things to which you refer, whereas the other is rambling, out of focus, wobbly, virtually inaudible, incoherent and dull, both films should be viewed as having equal value.

That is a perfectly reasonable argument, but I also think you are correct in that is not what the IAC stands for.

[What follows is my opinion which may or may not be shared by others and may or may not represent the IAC]

The IAC and (and BIAFF) is not about putting a moral or artistic value judgement on anything. Indeed it is impossible to put a value on something where the value is only known to the maker.

What the IAC aims to do is improve the aspects of film making and the appreciation of the aspects of film making which are present in my first example above and lacking in my second - in other words everything from the mechanics of film making through to the art of storytelling.

"If a new filmmaker makes a film to change people's thinking,
then enters it in a film festival,
but that "festival" is really only a competition,
and the film receives a poor score -- because the criteria is of lesser issues;
then it must be really devastating for that person who spoke out."

The film is not being judged not on the message itself (indeed that cannot be judged) but on how effectively that message is delivered. Any comments received should be aimed to help the film maker deliver the message more effectively.

What your BIAFF might look like? Assume 250 films are submitted, we have time to show 100. How would you decide what is shown? If you have a panel, feeding back on the films, what comments might they be expected to make?
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

Perhaps we are going round in a spiral rather than a circle, progressively getting closer to the centre of what we can agree needs to change.

If there are two films of similar message, but one is well crafted while the other is: "rambling, out of focus, wobbly, virtually inaudible, incoherent and dull". Then there is a distinct difference... But how can we deal with this without demoralising the maker?

I suggest that the style of our response needs to fit with the intention of the filmmaker -- hobbyist or vocationist. For the hobbyist, the existing star rating system of BIAFF may work, but for the others it is wholly inappropriate.

A festival should be a festival not a competition, but could we not at least abolish the: 'One, Two and Three star awards', while offering these filmmakers the option to withdraw their work and improve it in line with the feedback given, then re-enter their film for the following festival, otherwise it will only be selected for viewing in the current festival if time allows? ...This will separate out those films that mean a lot to their makers, but are really unfinished projects.

Amateur filmmaking has always included a diversity of people, and it always will. The hobbyists are currently in the majority, but I suggest that if the IAC is to have much of a future, it will be those of Vocation who mostly join us.

So an amicable transition in style is now needed, as we all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves.
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela M Boardman wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:47 pm Could we not abolish the: One, Two and Three star awards, but offer these filmmakers the option to withdraw their work and improve it in line with the feedback given, then re-enter their film for the following festival, otherwise it will only be selected for viewing in the current festival if time allows? ...This will separate out those films which mean a lot to their makers but are really unfinished projects.
I think that's a terrible idea! Imagine resubmitting your film the following year and it still not making the grade. I'd have thought that was far more demoralising.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

There is a fundamental problem with other people judging our Art, as discussed above, but how can the current situation be changed without some sort of transition?
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

So what do you propose? Again I ask the question, 250 films submitted, time to show 100. How do you decide what gets shown?
We can't simply accept the first 100 films submitted as then it becomes a mad rush to the bottom to be one of the first to submit (and I suspect it will be the least artistic people who become proficient at submitting the second submissions become live).

The more we discuss this the less practical I see it. You are appealing for a platform on which the most artistic films can be shown where the sole arbiter of how artistic the film is, is the maker. We already have those platforms online in the form of YouTube, Vimeo etc. But that's not the same - you're arguing a case for a festival with live audiences such as BIAFF.

The only realistic solution would be to run a separate festival - possibly alongside BIAFF, but I think then that becomes restrictive for both makers and audiences who want to exhibit or watch films in both festivals. As has been mentioned before, Sutton Coldfield rans a very successful "Feel Good Film Festival" a couple of years back where there was no competitive element. There is no reason why the IAC might not consider doing the same for films meeting your criteria on a national basis. I suspect it should be run for at least three years to see how it goes as a single year trial would be unfair, no doubt attracting a number of naysayers and suffering the sorts of practical problems all events suffer in their early years.

I think you should stick around and (help) organise it :)
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

In my censored two page article: 'Speaking Truth To Power', I showed by way of pictures how we could model a film festival on a motorfest!

Other models could be music festivals like Jazz festivals or Boogie Woogie festivals. They are not competitions, they are multi-venue festivals!!

In the previous post where I suggested abolishing the One, Two and Three star awards and giving the makers of these films their feedback (Judge's comments) along with the option to withdraw from the current year and re-enter an improved version in the next festival, otherwise they take their chance over it being shown or not... I think this compromise suggestion has merit.

This would mean only 4 star and 5 star rated films would be shown (or excerpts from very long films) with some of the remaining 3 star films to make up the numbers.

I think this compromise would eliminate the sadistic aspect of humiliating low star ratings, while keeping the competition alive for those who like such things. It would also introduce an educational aspect, akin to a student taking back their project work to modify it after receiving feedback, before final submission. Also the student/new filmmaker would know they are not going to be publicly humilated.

Alas, even though I suggest this compromise myself, it would do nothing to help the advanced film that the Judges don't understand and therefore mark down... The only properly fair way to deal with 250 films submited is to show all of them that are eligible, and forget the star rating system altogether!

Conversely: 'No Change' means continued decline for the IAC, but perhaps most members at the moment would prefer the compromise competition option?
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

As has been mentioned by others before, other festivals you mention still require someone to select what is shown and on that basis your compromise solution is no worse than them.

So, what you're saying, effectively is don't publish (even to the makers?) the star rating of anything which wouldn't qualify for four stars or above. I can't see any major problem with that other than possible accusations of a lack of transparency.

I don't think you help your cause by using deliberately inflammatory terms like "censored" for something which was not published and "sadistic" which implies a delight in marking something down (nothing could be further from the truth, in my experience - in almost every case a panel regrets that they do not feel able to award a higher rating).

Looking at this from a slightly different angle, there is a very great danger that by eliminating the star rating system altogether, the films which will draw the largest audiences at festivals will be those which are the most popular - and I'm sure you'll agree that popularity is rarely a good indicator of either artistic worth or technical competence. Would last year's winner have received such a large audience (which it surely deserved) if it has simply been described as "a 95 minute Iranian film about honour" or Kage been simply described as "a Japanese dance film". I probably would not have watched either out of choice, but coming "recommended" my life is more complete having watched them.

I suppose I'm arguing that the award system, despite some failings, also has a lot of merit and does result in many "artistic" and/or "technically outstanding" films getting a wider audience than they might otherwise.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
User avatar
Jameela M Boardman
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:41 am
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Re: Jameela

Post by Jameela M Boardman »

The words 'censored' and 'sadistic' are appropriate to my strong feelings in the above contexts.

Whatever our personal opinion regarding Competitions, Festivals and the Art of Film, the facts remain that IAC membership numbers are declining, and the existing membership age profile is very lacking of younger people.

I wanted to reverse this trend, but have clashed with 'the powers that be' to the point where I no longer feel welcome. I have engaged with this forum thread to explain my case for change, because I feel extremely sad over the wasted opportunity, as I see it.

Perhaps we shall just have to agree to differ.

I thank all of you who have also engaged with this forum thread.

Kindest Regards, Jameela
User avatar
TimStannard
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: Jameela

Post by TimStannard »

Jameela M Boardman wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:14 pm The words 'censored' and 'sadistic' are appropriate to my strong feelings in the above contexts.
That's as maybe, but they are inaccurate.
"Not published " is not the same as censored and you have no way of knowing whether any panel has ever experienced satisfaction in awarding two stars to a film (and I have some experience of the opposite).

Jameela, whilst you may feel you've been banging your head against a brick wall, you are the only person, to my recollection, who has come forward and said what you want from the IAC which is different from what we already have. (Something the powers-that-be have been asking, on and off, for the 15 or so years I've been a member). It has opened up some discussion, hopefully others will now feel inclined to step forward. I suspect I am not alone in being very grateful to you for putting forward alternatives and justifying them with legitimate arguments. I also hope you will continue to be involved, if not in the IAC, then at least in such discussions, although I suspect we both feel this particular one has run its course for the time being.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
Post Reply