FUTURE - regions and festivals

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Dave Watterson
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FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:51 pm

The latest North Thames news magazine tells us that its chairman, the dynamic and cheerful John Howden is giving up:
When I took up the post I had not counted on the depth of apathy that exists amongst the Club Membership. It seems we might just as well be talking, some of the time, to a brick wall!
I therefore have come to the conclusion that the IAC is either generally irrelevant or is failing in getting across its message. Getting a response is like wading in treacle.
That is a shame. It is even ironic since EARIAC (Eastern Region of the IAC) shut up shop not so long ago and its members mainly transferred allegiance to North Thames.

The magazine also has news of an experiment in running the regional competition online but without a public festival.

Add to that the news that though CEMRIAC will run BIAFF 2017, after that the IAC National Council will run BIAFF rather than a region doing so ... because regions have trouble finding enough people to help. [Correction to earlier comment.]

And I ask: Is our movement on its last legs ... again!?

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John Roberts
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Re: FUTURE - regions amd festivals

Post by John Roberts » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:57 pm

Nope.

(John's shortest reply ever!) :wink:
"My vision often exceeds my capabilities" (me, 2015)
My views are purely my own and don't necessarily reflect those of any body I might represent :P

ned c
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by ned c » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:22 pm

I waited four days for the firestorm of correspondence and apart from John's - silence! Is there a future for organised amateur film making? Based on the response here obviously NO. Yet there is a huge amount of film making going on out there; most of it "amateur" in the sense that it is not going to be a commercial proposition; mostly by small groups not organised nor wanting to be organised yet in need of a festival outlet for their work and a network they can use when necessary and a "magazine' they can access on-line. What better than the IAC to be that organisation. Yes; a huge shift in emphasis and a need to determine how to best access this different audience but a chance to grow or, yes, fail rather than the slow demise that John Howden's comments suggest.

ned c

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John Roberts
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by John Roberts » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:32 pm

Hi Ned,

I drafted out several responses to the original post, but in the end didn't send any as I have yet to receive the magazines (I always seem to get them over a week later than everyone else) so I wanted to make sure that none of my comments or the original post were taken out of context.

Yes, there is a future for the IAC, and as a member of the National Council I am fully involved in discussions to that end. There are some new, exciting and possibly radical changes on the cards regarding all aspects of the organisation, including BIAFF, but none of which I am prepared to discuss outside of Council. None of these discussions are secret however, because anyone can approach Council and become a member, as I did because I wanted to see how things worked from the inside. Lines of communication are always open via email, the AGM, pigeon post etc for any comments, suggestions and criticisms. And believe me, they are all read and discussed. All two or three of them a year...

Re Council running BIAFF in 2018; the lack of regional helpers is but one of many reasons for the decision, and as a typical BIAFF takes a minimum of 12-18 months to organise a quick decision had to be made which I believe to be the correct one, based on the success (or should that be 'lack of complaints') about BIAFF 2016. There are a great number of experienced people available across many regions to help with the running of BIAFF and regional competitions, but as John Howden's quote suggests, there is a depth of apathy also. Over the last two or three years, the most vocal criticisms I have heard have come from those who never lift a finger to help in any way whatsoever. Counter to that there a dedicated bunch of folk across all regions that put an incredible amount of time and energy into keeping things moving year in, year out, for little or no thanks at all.

The number of entries to BIAFF remains roughly stable, so that would suggest there is no drop in the number of films being produced. We just need to get out of the attitude of "Oh, someone else will do that" because there will come a time when they won't.

I firmly believe there is a future for organised amateur filmmaking and there always will be whilst ever amateur films are being produced. But as a member-led organisation the IAC needs to hear from its members in order to decide where its members want the organisation to go. If not, members then should not complain if it is going in a direction they don't want it to.
"My vision often exceeds my capabilities" (me, 2015)
My views are purely my own and don't necessarily reflect those of any body I might represent :P

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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by ned c » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:44 pm

Two more days pass and there are 51 registered viewings yet after the initial posting just two comments! There are obvious networks of film makers some of whom are members/supporters of the IAC who we meet from time to time on this Forum. OK, all very well for me 5,000 miles away but I am very conscious that the two organisations supporting n-c film makers here in the USA have completely vanished in their original form and AMPS is now only a Festival that has robust underpinnings and a young (except for me) management team with ambitious plans, it will probably survive. But not as a central organisation representing the views and needs of amateur film makers. As n-c film makers are squeezed by increasing regulation and misinterpretation of the law as it pertains to film making then central organisations are needed more than ever.

The future of the IAC has been a subject for discussion for about two years now and perhaps it's time to share the future plans for review and suggestions by the membership. Action is potentially dangerous, it can result in failure but better that than a slow slide into oblivion.

ned c

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TimStannard
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by TimStannard » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:05 pm

My excuse for not responding? I was away on holiday until Saturday and am only just catching up with stuff!
John (Roberts) - you won't get the magazine - it's the North Thames Newsletter and it's available on the IAC Website here: http://www.theiac.org.uk/iac/regions/no ... -oct16.pdf

There is some apathy. But this is not new. Every organisation has its apathy and it tends to come in waves. Many views of this topic and only one or two replies is not necessarily a bad thing. Most people don't reply. The fact that people are reading at all should show there is some support for Clubs/IAC/Forum.

Alongside those who are apathetic are also those who do try to move things on. We need to offer these people support and encouragement rather than talk about how difficult it is and how it'll never work. And I'm afraid it is this latter attitude that often (but far from always) prevails among the organisations. In addition to this, it is often a slow and painful process to get anything past the various bodies that oversee our clubs and regions (and, I suspect the IAC).

Example? Three years ago Alan Colegrave came up with three ideas to try to encourage participation by entrants and audience alike in the NTR Festival: an A/V competition/screening, a talk by a guest speaker, on-line entry. Although less vehemently opposed this year, the suggestion of on-line entries was always met with horror from some quarters - even though there was never any suggestion we'd stop taking entries on DVD or BluRay.

Three years later he was finally given the chance to try these ideas - because he was the only person to volunteer to run the festival (so long as he had som assistance - hence my involvement).

Anyway that's all rather moot now as there were difficulties (either real or perceived - eg "no-one will travel in the winter") but it does mean we will finally have a chance to try out an on-line competition. It'll be rushed. It might well be shambolic. But at least we're doing something. And we can all learn from it. As Ned so eloquently put it "Action is potentially dangerous, it can result in failure but better that than a slow slide into oblivion."

Organisations that take three years to try out a suggestion are doomed to fail in this world of immediate returns. I suspect many, if not most, of those who make up our Councils were brought up in a world where everything, whether a service or a product, was planned and thoroughly tested before launch.

Like it or not we now live in a world of massive competition where products are therefore launched on the strength of an idea and the bugs ironed out if the idea takes off, with the customer acting as the tester for the prototype.

Our products (the IAC, Regions and Clubs) are also competing - competing for people's time. We have to appeal and adapt and respond quicky.

I suspect very strongly that young people (and I mean anyone under sixty) who do come along to many clubs do not see a group of people who are all heavily involved in encouraging people to improve their skills and collaborate in film making. They see a selection of people who make sure they break for tea at 9pm sharp so they can discuss how much better films were ten or forty years ago or, more likely, don't discuss anything about films at all.

And they see people running the organisations calling themselves "Councils" and wearing chains of office. I'm sure this was highly appropriate in the 1950s when cine clubs were at their peak of popularity, adding some sort of status to those in charge, but it is almost certainly laughable to most people under sixty years of age.

As mentioned by others, we have loads of people with skills that they are prepared to share, but we need to give them a platform that makes it worth them sharing. I'm sure the likes of Tom Hardwick would much rather be talking to and inspiring a bunch of active film makers than demonstrating some new-fangled device to a bunch of grey hairs who've "heard it all before, but it makes a change from Fred showing his 1997 film of the Blubell Railway again"

But it is far from all bad news and there are plenty of people involved who are rather more dynamic. We need to give these people the opportunity to try out new ideas and approaches. What's to lose if they fail?
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

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John Roberts
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by John Roberts » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:03 pm

Hi Tim, hope you had a great holiday :D

I agree totally with your reply and many of the points you have raised. My own confusion was having not read the article in the NTR Newsletter I didn't understand where Dave W found the information about the NC running BIAFF 2018; this was an item I believe John Gibbs will address in the next FVM, but I also notice that John Howden has mentioned in it in the newsletter. Incidentally, the last FVM I received contained all the regional newsletters, which is possibly why I assumed that the next issue of FVM was already being sent out...

My own region is suffering from not only the 'Not-in-Winter' apathy but for the last couple of years the 'Not-in-the-Dark' apathy as well. We have a long established and highly regarded Yorkshire-based inter-club annual competition, which this year, for the first ever, was held during the day. I was opposed to this for many reasons, not least because potential new members who are still working and have a disposable income, but whose kids have grown up, might be itching to fulfill a long postponed hobby. As this years host club we tried our best to advertise it, printing brochures, getting the lighting rig out, bumping up the sound system etc, but the enquiries I did receive never materialised into numbers on seats, because those people were working. Now I hear next year's festival is again to be held in the day.

I agree with your point about the negative attitude, which is one reason why I believe it is not a good idea to publicly discuss the often complex and time consuming discussions of the NC; it just lays itself wide open to the armchair critics looking for something to complain about. Sometimes things don't always progress as quickly as I would like, other times there are regulatory and legal details to consider, especially considering the IAC's charitable status. We often can't simply say "Oh, we'll change that." For example, I believe the term 'Council' is written into the original Articles of Association from 1932 and incorporated into Companies House, so you can imagine how long and drawn out the special resolution processes would be to change that one word, and that's assuming the membership could even decide and vote on a more modern or appropriate name! Indeed many items need to be ratified at the AGM by the membership, which grinds round once a year. It can be a slow process at times, but it is a process nonetheless...

However, having said that, not everything needs to be so long-winded. I totally agree that we need to encourage and support dynamic and forward looking members, and I believe that they should be encouraged whole-heartedly. New technology needs to be embraced, especially in the form of online submissions, which BIAFF will be introducing this year. But, we need to know what members want and particularly to hear new, dynamic and radical ideas so that they can be discussed and potentially implemented. At the moment we are hearing very little from anyone.

John R
"My vision often exceeds my capabilities" (me, 2015)
My views are purely my own and don't necessarily reflect those of any body I might represent :P

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TimStannard
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by TimStannard » Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:19 am

John,

My rather lengthy post was not intended as a discussion of the inner workings of the NC, but of organisng committees and members in general.

What we and many organisations formed more than half a century ago suffer from is probably best described as "inertia". Inertia from many of the people running the organisations (at all levels, my comments weren't about the NC, specifically) and inertia from many of the the members.

Yes, some things take time to change, but that's no reason not to initiate a change.

It seems very unfair to criticise the work of hard working, well intentioned people who give their time and experience for free, but sometimes some of them are wrong or their views are no longer relevant or representitive.

It is very difficult to run an organisation where the membership refuse to tell you what they want out of it.

Modernisation of such things as names may seem trivial but clearly someone thought changing to "The Film & Video Institute" was important enough.

These are all challenges we face as do many organisations throughout the country. Fortunately we have a few people who have the ability and enthusiasm to move us forward, and if we give them the encouragement and opportunity, the IAC will, I'm sure, continue to be the foremost organisation representing amateur film makers in this country.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

col lamb
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by col lamb » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:31 am

Getting back to Daves original post.

I suffer from apathy.

Because the IAC has not changed,

that dialogue does not happen,

that all to many members are stuck th the past,

that the IAC mag takes up a large proportion of the subs,

that the subs I have been paying for the music license has been a waste of money

the lack of usage of the forum
.
.
.
The list goes on, and on and it is why I am no longer a member.

This is my last post, goodbye folks.
Col Lamb
Preston, Lancashire.
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Lee Prescott
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by Lee Prescott » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:52 pm

Hi Folks,

I wasn't going to join / contribute to this "thread" but having overcome, (maybe temporarily), from - the IAC introduced and
enforced apathy I will commence by quoting a paragraph from Tim Stannard's Post:-
It seems very unfair to criticise the work of hard working, well intentioned people who give their time and experience for free, but sometimes some of them are wrong or their views are no longer relevant or representative.


Now please, don't fire off verbal cannon balls at me on the basis of: "Oh he's at it again"! Yes, (some) Judges "Useless Comments", by IAC "know it all's" and the effect that has on Film Makers here - particularly Youngsters mostly, who were new to an introduction to the IAC. This is where the relevancy comes in from the latter part of Tim's remark. Coupled with the fact that without the interest of Young People on going, the IAC is, in fact, doomed, sooner or later, to end up like the U.S.A. situation mentioned by Ned Cordery.

My reason for mentioning this is that a couple of years back and as then written up in SOCO News, and in spite of a knowledgeable response from one of the Young People on their behalf. The "Jentleman Judge know it all" rammed an ill conceived response that just added to the previous and stupid insults . Friends and I had started up a new "club" and we had around 24 Youngsters joined or interested between the ages of 14 and 19+, some of them Students studying at a Media College!!!!! What happened was that due to the foregoing, we lost them, the IAC suffered from both their probable membership and its NAME. At the time off they went to relate it at college and worse - on their Facebook pages!

I was subsequently told by a friend that "those judges did not represent the IAC".....Sorry they certainly did, "impressively" signing themselves FACI(M) etc. etc. and certainly did as far as those affected were concerned.

So Tim is quite correct (and probably Ned Cordery). I would just add that when I was Voluntary FVM "Advertising Manager" several years back the official membership figure I was given was 2,600. Four weeks ago I was told officially, the figure was "1,500 including clubs"!!!

In conclusion and to prove the point further, young John Roberts is a "breath of fresh air" and comments and writes well.......!

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Dave Watterson
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:17 pm

Maybe this is tangential ... but I am on lots of medication for a rotten cold (!) ...

At last week's UNICA Congress in Romania a workshop of young people from several countries met, became friends, worked on their own and each other's films and presented a mixed bag of movies lasting around 40 minutes in all ... in a week. When asked what they most liked about the workshop they all said - in their own ways - it was the friendships formed, the feeling of being part of a larger family. For we old farts watching their work and listening to them it was inspiring, encouraging and touching.

I am not a fan of IAC events like the AGM weekend which is mainly devoted to social activities ... but I recognise that it is important to establish the sense that "we are not alone" in our hobby. Perhaps with a different type of social activity I would go to AGMs ... and perhaps clubs which establish a range of social activities as well as competitions, talks etc would attract more people.

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TimStannard
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by TimStannard » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:55 pm

Social Activities? Not for me! I attend SVM, festivals and clubs for film related activities.
I see a non-film related social activity as doomed to failure as we are throwing people who potentially have nothing in common (except film) together in the hope they'll all get on and have a spiffing time. Why would that work? (OK it might, but the chances are pretty low).

That's not to say people don't have anything other than film in common, but those relationships will form anyway, from natural conversation at film based activities. For example three people who met at SVM regularly joined up for gentle cycle rides along picturesque routes around the SE. I frequently have non-film related discussions on social media with people I've met at IAC/club events and then through this forum or Facebook. But these are things that fall out in the wash.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Jill Lampert
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by Jill Lampert » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:34 pm

I can completely understand the UNICA young people’s pleasure in the friends they made while film making. I think the key thing is that they were working together at something they loved doing. Like Tim I have a horror of social occasions for film makers that are unrelated to film making. Like Dave I avoid the AGM weekend because it’s largely social.

At Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers we’re just coming to the end of making a film in which 24 people have taken part. The maximum at any one session was 22. Many of these had very little or no experience of group film making before this summer, but they had the benefit of some experienced film makers to lead the way. Everyone was encouraged to develop their film making skills. Experienced or inexperienced, each person contributed in some way. It was exciting working as a team. We all learnt things about making films during the five days of filming. We got to know each other better through collectively trying to meet the challenges that making a film brings. We also had plenty of time to chat while waiting for the rain to pass or the cameras to be set up and while we ate a picnic lunch.

I loved it. It was clear that other people loved it too. The comment which I have heard again and again from different people is how much they liked having the chance to get to know each other. They say they could never have done this at the fortnightly club meetings.

I’m confident that the finished film will be fun to watch. Although I know that this model is not the best for making a “good” film, I suspect that this sort of activity goes a long way towards making being a member of a club attractive. There is enormous pleasure to be had it is working with fellow enthusiasts to achieve the same goal.

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TimStannard
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by TimStannard » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:40 pm

I can totally understand the feeling described by Jill when working together on a club film. We had a similar experience when we made "The Great Director", a silent comedy, several years ago. Whilst all the pre-production and post production work was done by the director and me, the single day of shooting has gone down as one of the most enjoyable days in the club's history. A day of costune fitting a couple of weeks in advance probably helped add a touch of anticipation. This was a great filming AND social occasion - but, it was driven by film.

I have little doub that if we regularly came up with workable scripts which we put into productions, we would gradually increase in membership and our enjoyment would increase. As seems to be happening with those clubs that are bucking the trend.

However, a word of warning as our recent experiences have proved. Everyone involved has to have some faith in the script/production. The idea that "We have a script, it's rubbish, but we'll have fun making it" simply isn't true.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Michael Slowe
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Re: FUTURE - regions and festivals

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Sep 02, 2016 4:18 pm

Oh dear, this type of debate has been going on for years and we don't seem to know what to do. So much sense has been written, unusually I feel for Lee Prescott, his experience regarding the young film makers must have been heartbreaking. How could a judge be so insensitive? The damage he did is well documented by Lee. I get asked to look at a lot of films, some semi commercial, and always consider the film making status of the producer before commenting. That's not to say judges (and reviewers) should not be honest but there are ways of criticising without offending or upsetting. Experienced film makers can be told where they may have gone wrong, but youngsters, and the less experienced should be guided and gently advised.

I mention this because clearly the IAC lost a group of prospective members right there. The IAC's place in the film making world is important, simply because there is no other organisation remotely similar. There are small groups of highly talented film makers, both commercial and non commercial but how great it would be if they all looked to the IAC to promote and exhibit their work! The Royal Photographic Society does this for still photographers and enjoys great, worldwide prestige. The IAC should be the film making equivalent. BAFTA is more than a touch out of our sphere but not all that different in aim. I confess to rather neglecting the club of which I'm a member, preferring to work on my own but, having made a film, it is often difficult to promote it, even when of a reasonably high standard. There are a multitude of semi commercial film festivals throughout the globe, some of which I, and I believe other, film makers enter. The IAC's flagship festival BIAFF is, to their credit, fairly high profile evidenced by the international flavour of the submissions, but that seems to be about it.

I'm sorry not to be making sensible suggestions so am just as pathetic as everyone else - I'll just keep making films!

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