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  The British International Amateur Film Festival took place in Bedford April 11th - 13th. Hosted by North Thames Region of the IAC
at Park Inn Hotel, St. Mary’s Street, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK42 0AR

Portrait of Jack Spring.
 Portrait of Sam Brown. Portrait of Freddie Beard and Linda Gough..
Portrait of Reg Lancaster.
Jack Spring maker of
Doors Opening.
Sam Brown - compere
for the youth screenings.
Freddy Beard (newly honoured with a
fellowship presented by Linda Gough.
Reg Lancaster in deep
thought about ... tea.
The doors opened and the crowds poured in. BIAFF was almost as busy as usual, though several old friends could not attend for various reasons. The lobby and bar were buzzing, films discussed, meetings arranged, old friends greeted and new ones made. Howard Smith and his team were delighted to have three films on show including for the first time one in the Sunday show.

The North Thames team coped admirably. A booking foul-up by the hotel meant some people had to be housed in another hotel, but shuttle buses and taxis were arranged free of charge and after initial misgivings most of those concerned were content with the deal. Jack and Lorna Gill managed the registration desk with their customary calm, good-humour.


On Friday night John Rowell and Marion Waine introduced a selection of winning A-V sequences from the IAC Peter Coles International Competition. They chose a wide range of styles with plenty to excite the mainly film-making audience. As the two disciplines grow closer there are plenty of good ideas to be absorbed for later use.
Portrait of Liam Sanderson.
Portrait of Ivor Rose.
Portrait of Susie Moore.
Portrait of Ken Baylis.
Portrait of Pamela Harrison.
Liam Sanderson of
Wales High School.
Ivor Rose,
IAC Chairman
Susan Moore
(a new IAC  fellow.)
Ken Baylis
film maker
Pamela Harrison
(IAC Administration)

Saturday Mini-Cinemas

Four screening rooms were on offer, each with a carefully varied programme to offer something for most tastes. It would have been even better with more viewers on hand in each.  Projection was provided by North Thames clubs. There was an annoying noise-bleed between two neighbouring rooms - a consequence of the flimsy, removable partition between them. In each cinema a member of IAC National Council acted as master-of-ceremonies, introduced the films and presented awards to the film makers.
Each break for tea and coffee signalled a barrage of conversation as people exchanged views about what they had seen and planned what to watch next. Often film makers were surrounded by admirers talking about their work.

Tony Grant having lived in Belgium for some years and now back in Scotland enjoyed seeing the range of films on offer.
Portrait of Tony Grant.
Portrait of David Newman.
Portrait of Dave Watterson.
Portrait of Linda Gough and Jim Whalley.
Tony Grant (from
Belgium to Scotland)
David Newman
(UNICA Medal winner)
Dave Watterson
(talking as usual)
Linda Gough congratulating Jim Whalley on
his becoming a Fellow of the IAC.

Saturday Gala Banquet

Often this can be a "rubber chicken" type of meal, but not in Bedford. It was very good indeed. To help break the ice at each table there was a quiz which set everyone talking. Brenda Granshaw as Chairman of North Thames was our host. Canon John Howden said an intriguing grace, which managed to involve: lights, camera and action! Penny Love was the m-c. Gerald Mee raised a toast to the IAC. After-dinner IAC Fellowships were bestowed on Susan Moore, Jim Whalley and Freddy Beard in recognition of their long-standing service to their IAC regions. Alan Atkinson presented the UNICA Medal for outstanding contribution to the IAC to David Newman.

In a special moment, Chairman Ivor Rose reported that as the IAC Administrative Secretary, Pamela Harrison, would be retiring later in the year, this was a last public occasion to show our appreciation for her years of service to the Institute. He presented her with champagne and she received the longest round of applause of the night.

Sunday Gala Show

Portrait of Brandon Fletcher, Max Marsh and Neal Russell.
Portrait of Andy Holt.
The table full of trophies. Stephanie Hazel received best acting award from Linda Gough.
Brandon Fletcher, Max Marsh
and Neal Russell stars of
A Fistful of Conkers.
Andy Holt maker of
The table full of
Stephanie Hazel received best acting award
from Linda Gough for her role in Groupie.
A buzz of excitement always accompanies the gala show when the main winners are screened. David Newman had taken care to organise a programme which mixed serious and light-hearted films and included a range of star ratings. (Past events have sometimes suffered from a surfeit of heavyweight, serious films one after the other.)

After welcoming everyone, Ivor Rose (Chairman) handed over to John Howden to present the films, which he did with clear diction that helped our foreign friends, good humour and a personal knowledge of many of the films and their makers. Linda Gough (President) presented the prizes and showed a knack of making nervous recipients relax while their photos were taken.
Of course not all the overseas winners could attend in person, but Alessandro Riconda, whose film Shame and Glasses was first on screen appeared in a 30-second greeting video. (Like many others he has written about the making of his film - see here.)
Inevitably the winners in the youth sections brought most life and excitement to the day.
Portrait of Laura Williamson, Dominic Aitken, Natalie Wilmot and Sean Nelis.
Portrait of Chris Eden-Green.
Young actor from 'Teddy Scare'.
Laura Williamson, Dominic Aitken, Natalie Wilmot and Sean Nelis
the forces behind Still Falling.
Chris Eden-Green maker
of Lineside.
A young actor from
Teddy Scare.

Jill Lampert having been on the final jury for the first time enjoyed asking delegates what their favourite film was and learning that every diamond winner and several others all had their champions.

Top Two

At the end of a wonderful programme of powerful films it was revealed that the Best British Entry was A Fistful of Conkers by the Wales High School Film and Animation Club and the Daily Mail Challenge Trophy for best overall film went to Fabian Grodde of Germany for his stunning animation Crossover, which you can watch here.