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  special awards | diamond | ***** | **** | *** | ** | * | Young People's
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BIAFF 2015 ... THE EVENT

Hotel reception
Arriving

Group in Bar
Friends together again

Gala Dinner prep
Ready for the Gala dinner

The Dutch
Dutch visitors Bouke, Margreet and Kees

Ned Cordery
Ned Cordery receives his FACI from Linda Gough

Sunday Cinema
Sunday audience

Sunday projectionists
John Myall Michael Orford Sunday projectionists

Geoff Harmer
Geoff Harmer won a Diamond award for Selfie

Bob Lorrimer
Robert Lorrimer won a Diamond award and Best Comedy for Writers Block

Ivor Rose
Ivor Rose announces the overall winner Copy That

Comment by Ken Wilson

Carol and I have been to 19 of the past 20 MOVIE/ BIAFF events since we joined the IAC in 1994. The only one we missed was Weymouth in 2012. Most have been great events with usually blistering sunny days spent watching a variety of imaginative non-commercial movies in darkened hotel conference rooms.
 
Sittingbourne in Kent, was the venue for 2015. We had no idea how far it was and just booked it anyway, but it became apparent that the Sat-Nav prediction of 4 hours and 10 minutes was unduly optimistic. Fifty mph speed limits on large stretches of the motorway and heavy traffic around the M25 as well as stops for petrol, food and comfort breaks, meant it took us over 6 hours to get there.
 
As we were the last to arrive on the Friday evening, and the meal was all about finished, we never expected to get fed, although we had paid for this as part of the weekend package. But Rita Hayes spoke to the staff and they were all very friendly and helpful and we had our own private sitting for the Friday dinner.
 
The hotel (The Coniston) was modern, very comfortable and spotlessly clean. The only issue was the confusion of controls for the taps for the bath and shower which seemed designed to baffle anyone without  a science degree. But I worked it out after some trial and error.
 
Food for the BIAFF events can sometimes be a problem due to the hotel having to cater for large numbers of people all at once, but we both thought that this year everything we had was first rate. There was a good selection of food and certainly what I chose was hot and well presented.
 
This year we had 5 mini cinemas to choose from on the Saturday. The decisions of which one to pick are always an issue as you usually only get the one chance to see the movies screened. It`s always a compromise and you have to pick the programme that appeals overall. Our choices were mostly good, though you always wonder what other gems you are missing.
 
Silent War by Mark Anthony Games was a well made shocker about domestic abuse and I was surprised it only received 4 stars. I would have placed it higher, but then, there are always many differences of opinion at these events.
The third show on Saturday was the Young Faces at BIAFF presentation and here we saw lots of potential talent for the future. Great imagination, humour and serious topics were handled well by very young film makers which left me feeling more optimistic for future events.
Water`s Edge a music video by Channel 7 was another film I think deserved better than its 3 stars. But then again, music videos tend not to be rated highly by many judges.
 
As always there was lots to see and discuss and even though the weekend seemed very full and hectic, we did get a few minutes here and there to speak to a film friends about what we had seen and sometimes to discuss the meaning behind some of the more obscure films.
 
Saturday was the usual gala dinner, though this time I had a surprise. Peter Rouillard who is well known from his running of the Guernsey Lily festival with his wife Mary, was supposed to speak after the dinner about his membership of the IAC. Unfortunately, he was taken ill and the organisers needed someone to read his speech for him. I don`t know how it happened, but suddenly I found myself in the frame and before I knew it, I had agreed to do it for Peter. This was a bit of a shock and unexpected and I read and re-read his speech in breaks during the dinner. I explained to Jill Lampert who was sat next to us what was going on so as not to appear rude.
 
After this, Saturday was over and it was the big Sunday show.  
This year we had the expected mix of comedies, thrillers and serious dramas, sometimes a touch incomprehensible and some with subtitles. This was the only real problem with the screenings over the various shows. Low ceilings are a real problem in hotels and in all the shows we attended, the bottom quarter of the screen was not visible. Whilst this is (kind of) manageable for films in English, the subtitled ones suffered badly and the Sunday show had around a dozen or more of us stood at the back so that we could read the titles over the heads of those in front. As each subtitled movie started, there was a rush from the seated audience to the back of the room, where we could stand without blocking those in front. This was a real issue for the film screenings.
 
But there were some really good films and a decent mixture of subject matter to keep us entertained. Unfortunately, due to the long journey, we left before the very end for the drive home, but we heard that Copy That, a really well made comedy, was the overall winner. A strong contender for me was Selfie by Geoff Harmer which is a very eerie thriller.
 
Overall it was an excellent weekend and well done to all the organisers for all their hard work.

Ken Wilson

(The webmaster thanks Keith Sayers and Michael Gough for the photographs)


Reception Desk
Welcome from Rita and Pip Hayes

Breakfast
Breakfast

Time to Chat
Making new friends

Mini Cinema
One of the Mini Cinemas

Andy Watson
Andy Watson projectionist

Ken Wilson
Ken giving Peter Rouillard's speech

Betty Jennings
Betty Jennings with her UNICA medal

John Astin
John Astin receives his FACI from Linda Gough

Sunday audience
Sunday audience

Colchester Club
Colchester Film Makers won a Diamond and Best Affiliated Club Entry

Comment by Mary Rouillard

Speaking personally, the weekend was marked by the absence of some of the "regulars". However, it was lovely to catch up with the many good friends who did attend. The social aspect of the festival is what makes it special for me.
The hotel was excellent, with members of staff being particularly helpful and efficient in their duties. The meals were served promptly and the food was always appetising. The tea/coffee breaks also ran smoothly, without the long queues we have experienced at previous festivals. My (probably annoying) requests for hot water during the breaks were dealt with swiftly and cheerfully.
And I believe some films were shown too ..... Incredibly, I didn't hear a single voice of dissent about the winner of the Daily Mail Trophy (although I expect there were some). We watched some superb work in a variety of genres. I am always amazed at the amount of talent that exists within the amateur movement.
So, all in all, a great weekend that was thoroughly enjoyable and that flew past much too quickly!

Mary Rouillard

Comment by Mike Shaw

Good food (served and not 'queued' for), excellent hotel staff service, a well furnished comfortable room, great company ­ and a superb variety of top­rate films: what more could one ask for on a BIAFF weekend?
Well for me, as so often is the case at these events, a seat at the Sunday 'winners' show with a view of the subtitles.
I'm told that the titles in foreign films 'have' to be at the bottom because otherwise they interfere, asthetically, with actor's eyelines. I, all those round me ­ and many I spoke with during the coffee breaks ­ would far rather have the eyeline 'spoiled' for a few moments than have to waft up and down and side to side to the annoyance of those behind in order to read the titles (unsuccessfully), or be forced to ignore the film and have a quiet nap for its duration.
Whether people have to add their own titling or it is done for them, perhaps the 'titlers' could bear in mind that BIAFF events are invariably held in low ceilinged, non-raked rooms for a number of commercial reasons, and that audiences really would like to understand and enjoy the films they're watching.

Mike Shaw

(Webmaster: Film makers put subtitles on their work for sending to a number of festivals, not solely for BIAFF.)


 

special awards | diamond | ***** | **** | *** | ** | * | Young People's
AV Awards | event  |  Festival Home


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