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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hometown and Time Called

2 things today.

A) Last night we hove through several hours of student films at the first ASIFA-East jury screenings for the year.
Time was called several times ("time" meaning, stop the film now please).
It's very important for students to know why this is.
1) It's possible you had such an awful film that nobody wanted to sit through it.
I don't think we had a single case of this last night.
Fact is, shitty films have a fascination factor and they sometimes play longer than better films.
2) Many folks watching your films have seen LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of films, especially student films. It's easy to get a sense of how hard someone worked, or how much care and love was put into a film. Having time called on your film can mean "This is great, we know where this guy is coming from".
3) Several of the films have been seen by many folks before. They are online, or included in podcasts like Frederator. People know these films well enough and can make a call on them without seeing the whole thing.
4) We had 4 hours of screenings to cram into 3 (and still didn't fit it all in).
My point being really that having your film cut short under these circumstances is not a sign that you've made a shitty movie and often it's quite the opposite.

B) At long last, I have a film playing in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia in the big animation film festival they have there every year.



I called time part way through your post...

But, Seriously.
I was at this event last year and we had to call "time" a few er.....times.

And some of it was just being worn down by the onslaught of films.
It can test the nerves for sure.
Even when the work is good.

Nice posted image too...The guys look mighty comfy there in the joey pouch.


David B. Levy said...

Hi Elliot,

Those are some good insights into last night. I would also venture that many times the crime of films we had to stop were that they were just not compelling enough to the audience. We all know when we start to feel tedium and it happens for a variety of reasons. There were a lot of things that I found dull or obvious which others seemed to gasp at with delight, surprise, or enjoyment. To each his own.

Elliot Cowan said...

"many times the crime of films we had to stop were that they were just not compelling enough to the audience"

Well yes.
I tend to be a harsh critic and was trying to put a positive spin on these things...

I know I called time on at least 2 things that Linda B was very taken by.
1 of them I liked quite a lot but was done with it after a minute and a half and the other was the kind of thing I especially dislike.

justsim said...

Calling time is always a hot button at ASIFA events. Entering the festival doesn't guarantee anyone a FULL screening of their film, only that it will be considered up against the other films playing that eve. The ASIFA screening is an open screening process, unlike most other festivals which may shut off your film even quicker, the difference being, you will never know if that happened behind closed doors. ASIFA has open screening nights where you can play your film for an audience if you want to have the entire film shown. This is a competition after all, not an open screening. Having time called on your film is not an easy thing to hear, you have put so much time and effort into it, only to hear people say they have seen enough of it. That sucks. But I agree with Elliot, that doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad film. Try to go away with a positive attitude; you've completed a film, showed it (or at least part of it) to a room full of industry professionals who may have seen something they liked. There were a few films I enjoyed last night as well, which had time called, or were stopped after 5min, which I waned to see the rest of. I am going to go online and search for the artist, and probably learn more about them from their website than I would have if I saw their entire film. So if your film was called "Time" on last night, don't worry to much about it. Just keep making films and showing them, you never know what could come of it.

Elliot Cowan said...

"So if your film was called "Time" on last night, don't worry to much about it. Just keep making films and showing them, you never know what could come of it."

This is really the essence of it all, isn't it?
Spielberg still makes films people walk out of...

David B. Levy said...

Oh, and, huge congrats on your film playing in Melbourne! Go Elliot!

Elliot Cowan said...

Cheers Dave.
It's had a good run this year.

I'll have to finish the current one so I'll have something to send out for next years festivals.

G3T Films said...

That sounds really harsh. So it's student competition where you play your film to industry professionals who have the option to call 'Time' and stop the film?

What about stories with a slow build up to create particular sense at the end of the film? Or are they just being judged on their Animation?

PS. Nice to hear you're work come back downunder.

Elliot Cowan said...

G3T - not quite.
These are jury screenings to decide what goes into the ASIFA-East film festival.
Individual films are given a score, but this is not the competition as such.

Films that do have a slow build up can be at a disadvantage.
However, there's a way to create a slow build that's interesting and doesn't get called.

Dave Levy, if he reads this, will probably have something sensible to add.

David B. Levy said...

Hi G3T,

Harsh or not, what our festival jury process does is what every festival jury does around the world. When you submit a film to the average festival, they will have a selection process where a jury of five sit in a closed door room and watch films for a week. Many films may be stopped after 30 seconds. Then, once that 5 person jury makes their picks, a festival director can override them and shuffle their picks at whim.

At ASIFA-East we have an open selection process where the winning films are chosen by a large jury of voting members. Sometimes we have 100 people voting at once.

And, this year we have 130 films to watch over 4 three hour evenings and we did not have the time or option to even watch every film all the way through.

Elliot Cowan said...

Just like magic!
I'll try it again....

Dave Levy, if he reads this, will probably bake me a batch of delicious cup cakes.

David B. Levy said...

Darn, I'm out of eggs and milk. Next time, Elliot. Next time.

G3T Films said...

That makes perfect sense now. 100 people voting at once sounds like it'd make for a fun yet charged evening.

I meant to be producing an animation on an ancient looking 35mm machine this semester at school. Not that I consider myself much of an animator, but if it does get made hopefully one day it'll have time called for the right reasons.

Don't forget to buy cocoa, Dave Levy. Everyone loves the chocolate!


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