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BIAFF 2008 - JUDGING

What happened?

There are two stages to judging, though both take place on the same weekend.
A series of first-stage judges work in groups of three people.
There were five groups this year all working in separate rooms. At each tea/coffee and meal break people changed groups so that over the weekend everyone worked with everyone else.
These people graded the entries from 1-star to 5-stars.
The 5-star entries were passed on to the final jury who decided the special prizes and the Diamond Awards.
From each group of three judges, one person writes the judges' comments representing the views of all of them.

Who were the judges?

Final judges -
Mike Whyman FACI ( ex-JVC )
Reg Lancaster FACI (Joint Vice-President of the IAC) and
Werner Van den Bulck (Belgium)

First-stage judges -
Alan Colegrave, Rob Day FACI, Trevor Ermel, Stephen Green, Ron Prosser LACI,
Jean McRonald FACI, Ken McRonald FACI, Pat Menmuir LACI, Ivor Rose, Brian Saberton FACI,
Norman Speirs FACI, George Theaker, Jan Watterson, Alan Whippy LACI, Gwen Whippy LACI

Werner Van den Bulck talks about his career and judging in Belgium

Werner is a rare type of filmmaker - a professional working in television and also a hobbyist.

He got his first Super 8 camera at the age of 16. A year or two later when it was time to choose a career, the thing he wanted to do most was make movies. He was advised to look to television.

He applied to TV school and after five days of tests he was turned down. After a weekend of despair he realised that there was still nothing else he wanted to do so he turned up at the school anyway. They let him in, and he found lots of other hopefuls who had done the same as him.

After getting his diploma he had a couple of tough years when he had to work for free. Then he had the chance to take an exam for national Flemish television, and he came top. He was assigned to be an editor. After ten years of editing his eyes began to suffer so he asked to transfer to be a cameraman. As a cameraman he worked in studios, became a specialist in Skymote (remote controlled crane) and then joined a news team - where he still works. This is his dream job.
His personal film making stopped in the early days of video, when the results were not so good and his life was busy with a young family. Then he saw the results of the Sony VX1000 mini dv camera and it inspired him to return to making his own movies. He rejoined the same club he had belonged to in his teens and is now its chairman.
He makes atmospheric films about places and events, travel movies and short joke movies. His current project is a documentary on pollution and the energy crisis.
Competitions in Belgium follow a stairway system. First there are club competitions. Films with more than 70% (all films are marked out of 100) go forward to the provincial competitions and the top ones from those go to the national competition. The winners are sent to Unica. The juries for the club competitions must include at least one provincial judge who has had training in judging.
At provincial level the judging is done by five judges who sit with the audience and have to give their marks immediately. There are problems with this method as there can be wide discrepancies between the marks for some films.
For the last couple of years some people have been working to change the system based on what they have seen at BIAFF, Guernsey and in the Netherlands, but others still have a lot of reluctance.
This year for the time the pre-selection was done by theme - grouping together travel and reportage, features, and documentaries - using sets of five judges who particularly like each theme. They also tried to give the judges time to write reports for the filmmakers similar to British write-ups. It is thanks to Willy Van der Linden that the British style of write-up became known.
Wener thinks that the pre-selection worked well this year. Time will tell if the changes will take root and if the national judging will adopt similar changes.


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Page updated on 16 January 2011
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