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The world of non-commercial film and A-V


BIAFF logo.    IAC logo. Each year we run
the IAC British International Amateur Film Festival

The BIAFF 2018 Competition is open for entries until 31st Jan 2018.
See here for more information.

Each year around 250 movies arrive from all round the globe for our competition. We are most unusual in having no limit on length, subject matter, type of movie or age of film maker.

In February teams of judges come together and assess all the entries. These are graded according to their quality and the very best go forward to a final jury which awards special prizes. Towards the end of March the results are announced. About two weeks after Easter the British International Amateur Film Festival is held showing a wide selection of the best entries and runners-up. It includes a prize-giving ceremony.

After BIAFF 2014 Jill Lampert wrote about judging for BIAFF - what happens and how it is all organised.

It's not ALL about winning ...

Because every single movie is studied, graded and given a written critique - many movie makers use the competition as a way to check their progress. They don't expect to win a prize, but watch to see if they have moved from one grade to another. They accept that the notes are impartial comments - the kind you cannot get from family and friends - even if they do not always agree with what the judges say! What level have you reached this year?

To make this effective the judging process is carefully designed to be as thorough and consistent as possible at all stages.

There are three main reasons  to take part in competitions:

  • to get an independent view of your work
  • to win prizes
  • to get your movie seen

The Daily Mail Trophy.To which we might add that a having a deadline to work to, often helps get our films completed.

Even if we are runners-up our film may be chosen for showing on a big screen at the festival and thus be seen by lots of film enthusiasts.  It may even be selected for the IAC Video Library and become available for hire to clubs and individuals. Each year someone will win the top prize, the Daily Mail Trophy which has been awarded since 1934. (These days they do not get to take the cup home for a year ... but do get photographed with it and have a smaller trophy to keep.)

There is a charge for taking part in the competition. This goes towards the considerable costs involved in running it.

When is a competition a festival?

"Festivals" and "competitions" go together. In much of Europe they happen simultaneously. A short-list of films is selected beforehand. These are shown at a festival where the public can see them . A jury sits with the festival audience, assesses the films, discusses them with the audience and awards prizes. It is not unusual for a festival to last many days.

In Britain we do it differently !

BIAFF entries are completely judged in advance. The festivals are celebratory weekend events showing the winning entries and presenting prizes to their makers. The jury do not speak in public about the films but write critiques on each entry and these are sent to the film makers.

It seems strange to many other countries that there is no separate British national competition. IAC has always believed it is important to be open to entries from anywhere in the world. That stops us becoming too insular and complacent. It also means that we get to see the best work of amateurs from all over the planet which can be inspiring.

Find out more about our annual festival - here. You can read about how many of the recent top films were made in this section

Want to take part in festivals - either watching or entering?

There are thousands of festivals around the world - we list some of the best in our Forthcoming Festivals page. It is worth trying some European ones or the annual UNICA festival which is hosted by a different country each year. You can combine a holiday and a film treat at those events. For regional and local competitions also keep an eye on your IAC Regional page and our Events Diary.