Re: Anthology Film Archives and Newfilmmakers Series and Withoutabox

From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Aug 26 2006 - 15:37:08 PDT

--- Ken Bawcom <email suppressed> wrote:

> Quoting Freya <email suppressed>:
> > If you see withoutabox listed for a festival, then
> you
> > know that festival cares little for you and your
> film
> > or for ANY filmmakers. It has become a festival
> run by
> > beancounters and pod people.
> >
> I'm certainly not going to defend the business
> practices of WAB, I
> agree with many of the criticisms that have been
> posted, and could add
> a few of my own. But, the above statement is utter
> crap.

Okay it might be I was getting a little carried away
at that point as I expect for starters there might be
experimental programs run as part of very large
festivals that are somewhat seperate from the
administration of the main event, and there are also
festival fringe type things, so it is far too much of
a blanket statement, however the larger part of the
festivals probably are quite conventional commercial
style organisations in these cases still.

> The Ann Arbor
> Film Festival accepts entries from WAB, and we DO
> care for filmmakers
> and their films. Would we demonstrate that care by
> REFUSING to accept
> WAB entries, thus NOT allowing film makers who chose
> to market their
> films that way, to enter the AAFF? I have seen a

You wouldn't have to refuse the filmmakers, they could
still submit their work in the conventional way. I'm
suprised at your saying this it seems a little

> number of excellent
> submissions from WAB. The AAFF, and our audience,
> would be the poorer
> if we had not received them.

I expect you would still have received them, maybe not
theres no way of knowing really. They could certainly
still submit their work in the more conventional
manner at any rate.

> It is for the film maker to decide how, and where,
> to submit their
> films. It is for the festival involved to chose

Well actually that's not strictly true because the
economics of the situation may remove that choice as
the filmmaker may not be able to afford to pay fees.
That's not neccesarily always a bad thing but...

However in addition withoutabox removes what choice
there might be by insisting that the festival carries
a submission fee. If a festival wishes to use the
withoutabox system then they must impose a fee. The
festival effectively has no choice.

Thus as withoutabox spreads, so do the entry fees.
The filmaker has no choice in the matter. Each
festival that joins withoutabox increases the validity
of the system. They give power to it and legitimise
it. It may reach a point where festivals effectively
have to use withoutabox because it is the standard
method of entry to film festivals.

Already I expect there is some pressure for lasrger
festivals to use the system. Perhaps I am wrong in
thinking this but I get the impression that some
festivals feel that they need to use withoutabox
already. It's a slippery slope. Eventually it may
reach the point where festivals feel they do not have
a choice in the matter.

In addition there is the issue of the increase in fees
that comes with withoutabox. Ironically it is cheaper
to submit the films via withoutabox even tho it costs
the festival to use the withoutabox system.
Effectively the filmmakers are penalised for not using
Not exactly a fair system.

It may be that filmmakers would have been happy to
submit their work the conventional way but wanted to
avoid being penalised in this way. Perhaps even the
very films you said you liked.

So basically withoutabox removes choices for the
festivals as well as the filmmakers.

> those that best
> represent their aesthetic, to program. In a perfect
> world, there would
> be no entry fees, and all awards would be large
> enough to fund the

I don't see that awards are that relevant to the
discussion. I certainly havn't mentioned them!

Are you suggesting that entry fees are all to do with
awards perhaps?

In that case maybe the awards should go, or not be
awards that carry a prize as such.

I'm not sure what you mean here.

> awarded film maker's next film. Unfortunately, in
> the real world, for
> non-profit arts organizations it is a constant
> struggle for scarce
> resources, and survival.

Well yes, that's something I have been saying.

As I've said I'm torn about the issue of entry fees
and have largely till now seen it as a bit of a non
issue as I can't afford them anyway so it's not like I
would be making any decision in the matter.

It's always seemed, as you say, a decision for the
filmaker to make. Withoutabox changes that dynamic and
removes the choice from the filmmaker. It also
increases fees for festivals who use it as they then
have to cover the withoutabox fees too.



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