Re: Anthology Film Archives and Newfilmmakers Series and Withoutabox

From: Ken Bawcom (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Aug 26 2006 - 16:17:55 PDT

Thanks for admitting that the statement I objected to was "too much of
a blanket statement."

Either a film maker submits through WAB, or they don't. They may submit
directly. The filmmaker makes that choice, not the festival. We deal
with films as they come to us, and choose to accept WAB submissions. We
have no way of knowing if the same film would otherwise come in
directly from the filmmaker. Of course, we would rather get it directly
from the film maker, and not have WAB take a cut. But, I repeat, to
refuse WAB submissions would be to refuse those filmmakers who chose to
use the service, i.e. to not care about them, or their films. Your not
understanding that seems strange to me. The "way of knowing really" how
we would get a submission is to see how we actually got it, not to
conjecture about how we might have gotten it some other way, when we

To the best of my knowledge, the AAFF has always charged an entry fee,
and did not alter that fee based on WAB taking a cut. I agree that
WAB's practices can be seen as encouraging higher entry fees, and I
don't like that either. If a festival does raise fees to compensate for
WAB's cut, that is a bad thing.

I mentioned awards only in the context of my "perfect world" statement.
After 18 years of screening (and other things) for the AAFF, I could
write pages on how to do a film festival as if in a "perfect world,"
but I spared you that, and only mentioned awards, another major
monetary consideration, like entry fees. But you're right, they weren't
really part of the discussion. Sorry if that was confusing.

Ken B.

Quoting Freya <email suppressed>:

> --- 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
> strange.
>> 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
> withoutabox.
> 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.
> love
> Freya
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