/ KMF: The People's Choice?

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Frank the Husky - on 17 Nov 2013
The voting for this award cannot be judged fair under the current way of doing things. "Climbing 1" had about 5 screenings over Sat and Sun, whereas "Adventure & Exploration" got 2 (or possibly 3) in smaller venues. I know there are logistical issues around the size of the venue and more people probably want to see the climbing films than the non climbing ones, but this inevitably skews the voting massively in favour of the big budget climbing docudramas like The Last Great Climb. I imagine that will win again despite not being the best film.

I think the value of the award is currently meaningless. Is there any way that things can be changed to make the voting more representative? Could votes for a film that is only shown once have double or triple weighting? Does it even matter?
Mark Collins - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: I think your argument is valid, although looking at the wider picture the venues and amounts of showings I assume are based on demand, which out weighs any genre bias in my view. Also, you have to go back to 2009 to find Alastair Lee's last People's Choice win. The other awards help to give balance, non-climbing films have won the Grand Prize for the last 2 years (Crossing the Ice and Crossing the Ditch). Personally I expect a climbing bias, and glad of it to be honest. That said, I wouldn't like to see the other films pushed out anymore than they are currently. There are only so many power screams and big whippers I can take. Perhaps adding a non-climbing film to the "Climbing X" programme would give these films fairer exposure, yet remain easy enough to manage within the current model.
Offwidth - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

There has always been some pretty blatant lobbying as well. I can't remember the last time the people's choice was my favourite film but equally I can't remember a bad people's choice. If I could change one thing about the films it would be banning 80 minute 'epics,. In fact a 40 minute maximum would be great. I normally enjoy extreme skiiing and snowboarding films but Into the Mind was pretentious tosh lacking human touch, clearly cost a fortune and made me feel sick due to the spinning images: it must be a record for walk-outs. How can any reasonable selection panel allow through such stuff at full length.

I loved And Then We Swam, The Boy Who Flies, and Defaid a Dringo and enjoyed all the films in the Climbing sessions.
shantaram - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: One of my gripes about the KMF the last few years is the grouping of films into climbing, biking, snowsports etc. I much prefer a selection of films showing different sports and activities in each 3 hour slot. As much as I love climbing, mountaineering, biking, snowsports I find watching 3 hours of films of the same sport/discipline totally soporific. This would also make the voting for peoples choice much more rounded, and people might get to watch some great films they might not have thought to watch. The 'Adrenline' selection of films at this years KMF was by far and away the best selection of films I saw. I loved the 3 Seb Monthaz films - A Fine Line, Le Petit Bus Rouge (although could have done without the clown outfits) and the steep ski film. And Then We Swam was pretty good too. Although The Last Great Climb was well shot and impressive, it felt like the same formula being churned out for the 3rd year in a row by Alastair Lee, and what was with the voiceover!
puppythedog on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky: Who won? Just got home to Colcehster after the long drive and I'm curious.
Si Withington - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

Distilled won Peoples Choice
puppythedog on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to siwithington: Brilliant, pleased for Mr Diffley. A bloody good film I thought.
Mark Collins - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Yes, got my vote. Good to see you James.
puppythedog on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to Mark Collins: You too, see you next year but hopefully in between :-) Good luck in Yosemite, I look forward to hearing/reading about it.
Frank the Husky - on 17 Nov 2013
In reply to shantaram: I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding the groupings.

I thought The Last Great Climb was the cold & dry version of Autana. I knew who was going to be in it, what they would say and what would happen...and I was right. As at least half the climbing footage showedthe climber moving towards the camera it was obviously was staged which took away any sense of adventure. It's a shame, but also clearly a formula that works.
Jim Lancs - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

<<As at least half the climbing footage showedthe climber moving towards the camera it was obviously was staged which took away any sense of adventure. >>

Indeed! Haven't been so underwhelmed by a film in ages.

I loved 'Rockin Cuba' and think they should bring out the soundtrack album.
In reply to Offwidth:
> Into the Mind was pretentious tosh lacking human touch, clearly cost a fortune and made me feel sick due to the spinning images: it must be a record for walk-outs.

I was disappointed with that one too. It looked amazing on the trailer released earlier this year, the end result didn't work for me.
Si Withington - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Lancs:
> (In reply to Frank the Husky)

> I loved 'Rockin Cuba' and think they should bring out the soundtrack album.

I agree and just found it >> http://www.barakaflims.com/en/shop
Jim Lancs - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to siwithington:

> I agree and just found it >> http://www.barakaflims.com/en/shop

Thank you!
Mick B - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to siwithington: That's good to know.Looking forward to seeing this at Wirksworth's first Aventure film festival at the end of the month, http://www.thenorthernlightcinema.co.uk/index.php/home/waff
simondgee - on 18 Nov 2013
In reply to Jim Lancs:
Yep was my fave too inspiring soundscape...much more than just a soundtrack...likewise Epic of Everest which though not in the comp crept under your skin...it did waht great films do... 'affect you' and when you were least expecting it...underwhelmed by Last Great Climb...
Andy Perkins - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> I think the value of the award is currently meaningless. Is there any way that things can be changed to make the voting more representative? Could votes for a film that is only shown once have double or triple weighting? Does it even matter?

To describe the award as meaningless is to accord no value to the views of the hundreds of Festers who voted. The People have a view, the Judges have a view, and it's interesting and exciting to see how those views contrast.

It matters that we have a People's Choice. That's because the Festival has 2 way communication: from the film makers to the people and vice versa. There is probably no perfect voting system for The People's Choice, just as there is no perfect system for selecting the MP to represent us in government, but any system is better than none at all.

From a Festival point of view, it would make things a damn sight easier if there was no People's Choice. We have to wait until Sunday 3pm before we can programme the Best of Kendal. But the Festival team like a bit of excitement in life, so I guess we'll stick with it.

I hope you had a great time at the Festival this year. I certainly did!
All the best
ANDY P
Offwidth - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Perkins:

That didn't answer the issues Frank raised. If the popular films are pushed and are available in more sessions in bigger venues with an audience that tends to be more climber/mountaineering oriented the Peoples' Choice IS distorted. You yourself are guilty of enthusiastically pushing films you like (when you're a presenter of talks and film sessions) and different presenters push different films (at what point from the audience perspective of usually not knowing the presenter well do honest recommendations stop and cynical market plugs start). Peoples' Choice is worth extra DVD sales after the festival.

Are these issues a real big deal... I'd say not; is the Peoples' Choice worth keeping... probably (for all the hassle its nice to vote and there are clear marketing gains for the festival as a whole)? A rough weighting (on showings and venue size) could be done and would help level the playing field and the weighting factors could be done in advance (and multiplied by the votes to get the winner) and certainly would spice things up. If hypothetically everyone voting at least saw all the best films I think the choice would change some years. In past years the best films often got reshown to help with this more but I guess the festival is a victim of its own success in having less space to do this this year.

I can never find the stamina to see more than half of the films in the festival, despite spending all day Friday and catching a few others at other times. This is good for the festival as I find the Best of Kendal is nearly always worth seeing when it tours.

Whatever else you do pleaase stop showing 60 to 90 minute films that will likely get most of the audience walking out. If in doubt on anything less than brilliantly popularist insist on a shorter cut.

Frank the Husky - on 19 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Perkins: Hi Andy, thanks for your thoughtful input. I will change my view and say that currently, the award is meaningful within the strictures that are imposed upon it. It is undoubtedly useful as a marketing tool, but not as a genuinely reflective piece of information.

I could only afford a single day ticket so I only got to see three and a half programmes...Climbing 1, Mountain, Culture & Environment and half of Adventure & Exploration. I only got to see half that because it was in one of the smaller venues just the once on Saturday and that was full 20 minutes before it started. A couple of dozen people were turned away from that and probably half that number came and peered hopefully through the door whilst it was showing.

The Last Great Climb (despite it's obvious disappointment) appeared to take over some of the scheduling as there was such a demand for it. The showings were consequently not "fair", and the voting similarly unrepresentative.

I disagree that such an imperfect system is better than none. Perhaps each category could have a people's choice and then the genuinely adventurous stuff (e.g. the paragliding dude & his friend in Malawi) would get the recognition they deserve.

Anyways yes, I did enjoy myself thank you. Getting Siliva Vidal on the programme was inspired...she's the antidote to the tweeting/blogging sponsored "athletes" with their marketing budgets and hashtags; a serious adventurer who deserves the respect she gets (and more besides).

Andy Perkins - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> It is undoubtedly useful as a marketing tool, but not as a genuinely reflective piece of information.
>

Any prize at the Festival is useful as a marketing tool for a film maker.
The People's Choice reflects both what the people go to see ( there is always greater demand for climbing and mountaineering films, for example) and what they think of the film once they've seen it.

>
> The Last Great Climb (despite it's obvious disappointment) appeared to take over some of the scheduling as there was such a demand for it. The showings were consequently not "fair", and the voting similarly unrepresentative.

Yes - there was a massive demand for The Last Great Climb. The special screening sold out so people "chose" to see it. That it didn't win People's Choice given it was probably the most viewed film in the Festival reflects something, eh?

>
> I disagree that such an imperfect system is better than none. Perhaps each category could have a people's choice

We already have 12 awards. Having a People's Choice in each category would increase massively the number of awards and the duration of the prize ceremony: let's keep things simple. Kendal in general and the awards ceremony in particular are complex enough to organise as it is.

>
> Anyways yes, I did enjoy myself thank you. Getting Siliva Vidal on the programme was inspired...she's the antidote to the tweeting/blogging sponsored "athletes" with their marketing budgets and hashtags; a serious adventurer who deserves the respect she gets (and more besides).

Totally agree with you there.

See you next year. Come say hi at the stage, in the bar or on the dance floor!

ads.ukclimbing.com
Andy Perkins - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Andy Perkins)
>
> pleaase stop showing 60 to 90 minute films .

I agree that many films are too long. 40 minutes is a good maximum for a Festival cut, and we do often ask film makers for shorter Festival cuts. However, on that basis we might not have selected The Crash Reel which clearly worked. I quote a recent message from a film maker: "it's great for a film-maker to incite emotion in an audience. It's the Holy Grail." And Crash Reel did that in spades.

>
> Are these issues a real big deal... I'd say not; is the Peoples' Choice worth keeping... probably (for all the hassle its nice to vote and there are clear marketing gains for the festival as a whole)?

If it's not a big deal then why argue the point?
But the reference to "marketing gains for the Festival" completely misses the point. As I said in my reply to Frank, the gain for the Festival is to involve you the audience in the judging. It has nothing to do with marketing.

>A rough weighting (on showings and venue size) could be done and would help level the playing field and the weighting factors could be done in advance (and multiplied by the votes to get the winner) and certainly would spice things up.

Totally flawed I'm afraid - what about if we show a film in a massive venue but relatively few people go to it (which happens). What about if we show a film on Sunday at 9am instead of 3pm on Saturday? What about if we show it away from the Brewery in venues like The Box where attendances are often low? All these things affect viewing numbers and therefore what the end result of People's Choice is. I could sit down and spend a day working out the results of your proposal if
1. I had seen the voting counts, which I haven't and
2. If I hadn't already spent weeks of my time on Festival organsiation and the 4 days of the Festival working 8am to 2am. It's time to get get my life back, and all this debate is delaying that.

>If hypothetically everyone voting at least saw all the best films I think the choice would change some years.

But they don't and can't. Nobody can see everything at Kendal apart from the judges who have my total respect, shut in a room for a few days to watch films back to back with a total run time of 26 hours.
And who is to decide which films are "the best"? On what criteria? As I said to Frank, let's keep it simple. Kendal is complex enough as it is.

>In past years the best films often got reshown to help with this more but I guess the festival is a victim of its own success in having less space to do this this year.
>

We nearly doubled film capacity this year. So no, there is more space not less, and we try to show the films we think people will want to see.


>
> You yourself are guilty of enthusiastically pushing films you like (when you're a presenter of talks and film sessions) and different presenters push different films (at what point from the audience perspective of usually not knowing the presenter well do honest recommendations stop and cynical market plugs start).

However, this is the point where you have really wound me up.
"Guilty" of enthusiasm? As if it was some kind of crime?
It is my role as a presenter to be enthusiastic about things.

Given the amount of stuff to see at Kendal, the presenting team often get asked for recommendations for "must see" films and that's why we provide those recommendations during the sessions. The suggestion that our presenters recommendations are anything other than honest or that there are cynical market plugs is, quite frankly, pretty offensive.

If you were at the premiere of Distilled and seen me unable to speak afterwards on stage with emotion, remembering all the great times of climbing with Cavey, Brendan Murphy, Roger Payne and Mal Duff (all mentioned or pictured in the film) you would understand how genuine the Festival is, and that at heart it's just a bunch of people getting together and getting inspired to get out there and do more.
In reply to Andy Perkins: Hi Andy,

Thanks for all your hard work on the festival this year. I had a fantastic time, and many of our group said we had the best Kendal ever!

Brilliant to see you introduce Distilled, and I'm really chuffed to see it win People's Choice, I enjoyed the film very much.

Also excellent that The Last Great Climb scooped an award, and of course all the other brilliant films too. We have a report going up on UKC today.

Looking forward to next year already, and as always really impressed with how far you guys have taken the festival. Kendal town was really buzzing for the whole weekend. The staff at my hotel said it was a really big event for them business-wise every year, which is good to know. You should all be very proud. And the beer was as ever excellent.

Thanks!

Jack
Sterling - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

> ... the beer was as ever excellent.

Shame it's 3.95 a pint though! You might think Kendal had been mysteriously transported to London for the weekend. The Brewery clearly does very-well indeed from thirsty "Festers" thank-you...
Andy Perkins - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Thanks Jack. Your support at UKC much appreciated. See you soon for some climbing I hope!
In reply to Andy Perkins:

I'd like to echo Jack's comments. It is easy to nit-pick the finer details but just getting together an event like this is incredibly impressive in itself.

I enjoyed myself from start to finish, drank several pints of MRT (the special beer brewed for the event which also supports mountain rescue) and met loads of old friends. It was almost impossible to walk for more than 50m without bumping into someone that you could catch up with.

Kendal IS the climbing community's annual gathering and as such makes the whole event the People's Choice in my opinion.

Congratulations and thanks.

Alan
victim of mathematics - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> I think the value of the award is currently meaningless. Is there any way that things can be changed to make the voting more representative? Could votes for a film that is only shown once have double or triple weighting? Does it even matter?

Think about this for more than a few seconds. Can you come up with a more equitable weighting structure than one person one vote? It might have its problems, but if you can't propose a sensible alternative then stop moaning.

Andy Perkins - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

>
> Kendal IS the climbing community's annual gathering and as such makes the whole event the People's Choice in my opinion.
>
> Congratulations and thanks.
>

Thanks Alan. It's a team effort - the Festival organisers, the volunteers, the sponsors, the film makers and lecturers and of course the audience. It's a real community event, I'm proud of it and what it does, and that's why, despite its imperfections, I will defend it vigorously.
Frank the Husky - on 20 Nov 2013
In reply to Jack Gsociable - UKC Chief Editor: I think you're on thin ice lumping Last Great Climb with "other brilliant films". As many have said, it was formulaic and consequently predictable. Still, I appreciate that is either your opinion and/or a useful thing to say about a commercial partner.

Kendal is a good, sociable do, and I have never questioned that. I was simply questioning the value of TPC and I haven't heard anything to change my mind. In the end it probably doesn't matter.
Offwidth - on 21 Nov 2013
In reply to Andy Perkins:

I didnt see The Crash Reel but if filmakers knew they needed a festival cut I'm sure we wouldn't lose much if they refused to make one and didnt come. All the long films I have seen in recent years were average at best often from huge budgets and its tiresome to sit thorugh such when they go on and on and it removes the chance of better shorter films that could have been there if they had been cut short.

I'd love to see way more shorts and I do wonder how to encourage this more. You do lots already on the training and development side but more time gaps or easier hurdles for short films would help move from the training position via a space to exhibit and become the next generation of prize winners.

Why bother if its not a big deal...by thinking about the little things while they can be fixed they don't become big things.

I don't believe you don't recognise marketing gains it may not be your key concern but it clearly operates. The whole festival is linked to all sorts of money making business. Making people feel more involved when they spend money is marketing 101.

Sorry but my idea isnt totally flawed no more than the current system is. Most venues are full on the weekend and I wasn't aiming for perfect accuracy I was seeking a small bias back against the most popular mountaineering and climbing content which I think would be well deserved. You could do this in advance and just use simple mulitipliers which would be very minimal hassle. I would go further and maybe weight ski/bike/paraglide films double. The people would still be choosing but the choice might be more realistic in that a lot of these films get missed by many at the festival.

Debate is what happens to improve things and its in the festivals interest to listen. I know how busy you are individually and how much you have put in over the years to this and stuff like BMC winter lectures. We are surrounded by keen volunteers: I myself did a guidebook which took nearly every waking hour outside work for 5 years and goodness knows how much petrol money but that's what volunteers do, for the love of the work.

Personally I trust your recommendations both in honesty and in in their accuracy and have followed them over the years. Thing is ordinary Joe audience wont know you or if you might be linked commercially and they haven't climbed with your mates with all those shared experiences either. For many its more a commercial choice to spend money at Kendal and less of a community one (welcomeing though the festival is).

Exile - on 21 Nov 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

What you said
Offwidth - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Exile:

I guess I agree with Alan as well but I am sort of connected as is he and Jack and Andy. It all feels a bit too comfortable and I'd like to see more diversity away from the connected and the middle class. More edgy fringe stuff. More films and speakers on the way up (the free expedition award short presentations hidden away in Kendal college used to be a highlight for me). More to encourage the active young on tight budgets. This is a community non for profit (well hidden at times... I'd have it under the logo whereas even on the website it's 2 clicks away from the front page) and I'd like the community to help those who need more help. Stuff is done already with new filmmakers workshops, camping to cut accommodation costs etc but I'm sure we could do more. I even feel sorry for Adidas (see the other thread) suffering snobbery in the commercial pecking order from the more privaledged end of the adventure world. Maybe they could shake things up by sponsoring more directly identified community linked work rather than the festival as a whole. We think it cost us around 300 each to come for a long weekend in our comfy B&B all money except petrol to the local economy and the festival: it's tempting to chase that money and ossify rather than add extra costs and work by being a bit more community spirited to keep the festival fresh for the future.
Exile - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Best bet is to contact one of the directors and put your thoughts to them I would think.
Offwidth - on 22 Nov 2013
In reply to Exile:

I talk to plenty of folk. Just wanted some debate here. Another issue is that kendal is even more white than our very white walls and crags.
Exile - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Isn't that outdoor sports generally?

Offwidth - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Exile:

Sure but I dont understand why it seemed even worse at kendal. Having said that, in quite a few areas of british life, social diversity is getting worse after getting better for years.
Exile - on 24 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I didn't think KMF was any less diverse than any of the crags I've been to this year.
Offwidth - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Exile:

OK, I saw a few thousand folk at Kendal and only a handfull that I recall that were obviously from an ethnic minority (including a VP of the BMC). Its not a true sample as I only thought about it on the saturday but it is something I tend to notice (as I think we need to do more to support participation and role models from other ethnic groups, as its very odd when the percentage in the population is above 10%). Even 'deleting' Chris Tan and a few of his pals, as I climb with them a lot, by the time I've seen an equivalent number of people at the crags I've usually seen more than that. Our crags are too white, but Kendal seemed whiter to me. When it comes to 'hillwalking' I see more ethnic minorities, although it tends to be on shorter walks in popular areas near cities (like Ladybower). The films of course were very diverse, and on more activities than climbing; as such I would have expected increased numbers over the average climbing levels.
Kelcat - on 25 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I wouldn't normally comment; however..
I think the festival was very representative of our sport in general. I spent 4 days volunteering and covered most of the venues. I met & spoke with people from diverse backgrounds and interests - however the festival is, to use your phrase, "white" - I think the mix I saw at Kendal reflects the mix I see at crags across the UK. It might not reflect the UK's population - but it does reflect our sport/hobby/interest. I think you should also factor in the (almost) complete lack of an ethnically diverse population in Cumbria, as I suspect the festival draws heavily from this pool. When we first moved here lots of years ago from Manchester we found it almost disturbing that you don't see anyone from these backgrounds - but that's just how it seems to be away from the cities - it's certainly not an effect of the festival not being inclusive.
What I did find especially encouraging this year was an apparent increase in younger visitors to the festival (& yes I am now old enough that they're a bit like policemen!) I spent a while talking to a couple of young film makers who said that getting their film into the festival was Christmas & winning the lottery all rolled into one - this was as they added up their coppers to buy a coffee.
Offwidth - on 26 Nov 2013
In reply to Kelcat:

In the end excuses and under-stated inclusivity don't change anything. It should be less white (and I think a bit less middle class) and I think the organisers and major partners should be looking at ways to help improve the situation (alongside some obviously much more important organisational tasks). I saw maybe a slight increase in younger folk this year and a good few of them were from other adventure sports (like the slackliner group); most of the younger climbers from my home area that normally consider it didn't come this year.

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