Reflecting on awards and competitions…

6a00d8341e322053ef00e553db2c8e8833-800wi I have had literally hundreds of amazing emails, congratulating me on Gone Fishing and the Thunderclap awards. I wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to vote, and also for asking friends and family too vote too. Collectively, YOU made the award happen!

I have been mulling over something in the last few days though, and that is the point of competitions. Running the 100 meter sprint in the Olympics is a competition too –  it has a clear goal and it’s very easy to measure the outcome, and therefore the winner. But with artforms such as film, music, painting etc., it’s much harder to judge. In fact, on reflection, I have come to realise that the whole affair is a little ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, when I enter a competition, I would like to win, for the film, cast, crew, contributors and of course, my own career. I am not naive and know that these awards significantly impact on careers. But, having been to a number of festivals now and really wondered ‘what on earth are the jury thinking?’, I am starting to question the whole business. In some cases, there really seemed to be either a political agenda or no rhyme nor reason to the outcome.

This was position was strengthened at the TCM awards when I bumped into the guys who made one of the other films that did not win. I could see that they were putting on a brave face, and they felt they should have won a prize. In my eyes, I had to agree with them, they should have received a prize too. But then there is this enormous ‘get out of jail card’ which is, well that’s not how the judges felt. 

At the TCM awards, Richard Penfold, who won for ‘Leaving’ was gracious enough to mention Gone Fishing in his acceptance speech.  I am now going to take a leaf out his book. If we are lucky enough to win any more awards, I am going to try to single out one or two overlooked gems and talented film makers, and mention them in my speech too. Of course, this all relies on us winning another award and there is no certainty of that at all!

I try to remember (though in the excitement of awards and competitions it’s harder to remember), in this life and job, I am not really in competition with anyone else, I am only in a competition with myself – and that competition is to be the very best that can. It’s easy to forget this and get so competitive that I forget to help others, or ask for help from others.

Those of you who have watched the blog video from Rhode Island may remember that I had a little epiphany at the closing night screening – for a story teller, the only real award worthy of battle, is the audience reaction, their enjoyment of the yarn that you have spun, and if you are lucky enough, maybe your story touches them in a way that helps them makes some sense out of the meaninglessness they may be encountering in their own lives. I know for a fact that Gone Fishing has this effect with some people, and for me, that is a prize worth fighting for.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

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