Saturday, 13 June 2015

BFI Voyager poster designs and a confusing competition.

Last October, Harper Voyager and the BFI teamed up to announce a competition as part of their science fiction film festival taking place in November.

The competition was an exciting idea and something which instantly appealed to me – design a film poster of a science fiction novel that has not yet been adapted to the big screen. Several of my own pieces of artwork were inspired by classic SF, so for me it was a no brainer to take some of these pieces a step further and adapt them into fictitious film posters.

The first being HG Wells' When the Sleeper Awakes, which inspired my painting, Awakening. For me, this book still rates as one of the best pieces of dystopian fiction; a remarkable work for its age (of which the same can be said for all Wells' work!).

My second entry was Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop. I've read several of Aldiss' books, but Non-Stop remains my favourite and is the sort of story that you can imagine would make the most fantastic film.

My third and final entry was a new piece of artwork I created especially for the occasion – based on my all-time favourite SF novel, Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars. A tall order and a big ask! I hardly felt qualified to even attempt illustrating this one, as I felt I could never do it justice. But I did my best, and I was very happy with the results.

With all my pieces, I chose a slightly retro design – imagining how the film posters and tag lines would have been, had these been adapted to the big screen in the 1960s and 70s, back in the days when illustrated film posters were as common as photographic designs, if not more so.

The competition deadline was early November, with the winner due to be announced at a BFI event in December. Well, December came and went without word of the competition. So did January. Then February. A few people bothered chasing it up on Twitter, to be told a winner would be announced, but with no idea as to when.

So come the end of May, with the thing seemingly dead in the water, I concluded (presumably along with the other entrants) that the competition had sunk without a trace. I posted my entries online, and noted that a few other folk had done likewise, with some impressive work.

By the start of June, over six months had past since the closing date of the competition, and no announcements made or anything to keep people in the loop. Was it so difficult to send out an email or post on social media to apologise to the people who had taken their time and put their creative skills to use in entering the competition? What a shambles.

And then, a week or so into June, a solitary post crept on to Twitter, announcing the winner! An almost subdued post with little fanfare, or response. I can only imagine the winner has been as confused and left in the dark as everybody else.

Out of respect to the people who dedicated their time and effort to the competition, the very least the organisers could do is post all the entries or the shortlist. 

It is such a shame this was so unprofessionally managed, as it was a really exciting opportunity. But with that in mind, what I did get out of this, was the opportunity to develop these pieces of my work into something more. I'm still very pleased with the results, and it is certainly something I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. 

That said, I'll certainly approach any such competitions in the future with a degree of caution!

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