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The 15th 9.5mm International Festival 1990

(Sadly many of the earlier 9.5mm International Festivals were poorly, or even not reported at all, in the UK Group 9.5 club magazine. It seems if someone won a prize, then they made sure to do a write-up! Lists of all the film entries are often omitted and for technical reasons there was a dearth of photos. Only if one had an original programme would the details be fully known. In the earlier days I was really busy still at work, so was generally unable to attend. So hence this somewhat abbreviated report of the 1990 event, based on an article by the late Roger Spence in the UK Group 9.5 club magazine '9.5' number 63 dated Autumn 1990)

The 15th 9.5 International Festival, hosted by the Cine Club 9.5 of Germany, was held from Friday 25th to Saturday 26th May 1990, at Saarbrücken, in Germany. This large German city is close to the French border and is a centre for coal mining.

Saarbrücken - the river and railway station

Attendees were twelve from France, six from the Nederlands, the two organisers from Germany, and six from the UK. The UK group included Peter Clayton, John Ferrari, Angus and Ena Tilston and Roger and Mavis Spence.


On various dates between the 17th and 24th May 1990, six intrepid travellers, Mavis and Roger Spence, Angus and Ena Tilston, Peter Clayton and John Ferrari - all from 9.5 North, set off hopefully from Britain to attend the 9.5 International Amateur Film Festival to be held in Saarbrücken. I say 'hopefully' as details of the festival had been slow to arrive and a postal strike in Germany in early May had prevented us receiving any information at all beyond the name of the town. So we were launching ourselves into the blue in more ways than one.

Our solution was to arrange to meet in the bar (where else?) of Saarbrücken Railway Station at 4pm on Thursday 24th May, the day the International Festivals always commence. In the meantime phoning the German organisers, Herr Helmet Lange and Herr Wolf Herman Otte, telling them we would be there for collection! - on the premise that the festival would take place. Thankfully it did.

The Events

The festival actually started officially at 4pm on the Friday. There were twelve members from France, six from Holland, the British contingent and the two German organisers, plus family and friends.

By Saturday we were all sailing down the river on a sunny afternoon, on a privately chartered boat having coffee and strudel in typical continental fashion. The judges' decisions were announced on the boat, leaving the Saturday evening completely free for the serious business of eating and drinking, when twenty five people of various nationalities ate together in total accord.

The Films

Projection was by Harry Bruno from the Nederlands. Gerrit Kruimink also from the Nederlands, acted as interpreter. Both carried out their duties with their usual expertise and panache.

Films were entered from the three clubs in France; Paris, Albi and Evroux. There were three entries from Germany. Those of you who came to our York Festival will remember Herman Otte's film "The Incredible Curation". There were two more in a similar vein - very funny indeed. The one British entry was "Flickering Memories" from Roger Spence. There was also one Dutch entry, a film on stock car racing.

An excellent film was shown from the Nederlands, but as it was not newly made, in accordance with the rules, it was shown for entertainment only. A variation from the norm was that the judges were professionals who judge thoughout Europe. Herr Klause Jostock and Herr J.G. Rakreis, both of Saarbrücken. There was also a variation in the way of judging, in that they awarded four films first place, ten films second place, and six films third place, with the remainder unplaced. Which is apparently what happens when they judge professional films. To some extent it it more of a grading.

As there was only one prize, a beautiful pewter tankard, the two organisers made their choice out of the top four, a film called "Antoine Duval" made by Maurice Pegon who is President of the Cine Club de France. The story of the film detailed the first day out of prison of Antoine Duval who had served a sentence for the murder of his wife's lover. A tender film which made one sympathise with the man who had been driven to a 'crime passionelle and would be lonely forever. It was a good story film, a most enjoyable festival, and a good time was had by all.

The 1991 Festival will commence on Thursday May 9th and will be in Dunkirk. It is being organised by Monsieur Balloy of the Cine Club 9.5 of France.

(This report is mostly based on an article in the UK Greoup 9.5 magazine by the then Vice President, the late Roger Spence - gln 30Nov2016)

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