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Greg Wolfe

Top 100 2010: General Discussion--**Poll re-opened**

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Dear friends at ArtsandFaith:

We are delighted to announce that we are now ready to begin the process of selecting the ArtsandFaith.com Top100 films for 2010.

All we are going to focus on for now -- in what we’re calling Phase One -- is the nomination process.

There will be time for discussion of the nominees, voting, and the building of the website listing the final selection.

But even before we get to the nomination process we wanted to share a couple preliminary thoughts.

First, we're going to change the name of the list. We will no longer use the phrase "spiritually significant." It's a pretty highly charged and problematic phrase.

Instead, we're going to call it something simple: right now, we're calling it "The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films." The phrase "ArtsandFaith" already says what needs to be said, we think.

Second, we really want the list to reflect the life of this online community. So we will allow only registered and validated members to vote and we will use post-count to weight the vote. (Don't worry about the mechanics of the weighting just now.)

Again, the list should reflect this community, so even IMAGE staff members will not have veto power or votes weighted beyond their actual post counts.

God willing, this process will culminate in late February, 2010, when the list will be made public just prior to the Oscars.

We've already received some good input from you all but of course your thoughts are always most welcome.

I'll start a separate thread on the nomination process.

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I'm so excited about this!

The only thing that worries me is this: Is less than two months of consideration giving us a fair shake at the voting process?

I've already begun to revisit some of the films on the list, but I think I'm unique at this point. We have a slew of paid critics at A&F who are requred to turn in a number of film reviews every week. The Top 100 is a large list, more daunting than it looks... I don't know who, besides me, feels they might need to revisit the films.

Wondering about this (and worrying, too, because I personally revere the Top 100), I sat down late last night after wrapping the final presents and printed out the list of our current 100. Of the 100 currently on the list, I've seen 52, and of those 52 I feel the need to revisit 23.

42 of the 52 I feel I'd be very comfortable with on a list considering our "arts and faith." And for the record, I just sat down with The Miracle Maker for the first time last night, and it is poweful indeed. Looking forward to find out how I try to rank that.

But this still leaves 48 films currently on the list that I have yet to see.

I know the list will continue to be an imperfect one, and my hope is that it always will be. That it can continually be looked at, considered, revised over the years. Dreyer said, "Perfection is dead. Imperfection is still living." Imperfection is something that can always, continually, be worked on.

With that in mind, I don't want to panic over the less-than-two-month timeline. I know that if things are a bit rushed this year, that many of us will want to work as hard as we can to have an even better vote next year (or next time, whenever that will be).

I guess the question I have boils down to: Is the Feb/Oscar time the most important, with the idea that we can continue to revise this list in the future? Or should we consider pushing the date back for a stronger list this year?

I am fine with either of those decisions. It is just something I'd like for us to still consider before really diving into the nomination and voting process.

And thank you, Greg, for your leadership here and the willingness to resurrect this thing and push us a little bit. Love it.

Edited by Persona

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Update on that thought: I have seen 26 of the Top 35, and 13 of the Top 15, so I'm closer than I thought... Those Top spots are the ones I care about the most.

Still, just a question of how close we feel as a community.

No responses so maybe everybody feels ready enough, and I'm OK with that. I'll continue to see as many as I can until the vote.

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I think it will be interesting to see if removing the words spiritually significant will cause people to include films they may not have included in the past. It may also remove some of the films that may have been included simply because of some implied spirituality. As far as watching or reviewing the current list I have seen 75 of the top 100 but I have not seen many of them in years. But since my post count is so low my ignorance will not affect the list all too much. ;)

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FWIW, I'm told that the vote weighting system has actually had very little impact on the ranking of films in the past. At the very least, its impact can be easily over-estimated!

I think it will be interesting to see if removing the words spiritually significant will cause people to include films they may not have included in the past. It may also remove some of the films that may have been included simply because of some implied spirituality. As far as watching or reviewing the current list I have seen 75 of the top 100 but I have not seen many of them in years. But since my post count is so low my ignorance will not affect the list all too much. ;)

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Well, this will certainly be a different list! E.g. now I could nominate Fantasia and it could be considered without a defense of its Spiritual Significance...

Looking forward to the voting process. I expect the List will change a great deal! :)

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FWIW, I'm told that the vote weighting system has actually had very little impact on the ranking of films in the past. At the very least, its impact can be easily over-estimated!

But since my post count is so low my ignorance will not affect the list all too much. ;)

Does this mean I should reconsider my nefarious plan* to attain influence by a deluge of perfunctory posts, comprised chiefly of emoticons, "What so-and-so saids", ahems, clusters of punctuation marks, guffaws and harrumphs, etc.?

*Which commences with this very post.

Edited by du Garbandier

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN99jshaQbY.

FWIW, I'm told that the vote weighting system has actually had very little impact on the ranking of films in the past. At the very least, its impact can be easily over-estimated!

But since my post count is so low my ignorance will not affect the list all too much. ;)

Does this mean I should reconsider my nefarious plan* to attain influence by a deluge of perfunctory posts, comprised chiefly of emoticons, "What so-and-so saids", ahems, clusters of punctuation marks, guffaws and harrumphs, etc.?

*Which commences with this very post.

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Dear friends,

We have solidified our schedule for the Top 100 Films voting and wanted to update you.

Thanks to an offer from one member of our community, we’re really going to make a PR push to announce the new list, so we need to wrap things up before Oscar season.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

After nominations close, we will list all new nominations, plus the grandfathered list of 200 films from past lists. Voting will then begin.

Your vote will receive a weighting based on your post-count at ArtsandFaith.com.

You will give each film a rating of 1 to 5, and PM your votes to Image Journal, and our trusty interns will compile all the ratings.

For each film, we will multiply the voter’s rating by the voter’s weight. The films will be listed in order from 1 to 100 by total number of points received.

Once all votes have been tallied, we will reveal the winning films of 2010 with a hot new look, thanks to some more help from another friend.

As we mentioned before, we will ask a few of our film critic members to contribute a couple movies they feel belong on a “best” list. This will form a “peculiar treasures” list showcasing off-the-beaten-track movies people should know about.

In due course, each and every one of the Top 100 and Peculiar Treasure films will have their own web pages, complete with capsule reviews, IMDB and YouTube links, etc.

Here’s the timeline, for your perusal:

January 30: Nominations close

February 1: Full list of nominees posted. Voting begins by private message

February 14: Voting closes

February 17-18: Winning films revealed

Late February: “Peculiar Treasures” selected and posted

Notes:

· You do not have to vote for every film.

· We will keep the discussion thread open throughout the entire process.

· Nominations are slow, so we’re extending them until January 30 AND grandfathering in another 100 from this previous Top 200 list, so you guys have more to choose from.

Exhortation:

Please be honorable and give each film the rating you think it honestly deserves, rather than stacking the deck by giving your three favorite films all 5s and then the other 97 all 1s.

Questions, suggestions, comments? Reply here.

Thanks!

The IMAGE staff

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So we individually get to pick 100 films and then give them a vote from 1 being worst to 5 being best?

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So we individually get to pick 100 films and then give them a vote from 1 being worst to 5 being best?

To me, it sounds like we're supposed to give a 1-5 rating for each nominated film, or at least for every one we've seen/have an opinion about. I'm guessing that's why the "you do not have to vote on every film" clause is in there.

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I am of the opinion that a 1 to 5 vote is way too narrow a margin. You've got to understand, some of us have been here for years, in one version or another a few of us have been around for a decade and have grown into this list. And if Ordet gets tipped off the scales because of a 1 to 5 vote, in which the only six people that have seen it all vote five but the other I-Don't-Know-How-Many-But-it's-more-than-SIX vote five for something else , this is devastating, I might as well just fall over and finally have that tipped-off-the-stool, should've-done-my-exercises heart attack and call it quits, curtains, cuz at that point, the Devil wins.

Edited by Persona

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I am of the opinion that a 1 to 5 vote is way too narrow a margin. You've got to understand, some of us have been here for years, in one version or another a few of us have been around for a decade and have grown into this list. And if Ordet gets tipped off the scales because of a 1 to 5 vote, in which the only six people that have seen it all vote five but the other I-Don't-Know-How-Many-But-it's-more-than-SIX vote five for something else , this is devastating, I might as well just fall over and finally have that tipped-off-the-stool, should've-done-my-exercises heart attack and call it quits, curtains, cuz at that point, the Devil wins.

That, I imagine, is why there's a "weighted vote" according to a user's activity and presence here. Anyway, I'm skeptical that ORDET will somehow get kicked off the list.

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I think 1 to 5 is perfect, it is what we have always used before. It allows for subtlety but not too much. 1 to 10 would just be too fine-grained. :)

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In previous years, I think, there was a not-seen-it option. I guess we need one of these as well no?

(You're probably already onto that so please ignore me if you are)

Then the amalgamated vote was divided by the number of people who had seen the film. This threw up it's own anomalies - e.g. Miracle Maker coming in at number 4, but it did enable more obscure, but very "spiritual" films to make the list whereas otherwise they might be buried by other less spiritual but more popular films.

The choice, I guess, is between a list which favours more obscure films, and one which favours more popular films (like the best of the noughties vote). Personally I'm not sure which I prefer.

And soemthing which has just occured is that I think there was a rule that a film had to have been seen by more than 5 people, otherwise it was disqualified as too obscure. Which would be a shame for The Real Old Testament, but seems a good idea nevertheless.

Matt

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In previous years, I think, there was a not-seen-it option. I guess we need one of these as well no?

(You're probably already onto that so please ignore me if you are)

I think since we are voting by PM instead of on an online poll we can only mention those movies we have actually seen and leave out any that we haven't seen/do not want to vote for.

Then the amalgamated vote was divided by the number of people who had seen the film. This threw up it's own anomalies - e.g. Miracle Maker coming in at number 4, but it did enable more obscure, but very "spiritual" films to make the list whereas otherwise they might be buried by other less spiritual but more popular films.

The choice, I guess, is between a list which favours more obscure films, and one which favours more popular films (like the best of the noughties vote). Personally I'm not sure which I prefer.

And soemthing which has just occured is that I think there was a rule that a film had to have been seen by more than 5 people, otherwise it was disqualified as too obscure. Which would be a shame for The Real Old Testament, but seems a good idea nevertheless.

Matt

I'm with you. This is the one change I think I would make to the way you guys have set it up so far.

I think it's better for the list to be about quality, not popularity, BUT to have a minimum (weighted, just like voting) so that it represents some kind of community consensus, rather than just three people's absolute FAVORITE. I don't know how many voters we are going to have, so where to set the minimum is an open question. Alan used to send out a global invite to vote, I don't know if such a thing will be considered in this case.

This year's list will definitely be a rough draft, at least from my point of view. More people will probably participate the next time, after the list that we generate this year gets some attention and garners some disapproval (:D - this always happens).

Edited by David Smedberg

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Thank you, Matt. That is exactly what I was trying to describe.

And soemthing which has just occured is that I think there was a rule that a film had to have been seen by more than 5 people, otherwise it was disqualified as too obscure. Which would be a shame for The Real Old Testament, but seems a good idea nevertheless.

I remember reading your review of this somewhere and looking for it and being unable to track it down. I don't think it is on DVD, or if it is, with its title too much pops up on a Netflix search.

I think it's better for the list to be about quality, not popularity, BUT to have a minimum (weighted, just like voting) so that it represents some kind of community consensus, rather than just three people's absolute FAVORITE. I don't know how many voters we are going to have, so where to set the minimum is an open question. Alan used to send out a global invite to vote, I don't know if such a thing will be considered in this case.

My fear, to be blunt, is that the board has changed so much over the past few years that we are destined to lose works that have grown very near to my heart. Films that I wouldn't have seen had we not had those arguments and disapprovals and the teaching of why they should be appreciated in the first place. I've grown and learned here, and hope to continue in that, but fear losing that which I've already grown into only because five or six heavy-hitting regular posters here have moved on to other locations.

Edited by Persona

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And soemthing which has just occured is that I think there was a rule that a film had to have been seen by more than 5 people, otherwise it was disqualified as too obscure. Which would be a shame for The Real Old Testament, but seems a good idea nevertheless.

Matt

Is this the Real Old Testament you're talking about?

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We are now leaning against PM for the sake of streamlined efficiency--it will probably end up being outside polling software.

Thanks for bringing up the "I haven't seen it" option. We are thinking about how to incorporate that.

We want as many votes as possible, so a global invite is in order.

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We are now leaning against PM for the sake of streamlined efficiency--it will probably end up being outside polling software.

Thanks for bringing up the "I haven't seen it" option. We are thinking about how to incorporate that.

We want as many votes as possible, so a global invite is in order.

(oops sorry, I was trying to respond to Tyler above)

That looks stinking hilarious, I really want to see it.

Edited by Persona

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Alright, we're losing the "spiritually significant" descriptor because people have problems defining it, or because all of life is spiritual, or whatever. Understood.

But here's my question and qualm. If we simply switch over to nominating and voting for "the best movies" without any reference to faith or spirituality or whatever sort of distinctive marks this board, do we really need to go through the exercise? There are already dozens and dozens of lists of Great Films: who needs another one?

I personally believe it's the faith perspective of this conversation board - as diverse as that is - that makes the list unique, and valuable to others. If we're just creating a list of the best movies of all time, who cares what we think? I'd rather trust Sight & Sound.

As it stands, this collection of lists serves as a starting point for many people who set out to investigate cinema with spiritual themes / overtones / subjects / subtext. I'd hate to lose that. Isn't there some way we can indicate what this list is about, that makes it unique?

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Ron:

This list will be "The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films List."

Don't you think ArtsandFaith says a great deal? Don't you think our choices will way a great deal?

Don't you think our list will be beyond the usual Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Bicycle Thief lists?

Alright, we're losing the "spiritually significant" descriptor because people have problems defining it, or because all of life is spiritual, or whatever. Understood.

But here's my question and qualm. If we simply switch over to nominating and voting for "the best movies" without any reference to faith or spirituality or whatever sort of distinctive marks this board, do we really need to go through the exercise? There are already dozens and dozens of lists of Great Films: who needs another one?

I personally believe it's the faith perspective of this conversation board - as diverse as that is - that makes the list unique, and valuable to others. If we're just creating a list of the best movies of all time, who cares what we think? I'd rather trust Sight & Sound.

As it stands, this collection of lists serves as a starting point for many people who set out to investigate cinema with spiritual themes / overtones / subjects / subtext. I'd hate to lose that. Isn't there some way we can indicate what this list is about, that makes it unique?

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Ron:

This list will be "The ArtsandFaith.com Top 100 Films List."

Don't you think ArtsandFaith says a great deal? Don't you think our choices will way a great deal?

Don't you think our list will be beyond the usual Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Bicycle Thief lists?

Ron's got a good point, I think. From a marketing POV, what helps the list have high recall is an immediately noticeable distinctive--something that gives it "pop" on shelf. What's going to make someone read this list anyway? What's the unique angle that this Artsandfaith.com site brings to cinematic top 100 lists? How is that communicated in such a way that an editor, a publicist, a browser can look and in an instant know, oh, this is different! Then, as the list is perused, and the choices begin to weigh in with the richness of the films on the list (which further separates it from an agenda driven promotion, such as a Movieguide Award, or some kind of industry specific affair, like Dove Awards) the reasons for having such a list of films is made not only clear, but concrete.

Hope I'm not being too sales and marketing on you; really just tossing some thoughts out there--it may be a good build to add a subheading or something under the A&F Top 100 moniker.

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I personally believe it's the faith perspective of this conversation board - as diverse as that is - that makes the list unique, and valuable to others. If we're just creating a list of the best movies of all time, who cares what we think? I'd rather trust Sight & Sound.

I also struggled with this. When nominating films (and voting) I tried to think: so I am sitting in a room with a bunch of A&Fers. What movies are we going to talk about?

But, as you point out, that doesn't really work as a descriptor for others.

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