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kenmorefield

2014 Ecumenical Jury Award(s)

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I watched it on his rec, and while I didn't connect emotionally with the film, I appreciated it aesthetically and artistically.

 

This. Plus, Robin Wright! I was mixed-leaning-negative because of the second half, but I loved much of the first half and certainly tried to appreciate the animation.

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My review assignment this week blew up, so I have some time to watch a movie or two, even though I've already voted.

 

Right now I'm halfway through Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me via the streaming link we were all sent. It's not innovative formally, but I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's quite moving. I recommend you all watch it before voting, if possible. 

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My review assignment this week blew up, so I have some time to watch a movie or two, even though I've already voted.

 

Right now I'm halfway through Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me via the streaming link we were all sent. It's not innovative formally, but I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's quite moving. I recommend you all watch it before voting, if possible. 

If you want to change any of your votes, let me know, and I can edit or (if you prefer) delete your previous ballot and let you resubmit.

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My review assignment this week blew up, so I have some time to watch a movie or two, even though I've already voted.

 

Right now I'm halfway through Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me via the streaming link we were all sent. It's not innovative formally, but I'm enjoying it a great deal. It's quite moving. I recommend you all watch it before voting, if possible. 

I saw it today and liked it quite a bit despite having two issues with it. I thought the ending really lacked closure, and if Campbell was born in 1936 and is 76 in that early diagnostic scene, then he received his diagnosis in 2012. Yet, his first concert after his diagnosis was in 2011. I suspected that one scene had to be staged, (I mean, how had the filmmakers known to begin filming the documentary before Campbell announced his diagnosis) but I wish the filmmakers had been slightly less obvious about it. Still, the performances, interviews, and snapshots of Campbell's tour and his life off stage were all quite touching.

 

To be fair, I may have been overly nit picky, because this film also had the misfortune to be watched immediately after Two Days One Night, which was sublime.

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I confess I wondered if the lack of closure was a deliberate attempt to emulate the experience of living with someone with Alzheimers, though that may be giving the film too much credit.

 

FWIW, I think The Sublime and Beautiful is worth a look, particularly in a weird sort of comparison with The Babadook, since both are about parental grief., 

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I can see that, Ken. I liked the Sublime and Beautiful so much it almost made it on my "additional films" list of the year. I find myself increasingly drawn to films that have such a clear emotional grasp of what is at stake in their storylines.

 

But The Congress blew me away. Count me in with the Higgins fan club on this one. 

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Not a horror fan, but I did watch The Babadook. For those who are more tuned into horror, anyone want to twist my arm to watch DELIVER US FROM EVIL? Better, worse, about the same?

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Not a horror fan, but I did watch The Babadook. For those who are more tuned into horror, anyone want to twist my arm to watch DELIVER US FROM EVIL? Better, worse, about the same?

 

I liked Deliver Us From Evil, but based on my sense of your tastes and what I see as the object here, I'm going to say you can skip it. 

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It's Sloane Sabbath! 
She better not get frackin' hurt in this movie or I'm giving it a "1". mf_surrender.gif

(I had a free Redbox code and nothing else jumped out at me....)

Edited by kenmorefield

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Voted. Just wanted to say that this voting process worked well and introduced me to a lot of films I passed on or overlooked throughout the year. So from that perspective, it fulfilled its mission.

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Voted. Just wanted to say that this voting process worked well and introduced me to a lot of films I passed on or overlooked throughout the year. So from that perspective, it fulfilled its mission.

 

I'm glad. My big hope is that the results are as diverse as the participants and have a little something for everyone. I hope they will. And thank you for participating.

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Voted. Just wanted to say that this voting process worked well and introduced me to a lot of films I passed on or overlooked throughout the year. So from that perspective, it fulfilled its mission.

I second this. I now have a lot of films to watch when I move back to the US and can readily access American Netflix.

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So glad for the screening link to The Overnighters. Not just a spiritually rich film, but a beautifully filmed and well edited documentary. 

Edited by SDG

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So glad for the screening link to The Overnighters. Not just a spiritually rich film, but a beautifully filmed and well edited documentary. 

What did you make of the ending? I ask, because I really liked it until then, but dropping a bombshell of that magnitude five minutes before the end, which seemed to me to come out of left field, forcing Reinke's wife to deal with it on camera, and then not even mentioning his family in the end title cards all kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Edited by Evan C

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So glad for the screening link to The Overnighters. Not just a spiritually rich film, but a beautifully filmed and well edited documentary.

What did you make of the ending? I ask, because I really liked it until then, but dropping a bombshell of that magnitude five minutes before the end, which seemed to me to come out of left field, forcing Reinke's wife to deal with it on camera, and then not even mentioning his family in the end title cards all kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth.

 

It's actually about 10 minutes from the end.

 

Yeah, it's jarring, but I was almost waiting for it, partly because of that opening shot where he's talking about the public self and the private self. (My suspicion that something was up was confirmed about 30 minutes before the revelation when I texted Victor enthusing about the film, and he mentioned a couple of people hating "The Twist." But I was kind of braced for it anyway.)

The scene you mention is horrifying. Raises all kinds of questions about the ethics of documentary filmmaking. For what it's worth, it seems that both of the individuals involved gave permission for the scene to be used. It also seems that the family is staying together; I agree with you that it would have been nice to mention that in the closing titles.

 

The last ten minutes obviously change the whole movie. It goes from being something close to an advocacy piece to becoming an excruciating meditation on the contradictions people live with, on the fracture between the public and private selves, on the extent to which heroic virtue and service can coexist with deep moral compromise. There's a lot more that could be said. More later, perhaps.

Edited by SDG

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The scene you mention is horrifying. Raises all kinds of questions about the ethics of documentary filmmaking. For what it's worth, it seems that both of the individuals involved gave permission for the scene to be used.

Addendum: The director says he didn't know the conversation that had to take place would take place at that time:

 

"

It was very surprising to me. My understanding was he was going to tell her in a private place without me present. Which I thought to be entirely appropriate….I think it got away from Jay in a way he didn’t plan for it to happen. I don’t think either of them thought about the fact that I was there, and then suddenly, they were having part of this conversation in this grocery store with me there. It was actually a very short conversation, in which he told her what he tells her.

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Winners and honorable mentions.

 

Thanks everyone for participating. 

 

10) Fury

9) Noah

8) The Lego Movie

7) The Babadook

6) The Sublime and Beautiful

5) Calvary

4) The Immigrant

3) The Overnighters

2) Ida

1) Two Days, One Night

Jurors' Honorable Mentions:
 

Wade: Snowpiercer

Evan: Grand Budapest Hotel

Steven: Chef

Josh: Violent

Christian: The Homesman

Gareth: The Congress

M. Leary: Norte, The End of History

Joel: Winter Sleep

Ken; Beginning With the End

Mark: Particle Fever

Edited by kenmorefield

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I had mostly put off/poo-pooed questions about whether or not this was a one-off thing or if it was something I intended to be an inaugural iteration of an annual event.

 

But...

 

Steven and I were having some discussion on Facebook prompted by one commenter suggesting a name change so as not to be confused with Interfilm/SIGNIS. Steven and I seemed to think that Ecumenical Jury was okay, but maybe only insofar as it was attached to...something...so that we could specifically say and not invite confusion.

 

Of course, we could also just change the name. 

Or not worry about it if this was a one off.

Or revisit the conversation we had in the thread about a Christian Critics Circle...since the rumored group that Rebecca spoke of seems to....not have materialized. (And Rebecca left Patheos.) 

 

Each of those options has pluses and minuses. One of the latter being (to me) that there may be some people who are interested in the jury but not in some sort of sponsoring group/affiliation. And I do think one thing that helped this iteration was that it was *not,* specifically, a 1More FIlm Blog thing, or a CT thing. 

 

I guess what I am saying is that I'm soliciting feedback and/or ideas, specifically from participants but also from observers regarding one or more of the following questions:

 

1) Should we try to do this again?

2) Should we change the name (and if so, to what?)

3) Should we have some sort of formalized structure (or semi-formal) about who's in charge, how the jury is selected, who is eligible, etc.?

4) If yes to any of these, should the group (whether that is defined as the jury or the affiliation that sponsors the jury) have some sort of virtual home? (The three most obvious candidates are 1More FIlm Blog, A&F, or some retroactively created domain name with a virtual shingle. All three of those options have potential drawbacks/objections, so I'm open to "none of the above" if I'm missing something.)

 

Ken

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I'm very happy with the outcome this year, and as the CT Most Redeeming list will still be defunct next year, the value of this process for next year seems to me self-evident. I'm in favor of doing it again. 

 

The "ecumenical jury" label, as long as we were discussing it generically ("an ecumenical jury"), struck me as nonproblematic; however, now that we are publishing results as "2014 Ecumenical Jury," I do think there is a need to distinguish ourselves clearly from the established SIGNIS/INTERFILM ecumenical juries associated with various film festivals. "Ecumenical Jury" by itself seems to me clearly associated with SIGNIS/INTERFILM, so we need a name and a way of referring to these lists that clearly says "We're something else." 

 

Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury would be my first pick, if A&F management approves it. Most of us are invested at A&F, the proposal was pitched and organized here, nominations were made and debated here, and Alissa Wilkinson, who isn't an active A&F member, is still technically a member AFAIK.

 

If for some reason A&F isn't willing to take this project under their auspices, since Ken spearheaded this and did all the legwork, 1More Film Blog Ecumenical Jury would be the next logical proposal. I would be fine with this. 

 

If there is pushback to this, I would also be okay with defining a new identity for ourselves. 

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I second what Steven said. I like the term "Ecumenical Jury" - I think it aptly summarizes our various faith outlooks as well as what kinds of movies we're voting for on such a list. However, we definitely should distinguish ourselves from SIGNIS, and adding Arts and Faith to the title seems like the best/easiest way to do that.

 

We should definitely do this again, and I would be in favor of some very basic guidelines regarding who's in charge, selecting the jury, eligibility, etc. I think the guidelines should be more for keeping the process professional, not to make it difficult for someone to be on the jury.

 

The only rules I'd propose:

 

Put a limit on the size of the jury; when any of these things get too big, the list loses its unique quality.

 

Eligibility - 1. anyone who participated the previous year automatically gets invited back (they can obviously decline)

2. to be invited, you have to have 12 or so reviews published somewhere??

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1) Should we try to do this again?

2) Should we change the name (and if so, to what?)

3) Should we have some sort of formalized structure (or semi-formal) about who's in charge, how the jury is selected, who is eligible, etc.?

4) If yes to any of these, should the group (whether that is defined as the jury or the affiliation that sponsors the jury) have some sort of virtual home? (The three most obvious candidates are 1More FIlm Blog, A&F, or some retroactively created domain name with a virtual shingle. All three of those options have potential drawbacks/objections, so I'm open to "none of the above" if I'm missing something.)

1) Yes. Absolutely. It's one of the more interesting end-of-year film lists I've seen this year. I learned about a great number of films I would not have watched or noticed otherwise, particularly The Overnighters. More discussion needs to happen over that film.

2) I like Steven's suggestion of "Arts and Faith Ecumenical Jury" or "1More Film Blog Ecumenical Jury" for the reasons Steven stated.

3) There should be some sort of basic structure about eligibility and the voting, though I have no structure to propose. Kenneth, I've already said this in emails, but it deserves to be said here publicly: you did a fantastic job of organizing this project. Thank you for your work.

4) I'm unsure about creating some whole new filmic entity related to this. I'd recommend sticking with Arts and Faith, or 1More Film Blog, or Filmwell (!) as the host site and sponsor.

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I'll second most of what Steven said, with one caveat:

 

While I don't mind IDing this vote with A&F, I'm a little concerned that such affiliation may take away from our other official A&F lists, or confuse readers. The "official" votes are open to all A&F members (although not everyone participates), while the EJ vote was a smaller subset. Is this worth discussing/debating?

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I'll second most of what Steven said, with one caveat:

 

While I don't mind IDing this vote with A&F, I'm a little concerned that such affiliation may take away from our other official A&F lists, or confuse readers. The "official" votes are open to all A&F members (although not everyone participates), while the EJ vote was a smaller subset. Is this worth discussing/debating?

 

This is where I think the "Ecumenical Jury" side of the branding is helpful. The Arts & Faith brand is not specifically Christian; the word "ecumenical" is. And "jury" suggests a select group of picked individuals. Thus, an A&F community list reflects a broad group that includes Christians and non-Christians; an A&F Ecumenical Jury list reflects a select group of Christian critics and cinephiles. 

 

N.b. Arts & Faith / Image people: Can we get some official input whether, if the jury deems that an A&F affiliation would be helpful, Image would be willing to accept the Ecumenical Jury under the A&F umbrella? 

However we resolve this, while I don't want to make a rash decision, with our list out there I think a quicker resolution would be better than a slower one. 

Edited by SDG

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My concerns about making the jury an A&F thing are three (four?) fold...

 

1) My own past and association with this group is complicated and not one that invites a lot of trust in its leadership. I had to think long and hard about whether or not that was a deal breaker for me. It's not, but I would be lying if I said a part of me didn't chafe at something I care about getting assimilated by the A&F Borg.

 

2) I agree with those who have said part of the success of this jury was in its size. I worry that a jury from/affiliated with A&F would grow in size and become a lowest-common-denominator sort of thing. We didn't really get into screeners (I think we got three this year), but I've heard chatter in other groups that the size of a group may influence reps decisions regarding screener requests. But more important (2a?), I seem to recall having a form of this conversation when the AFC2 (precursor to the FFCC) was formed. Did not the formation of a group within the group cause some hurt feelings? Warranted or not there have always (as long as I've been this forum) been grievances created by perceived (or real) double-standards and/or accusations of elitism. Even in the A&F ists--which are open to everyone--are not/were not the votes weighted to give some "members" greater weight than others? Remember when there used to be (the same) four box ads on the site where certain people got their sites free advertising and others...didn't? A&F seems to be in a period of...less contentiousness, and that's a good thing. I wonder if creating a hand-picked jury from with A&F risks picking at some old wounds. 

 

3) It's important to me that the jury be Christian. I vote in other groups...the reason I wanted this list was to replace the old CT list. Obviously I have no interest in a doctrinal statement of faith or anything, but part of the cultural work I'm trying to do is broaden the scope of what is thought about as good art for Christians. A&F has claimed to be a Christian site in the past, but that's not really manifested in specific guidelines for members/participants. I think that's a good thing. But an A&F jury and a "Christian" jury might not be the same thing.

 

All that being said, it's not like I want it to be a 1More FIlm Blog jury either. Were I a writer (established or up and coming) I'd be more enthusiastic about a joining a group of *peers* than joining something that was some guys' passion project. I don't mind be a jury foreman (organizing stuff), but the line between team captain and team owner can be kind of nebulous, and looking at the announcement results and comments, there is a plurality of voices that appeals to me.

But perhaps this could be the A&F Ecumenical Jury in the same way that the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is sponsored by Tostitos? Maybe A&F could sponsor the group in exchange for link backs to the forum, name recognition, etc. Certainly if we are going to use A&F resources (such as they are) to make nominations and discussions, the forum out to get something out of it.

Edited by kenmorefield

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1) Should we try to do this again?

 

Of course. I don't think that is even worth considering.

 

2) Should we change the name (and if so, to what?)

 

This is harder. The situation in which this is confusing is the SIGNIS Cannes jury, which is known as the Ecumenical Jury. And people have just come to know that "Ecumenical Jury" is a prize for films at which SIGNIS/Interfilm has a jury. But that said... SIGNIS does not really have ownership over a word that is fundamental to the history of Christian practice and thought - and there is no other term that adequately describes the nature of the membership of our EJ.

 

I am opposed to the idea of calling this an A&F venture, as the current membership is not entirely of the A&F community. This is one circumstance in which not linking it to A&F would make the membership perhaps work better - but I am open to debate on that.

 

So I think we should retain "Ecumenical Jury" but append something to it in order to sufficiently distinguish it from any SIGNIS award. Even something like "Annual Ecumenical Jury Association" award would work. 

 

3) Should we have some sort of formalized structure (or semi-formal) about who's in charge, how the jury is selected, who is eligible, etc.?

 

In the prior thread we had talked about something like this but as minimal as possible in order to keep the workload light. I see nothing wrong with what Ken has already provided, though perhaps fine tuning membership criteria. The voting process was fine, and the discussion about potential candidates here at A&F and in Ken's comments worked well.

 

4) If yes to any of these, should the group (whether that is defined as the jury or the affiliation that sponsors the jury) have some sort of virtual home? (The three most obvious candidates are 1More FIlm Blog, A&F, or some retroactively created domain name with a virtual shingle. All three of those options have potential drawbacks/objections, so I'm open to "none of the above" if I'm missing something.)

 

I vote leave it at Ken's blog for now. That worked fine, and Patheos is pretty much an ideal platform for this anyway.

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