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Joel Mayward

2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury Nominations and Discussion Thread

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Second After the Storm. 

I'm a sucker for all things Koreeda and had already let that one slip (there was a new Korreda at TIFF this year). He does seem, in his last two movies, to move towards some male protagonists, which has been interesting after Our Little Siter. 

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I'll nominate Mudbound, which I just saw last night. Like Lady Bird, I have some issues with the film, but here the faith elements are so strong and beautifully integrated into much of the story that I think it's an obvious candidate for our list. 

Oh, and since I may not have restated it this year and feel like I should: I confess that my tendency for nominating films to this list is to focus on films (not exclusively, but mostly) that explicitly reference faith or a life of devotion to God - or even when far from orthodox, at least acknowledge that this life might not be all there is (see Personal Shopper) or that show characters exhibiting Christian virtues such as forgiveness (The Glass Castle). I see many films each year that are excellent and that go high on my personal Top 20 lists that don't do those things, but I like this list because I can highlight particular films for those particular reasons. 

I know others don't use the same nominating criteria. We've hashed this out over the years and don't need to do so again. But I wanted to put this out there as we start in on this year's nominations. 

Edited by Christian

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I'm going to assume that Twin Peaks: The Return is not eligible. I understand, and yet this just shows how the increasingly cinematic qualities of some television productions are blurring the lines between the art forms. Nothing I've seen this year stays with me, in the way great art films stay with me, like that series.

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4 hours ago, Overstreet said:

I'm going to assume that Twin Peaks: The Return is not eligible.

I know a few episodes played at Cannes, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to call it "cinema," at least not in the traditional sense. Although, O.J.: Made in America did win an Oscar, and the criteria of "release in theaters" is evolving with the rise of streaming (e.g. Okja). So, what does the jury think? Should Twin Peaks: The Return be considered?

Also, this post reminded me to pre-order the Blu-ray set.

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I nominate Roman J. Israel, Esq. 

There is some obvious religious language in a story arc about tensions between the law and grace (Roman/Israel, get it?). 

 

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I nominate Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, which is probably to reflexively political to make an *ecumenical" jury selection, but which does grapple with the themes of grief and the meaning of life and which expresses the pain and horror of both "hellscapes" and the post-God is dead culture really realizing that "annihilation" is not just a theological construct but either a true, inevitable reality or a horrible, horrible lie. 

It's available on Netflix, by the way. 

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M. Leary   

A few nominations:

Trip to Spain

For Akheem

Strong Island

Aquarius

Hunter Gatherer

20th Century Women

 

Second:

Marjorie Prime

 

Edited by M. Leary

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Second Aquarius.

Regarding Twin Peaks: The Return, I'm with Overstreet. It's easily one of the best things I've seen this year, and I'm of a mind to include it on the list. Sure, it's technically television, but Lynch's vision and execution supersede that label. If other jurors don't agree that it should be on the list, I'd propose that it we keep it in the vote, and if voted in, it could be included as a Special Mention category of some sort.

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4 hours ago, Josh Hamm said:

Regarding Twin Peaks: The Return, I'm with Overstreet. It's easily one of the best things I've seen this year, and I'm of a mind to include it on the list. Sure, it's technically television, but Lynch's vision and execution supersede that label. If other jurors don't agree that it should be on the list, I'd propose that it we keep it in the vote, and if voted in, it could be included as a Special Mention category of some sort.

If Jeff's post is a nomination and this is a second, I will add Twin Peaks: The Return to the nominations lists. It's a piece of art which defies categorization, as I've seen critics vary on their interpretation of whether it's an 18-hour film broken up into parts, or something brand new in terms of how TV/cinema is presented. Having not seen it yet, I can't comment either way, but I hope to remedy this before the end of the year. And as Ken nominated Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, a stand-up comedy special on Netflix, I am supportive of having the jury votes decide the merits of TP:TR.

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On 11/4/2017 at 3:51 PM, M. Leary said:

Trip to Spain

!!!

I loved this movie but hadn't even thought to consider it for this list. Persuade me?

(I may have left this one off my running best-of list for the year. If so, gotta go in and fix that.)

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I'd like to introduce another addition to our jury: Josh Cabrita, a colleague of Josh Hamm and Peter Chattaway in British Columbia, who has written for Cinema Scope and MUBI. Welcome to A&F, Josh!

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My main concern about including Twin Peaks is the implied obligation, if it's nominated, to become a Showtime subscriber in order to access it. I'm sure the program will be worthwhile - I've been wanting to watch it for months - but I don't have Showtime, would have to sign up (maybe jam the entire series into a 7-Day trial, is that's still a current offering) or become a paid Showtime subscriber to watch the film within our screening/voting window. At least with the multi-hour O.J. documentary I was sent a screener and could work in the episodes where I could. Also: Is Showtime pushing this program for Oscar consideration the way ESPN pushed the O.J. documentary? 

I don't want to dampen others' enthusiasm for nominating the program, but I also don't want to hurt the film's chances if I'm unable to watch an entire TV series amid the many other features and documentaries that compete for my time during awards season - although skipping a nominee during voting doesn't actively hurt the film the way, say, a vote of "0" or "1" would (or whatever the low end of our scale is), right? 

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Evan C   

While Twin Peaks is the best thing I've seen this year, and I doubt anything will top it in these last few months, I really think it's television and not film. I suppose if Showtime pushed it for Oscar consideration, as Christian mentioned, that would change the classification somewhat. However, right now, I'd be inclined to vote against it.

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I'm against including television series, just because I don't know when we open that door where it stops. (Didn't vote for O.J. last year, either.) That said, my general attitude in this, as with festival question is that if there is a nomination and a second to let the voting sort it out. A slightly bigger jury means one low vote or abstaining vote (didn't see it) isn't as likely to derail a title. 

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Evan C   

I think this is worth discussing, even if I don't care too much what conclusion we reach. But do we, or do we not want to join in solidarity with the four film critic associations which have decided to render Disney films ineligible for year end awards due to Disney's bullying of the LA Times?

That would basically mean no Star Wars, no Marvel, no Pixar - honestly, this year I don't think that's a loss anyway, and I'd be surprised if any of those films made the list.

Full story here: https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/11/07/disneys-los-angeles-times-blackout-is-about-more-than-the-movies/

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17 minutes ago, Evan C said:

I think this is worth discussing, even if I don't care too much what conclusion we reach. But do we, or do we not want to join in solidarity with the four film critic associations which have decided to render Disney films ineligible for year end awards due to Disney's bullying of the LA Times?

That would basically mean no Star Wars, no Marvel, no Pixar - honestly, this year I don't think that's a loss anyway, and I'd be surprised if any of those films made the list.

Full story here: https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/11/07/disneys-los-angeles-times-blackout-is-about-more-than-the-movies/

Disney has since lifted the ban on LA Times critics, likely due to the solidarity of the film critics groups' united front.

5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

if there is a nomination and a second to let the voting sort it out.

This is my attitude as well. If there's a significant jury consensus around TP:TR and it gets both viewings and votes, it'd be worth including. That said, I don't think this opens the door wide for *any* TV show to be nominated. TP:TR is a bit unique in having had a few episodes play at Cannes this year, and in Lynch himself describe it as an 18-hour film. But I would not include streaming shows like Stranger Things 2 or mini-series/anthologies like True Detective or Fargo for this list.

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M. Leary   
On 11/5/2017 at 2:23 PM, Christian said:

!!!

I loved this movie but hadn't even thought to consider it for this list. Persuade me?

(I may have left this one off my running best-of list for the year. If so, gotta go in and fix that.)

Well, I am not going to try too hard. I think this film becomes a bit too overt about the career vs. family thing the entire series has toyed with - but I just love watching these guys talk. There are few good films like this about friendship out there.

More germane to the award,

it does end with a pretty interesting Winterbottom-ish encounter of upper-class Britain and radical Islam. Was not expecting it to go there at all

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M. Leary   

Want to make a plug for the documentary For Ahkeem.

This was particularly affecting for me, being from St. Louis, but is worth taking some time to see it. The documentary follows a young girl in a special joint program of the public school district and juvenile courts. While in production, the Ferguson riots transpire. The splicing of footage from the event into this girl's story is masterful. And then the whole thing is superintended by her voiceover.

I know, I know. Documentary voiceover. But this one is so plaintive and prayerful. It turns out that she had been writing a diary and the filmmakers helped her turn these thoughts into a beautiful oral performance of young motherhood in urban St. Louis.

Contact them here and they will surely provide a screener link: http://forahkeemfilm.com/contact/ There is an email address for press if you hover over the button on that page.

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Hi all, and thanks for having me on board, Joel!

I'll second the following: Milla, 24 Frames, Good Time, Sleep Has Her House, Split, Western (all of which are in my top 15 of the year).

A few other nominations:

Call Me by Your Name (Guadagnino)

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Wiseman)

On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong)

Zama (Martel)

Princess Cyd (Cone)

 

 

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1 hour ago, M. Leary said:

Well, I am not going to try too hard. I think this film becomes a bit too overt about the career vs. family thing the entire series has toyed with - but I just love watching these guys talk. There are few good films like this about friendship out there.

More germane to the award,

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Ah, the ending! Yes, I suppose there's something to that for our list. OK, I second The Trip to Italy.

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6 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

You know, I'm gonna second Valerian. For its Exodus-like narrative. And for Ryan Holt's religious-like love for it.

And yet...still no second for The Boss Baby

I won't say I'm hurt, but...

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26 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

And yet...still no second for The Boss Baby

I won't say I'm hurt, but...

I have yet to see The Boss Baby, but your nomination here has moved it from my "never would consider watching" list to my "eh...perhaps..." list.

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Anders   
8 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

You know, I'm gonna second Valerian. For its Exodus-like narrative. And for Ryan Holt's religious-like love for it.

I know it's not necessary, but a third. Valerian was one of the most enjoyable films of the year for me.

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