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Joel Mayward

2017 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury Nominations and Discussion Thread

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Doubt it has enough time to generate traction, but I'll nominate Breathe, which deals with quality of life arguments and marriage in ways that I think are appropriate for this list. 

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I will add a last minute nomination for The Greatest Showman, which I loved, aggregators be damned. I suppose for this list, I see the humanism -- all are made in God's image -- as appropriate, as well as being authentic to who you are and distinguishing between positive call (vocation) and need for success in the eyes of the world. 

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On 12/18/2017 at 7:04 PM, Evan C said:

I nominate The Shape of Water and The Transfiguration. The first is another beautiful del Toro fairy tale about giving a voice to the voiceless with a few Biblical references tossed in; the second is a low-key vampire coming of age tale set in Manhattan that uses the inherent isolated, predatory nature of vampirism as a force compounding the isolation the young black protagonist already feels since he doesn't want to join the local gang but doesn't trust his teachers or the police either.

Second The Shape of Water. For this list, I shy away from religious characters/characterizations that are primarily negative in nature, and Shannon fits that description. But Eliza's statement about being evaluated not by what you lack struck me as a picture of grace. I've been reluctant to champion that angle because it might equate God to, ya know, a fish-man (who's described as "a god"), but I was genuinely moved along those lines both times I watched the film.

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I nominate The Work
It is a documentary about a four day, felon-led group therapy session in Folsum Prison that mixes participants from the prison with civilians. 

The documentary claims at the end that no inmate who has gone through the program and been paroled has returned to prison, which is statistically astounding given the recidivism rate among felons who have done hard time. Consequently, I think the film addresses an important topic for this group: is transformation possible and how is it achieved?



The scene in which one of the participants tries to talk another out of contemplating suicide is one of the more memorable scenes for me of 2017. 

The publicist is being pretty liberal with screening links, so if you want to see it, don't hesitate to message me and I'll put you in contact. Can't promise they will respond given the holidays, but I think there's a good chance. 

Edited by kenmorefield

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For some reason, I thought The Work had been nominated and seconded. Anyway, second. It's also streaming on Amazon for $0.99, and it is worth spending that on.

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A reminder that nominations/seconds close tonight, December 30, at midnight (PST). If there are any films I've somehow missed in this thread of nominations, please let me know so I can add them to our final list to vote on.

Also, if The Unknown Girl is currently streaming on Netflix in the US, *please* watch it. :)

Edited by Joel Mayward

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The Greatest Showman is currently listed as seconded, even though no one seconded it as of this post. However, the themes Ken mentioned make it worthwhile considering for this list, and it's a pretty good musical too. So second.

 

I'd also like to make a last minute push for My Happy Family, which is the sort of intimate family drama about how we interact with one another that's very appropriate for this list, and it deserves a lot more attention as well, and it's streaming on Netflix right now.

Edited by Evan C

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12 minutes ago, Evan C said:

The Greatest Showman is currently listed as seconded, even though no one seconded it as of this post. However, the themes Ken mentioned make it worthwhile considering for this list, and it's a pretty good musical too. So second.

 

I'd also like to make a last minute push for My Happy Family, which is the sort of intimate family drama about how we interact with one another that's very appropriate for this list, and it deserves a lot more attention as well, and it's streaming on Netflix right now.

FWIW, Noel seconded it to Joel in a DM, but he was having log in problems to post it here. 
I watched the first thirty minutes of MHF in awards push, but I'll do my best to take another look.

 

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I nominate World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts, by Don Herzfeldt.

In retrospect, I rate World of Tomorrow as one of my top 5 films 2015. And since I have no reason to disbelieve the reviews, which are hailing this as every bit as spectacular, I'm throwing a "Hail, Mary" pass to the end zone and trusting that this will be well worth our time and consideration.

The question is, of course, whether or not it qualifies, being only 22 minutes long. It played festivals, but it's not getting a wide theatrical release. It's on Vimeo today. 

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2 hours ago, Overstreet said:

I nominate World of Tomorrow, Episode Two: The Burden of Other People's Thoughts, by Don Herzfeldt.

In retrospect, I rate World of Tomorrow as one of my top 5 films 2015. And since I have no reason to disbelieve the reviews, which are hailing this as every bit as spectacular, I'm throwing a "Hail, Mary" pass to the end zone and trusting that this will be well worth our time and consideration.

The question is, of course, whether or not it qualifies, being only 22 minutes long. It played festivals, but it's not getting a wide theatrical release. It's on Vimeo today. 

Seconded. 

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2 hours ago, Overstreet said:

The question is, of course, whether or not it qualifies, being only 22 minutes long. It played festivals, but it's not getting a wide theatrical release. It's on Vimeo today. 

For my own personal purposes, I am counting World of Tomorrow Episode 2 as a 2018 film, mostly due to its super-late Vimeo release, and that it will play festivals, like Sundance). IMDB lists it as a 2017 release, but Mike D'Angelo's NYC master list doesn't have it. All this to say: it's been nominated and seconded and qualifies based on release dates, so it counts for our list of nominees. Also, I loved it. 5/5 stars from me, which is a rarity these days with new releases.

Edited by Joel Mayward

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Looking back through the thread I may have missed seeing these films listed or seconded - But "CoCo" and "Logan" are both worthy of nomination I believe. Family, sacrifice, heritage, mortality, discovery of self (and things greater than self) all shine within both of these. 

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I have a final list of the nominees, and will email out the survey for voting soon. Check your emails today! The deadline for voting on the nominees is January 6 (midnight, PST), so you have about a week to catch up on films you haven't seen yet. Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury (so 8 out of 15 this year). Happy voting!

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Bah, I misread the closing date. Suppose I'm too late to second Call Me By Your Name?

I'm not a *huge* fan of the film, and I tend to shy away from making this list about what films I think Christians "should" watch as a corrective for whatever they are thinking/feeling/believing wrong, but...inclusion *is* a big deal, and I think there is a value in at least including films that depict people outside of the *perceived* Evangelical bubble. 

Also, as gay films go, it is less in-your-face with the depiction of the sex itself, which makes it easier to recommend to Christian audiences than, say, Stranger By the Lake. 

It's my fault for not seconding it earlier, so no harm if ballot already written. 

As an aside, I'll say this about this jury: every year's list seems to be pretty different. This feels like a leaner list of nominees, so I'm curious what will win out or if we'll swing back to more eclectic after being more commercial last year.

 

Edited by kenmorefield

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14 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

It's my fault for not seconding it earlier, so no harm if ballot already written. 

The surveys were created sent out only minutes before this post! Not sure I can edit the survey without having to resend it out. It did surprise me that the film which has been #1 on so many critics' top 10 was never seconded here, but I haven't seen it, so I never seconded it.

16 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

As an aside, I'll say this about this jury: every year's list seems to be pretty different. This feels like a leaner list of nominees, so I'm curious what will win out or if we'll swing back to more eclectic after being more commercial last year.

I'm also very curious. It's an eclectic group of nominees.

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2 hours ago, Noel T Manning II said:

Looking back through the thread I may have missed seeing these films listed or seconded - But "CoCo" and "Logan" are both worthy of nomination I believe. Family, sacrifice, heritage, mortality, discovery of self (and things greater than self) all shine within both of these. 

If I've followed the nominations correctly, Coco received a second (from Evan), while Logan did not.

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3 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

If I've followed the nominations correctly, Coco received a second (from Evan), while Logan did not.

I liked Logan quite a bit, and thematically it fits this list, but it did not hold up well on a second viewing (for me) and the degree, intensity, and graphic nature of the violence made it problematic for me as something I'd want to recommend specifically to Christians.

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Thanks, Joel, for sending out the ballot. I filled mine out and am only now scanning the list of nominated films that didn't get a second. I can roll with titles being left off - not all of us see everything, and we don't all feel strongly about the same films - but I was still quite surprised to see Loveless not seconded. That film has haunted me since seeing it, and it deals with moral issues in profound ways. Its view of faith may be negative - something that I've said makes me hesitant when considering eligible films for this list. So I can see why someone might not want to "endorse" Loveless with a jury nomination.

But the other part of me is picturing jury member finally catching up with Loveless, which I choose to believe they simply must not have seen (right??), and kicking themselves for leaving it off our list.

My imagined life - the one where everyone realizes how correct I am - is my best life.

Happy new year, all!

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11 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

The surveys were created sent out only minutes before this post! Not sure I can edit the survey without having to resend it out. It did surprise me that the film which has been #1 on so many critics' top 10 was never seconded here, but I haven't seen it, so I never seconded it.

I'm also very curious. It's an eclectic group of nominees.

Without getting into vote lobbying, I was looking over the list of nominations to see what I haven't seen yet, and I was struck by how many *divisive* films I thought there were. Of course, I could be wrong about that, but my sense is that there may perhaps be more 1/5 splits than in years past. But we'll see...

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9 hours ago, Christian said:

But the other part of me is picturing jury member finally catching up with Loveless, which I choose to believe they simply must not have seen (right??), and kicking themselves for leaving it off our list.

I haven't seen Loveless, and it's not coming to the UK until February according to IMDB. But I imagine there are a few films on our list of nominees like this, such as Ken's favorite 2017 film, First Reformed, or the Kiarostami film 24 Frames. All played at festivals, but many who haven't been a part of the festival circuit this year probably haven't seen them. In all this, I remain eager to see how the jury votes on these particular nominees and what sort of list we'll produce.

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Thanks for doing all of this, Joel. Thelma opens in Bloomington on Friday, so I'll be turning my ballot in at the last minute, but I will not forget.

 

Christian, I haven't seen Loveless, and sadly have no idea when I'll be able to, although it's one I'm very much looking forward to tracking down eventually. Same thing goes for The Breadwinner.

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23 hours ago, Evan C said:

Thanks for doing all of this, Joel. Thelma opens in Bloomington on Friday, so I'll be turning my ballot in at the last minute, but I will not forget.

You're very welcome, and sounds good! I'm eager to hear your response to Thelma.

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23 hours ago, Evan C said:

Thanks for doing all of this, Joel. Thelma opens in Bloomington on Friday, so I'll be turning my ballot in at the last minute, but I will not forget.

 

Christian, I haven't seen Loveless, and sadly have no idea when I'll be able to, although it's one I'm very much looking forward to tracking down eventually. Same thing goes for The Breadwinner.

Wish you had let me know you wanted to see the Breadwinner -- GKIDS was being very liberal with screener requests. 

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Assuming I may not have time to watch every nominee I haven't seen, in what order should I prioritize: Brigsby Bear, Columbus, Logan Lucky, and Son of Joseph?

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