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A&F Site News -- Please Read


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Hi everyone. 

Yesterday I purchased the Arts & Faith website from Image Journal. In the coming weeks, the Image staff will work towards transferring the hosting account over to me and then I will be responsible for site decisions and upkeep.

I won't presume to speak publicly for Image, but the impression I got is that they are themselves focused on transitioning to new leadership and welcomed the chance to find someone who would caretake the site while allowing them to assess what is best for the Journal and programs (like the Glen) that so many of our community cherish.

For my part, my motivations, at least in the short term were pretty simple. I want to keep the site afloat and provide the communication necessary for conversations about the Ecumenical Jury and Top 100 to move forward. I don't presume that everyone here will have the same level of interest in those projects once this board is not an Image property, but my hope is that having a more active line of communication will help. I think and hope I speak for everyone who is still here in expressing gratitude to Image for stepping in when this board needed it. We probably wouldn't have an Arts & Faith forum today if it wasn't for them.

Once I have administrative board control, there are a couple of superficial changes I will look into making fairly quickly. I can take a look at the "Spammers" thread and investigate how up to date that is. I'll also probably delete some of the threads in "Short Term Parking" since that area has always claimed to be a place where people can put content that will go away after several days or migrate to a more appropriate, permanent thread. 

I have some other ideas bubbling around my head about possible directions for the website, but as this is busy season for me both academically and in film criticism, I don't anticipate making any major changes quickly. I would also, of course, welcome input from the community about things you would like to see happen around here. I can't promise I will implement all of them, but I will listen with interest, try to think about what's for the common good, and turn the page on any lingering conflicts. The latter isn't easy, at least not for me, and I suspect my taking ownership of what is often thought to be a community property might be looked at askance in some quarters. I know I have, over the years, felt hurt personally and professionally by words and actions done by members of this community. I've quit A&F more than once and was banned by a previous administrator from posting for a season. I don't think my experience is unique, though it is not for me to say where everyone is at. I'm just saying, if you've had mixed feelings or mixed experiences at A&F and *especially* if those have involved me, I can certainly understand how change can be disconcerting. I will work on being accessible (as much as I can be as a working professional), empathetic, and (to the extent I am human) forgiving. I will also try to exercise discernment between personality clashes and unacceptable or hurtful behavior.

My hope is that A&F can be a resource for those who care about the intersection of Arts & Faith. Perhaps that will just mean being an archive of a time when the board thrived. Perhaps a period of waxing will come after our period of waning. I'm not in the prediction business. But at a bare minimum, I think the site is worth preserving, warts and all. And I obviously think that it is worth investing a certain amount of my time, energy, attention, and, yes, money, towards not just keeping it afloat but keeping it moving forward.

I look forward to seeing what the next chapter will bring. Thanks for reading this note to the end.



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Thanks for this update, Ken, and thank you for stepping up to help preserve the board.

I very much want to continue the Ecumenical Jury awards, and I would still like to do a new top 100 as well.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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I'm pleased that the site will continue and under the auspices of a long time contributor. Like others, Arts & Faith has been an important place online for me over the past 16 (!) years. Happy to hear the Ecumenical Jury and top 100 will continue.

Best and let me know if you're interested in accepting small contributions towards keeping the board running.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut


Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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I'm glad the site will live on under your guidance, Ken. Thank you for taking the initiative to preserve A&F. I still check the board frequently to read new posts.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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9 hours ago, Anders said:


Best and let me know if you're interested in accepting small contributions towards keeping the board running.


Thanks, Anders. I suspect it will take me several weeks if not months to get a sense of what operational costs are. I'm in uncharted territory on that subject. I don't ever want this to be a place people have to pay to use. There is obviously some understandable trepidation about finances when budgets aren't folded into larger institutional projects, but I feel confident that I can manage for at least as long as it takes to get a clear picture of what things cost. I also know from conversations that I've heard or been a part of at places like OFCS and SEFCA that critics aren't making a lot of money. Neither are artists. 

That said, I've been humbled in the last year at NCFCA, which doesn't have dues, by the number of people who *want* to contribute in some small way to projects or things that enrich them. I get that, and I'll look for ways to allow people who are in a position to do so to be generous themselves.

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I've been kicking around A&F for 15 years - during that time it has nourished me and nurtured my artistic appreciation and critical sense immensely, through the wisdom of too many folks to name.  I've also learned a lot about how to express my points-of-view in articulate ways - admittedly, sometimes by first making an ass of myself - but the people here have still by and large welcomed me back graciously.  It's saddened me to see the wane of this board over the last couple of years, and I would love to see it thrive again.

Ken, your announcement surprised me, but I trust your decisions here.  You've been a good friend to me, and I think you do a fine job in helping to lead the North Carolina Film Critics Association, so I'm hopeful that you will do good things as well with A&F.  

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, Ken.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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