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kenmorefield

Top 100 for 2020 -- Organization

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Greetings all. 

In the discussion leading up to this year's Top 25, there was some indication about doing a Top 100 in 2020. 

That conversation has extended offline when I discussed book project(s) with possible contributors. 

Although it is some months off before 2020, one thing I learned in the 2019 Top 25 is that the smaller number of current A&F participants means such projects need a slightly longer lead time. Part of that is the principle of inertia -- people aren't in the habit of checking in at A&F as frequently. Part is the difference between "interest" and actual intention. It is harder for people to carve out time in their schedules for projects that pop up and need proximate attention.

Consequently, I went ahead and set up this forum and began this thread in order to:

  • Announce the intention to do a Top 100 list in 2020.
  • Solicit volunteer(s) to handle the logistics. 
  • Settle on dates and mechanics so that those on the fence would have a clear idea of how and when we would proceed. 

I have had 1-2 people tell me privately that they would be willing to take on an administrative role for a Top 100 list. I'm happy to just assign that, but I want to be conscious of giving anyone who wants to take a more active role a chance to speak up rather than just reflexively going to my friends or those I'm most comfortable with. 

So, what is this thread for? I'm glad you asked. I'd like to take a week or so and have a thread where anyone interested in doing a 2020 Top 100 posts any questions or concerns they might have and anyone can post his/her willingness to take on one or more administrative roles. It's my hope that the division of labor can be done by consensus, but I'm willing to make *some* decisions if needed. I just don't want a Top 100 to be "Ken's" project. I don't think it will be, but I'm worried that absent *someone* who is the final decision maker for logistical questions, thinkg will stall and dissipate because everyone is waiting for *someone* to make a decision but nobody feels empowered to do so. 

 

 

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I'm absolutely on board for a new top 100 next year. As I did with the Growing Older list, I'm happy to keep a running list of all nominated and seconded titles. I could probably help with other logistics depending on how much more time consuming they would be. How much different would the process for a top 100 be from a top 25 (other than many more titles to vote on)?


"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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Thanks for beginning the formal conversation about a Top 100 list, Ken. I'd be happy to lead or co-lead the organizing of the list. Coordinating the Ecumenical Jury for the past few years has been a pleasure, and I'd be glad to participate in the 2020 Top 100 list in a substantial administrative way.

I'm curious about the timeline--when would we envision a list like this being published online? And is the Top 100 book project still a go?

Speaking of the Ecumenical Jury--are we still up for doing that at the end of this year as well? That's probably another topic for a new thread, but this conversation reminded me about it.

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5 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

I'm curious about the timeline--when would we envision a list like this being published online? And is the Top 100 book project still a go?

 

I think that would ultimately be up to the point-person. I would be happy to offer suggestions or input but don't necessarily want to dictate. I guess my assumption was that it would be early in the year since that is slow season, movie wise, particularly after Oscars. Also, worth considering how long we want to keep nominations open. Perhaps that is or should be part of the discussion. I heard at least one participant say that perhaps the 2019 Top 25 dragged on a bit; I didn't necessarily feel that, but there is a different energy from maybe ten years ago when there was fresh content a couple times a day to here where we have more leisurely conversations. I haven't been involved in the Top 100 since one of the real early ones...like 2006 maybe?  So anyone taking point may need to do some listening and then some decision making about things like dates, rules (limit number of films by one director? count trilogies? reinstate the Dekalog Exemption? made-for-television movies now that Netflix is a playa? what requirements, if any, for voting? do we need to revisit the weighted voting? iMy management philosophy, such as it is, is to try to allow the people doing the work as much leeway to make the decisions.

Quote

Speaking of the Ecumenical Jury--are we still up for doing that at the end of this year as well? That's probably another topic for a new thread, but this conversation reminded me about it.

I am certainly interested, though I  tend to not think much about End-of-year stuff until post-TIFF, which is when I think awards season really gets going. Still, if the EJ involves drumming up jurors, a little too early is better than a little too late. I can post a forum for it it shortly. 

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kenmorefield wrote:
I tend to not think much about End-of-year stuff until post-TIFF, which is when I think awards season really gets going. 

I hear ya... but TIFF starts very soon, and even VIFF (which begins a week or two after TIFF ends) is already accepting media applications. It feels like festival season (and thus awards season) has basically begun already, in some ways...


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I do have interest / soft approval for an anthology of essays on the Top 100 that would include the publisher using its network for a CFP to solicit essays outside of just this community, so I am interested in solidifying dates for such a project. Given that I have a likely book project on the other side of it, I will coordinate if I have to, though it looks like Joel or Evan might be willing to help out. 

The most pressing need right now, this second, is to decide on a timeline -- I am flexible, but I would like to have something decided before we get too far into 2020. Is there anyone who has expressed interest who would be materially affected by a particular timeline? I'd like to be done sometime mid year so that we are posting results sometime in the summer, but I have some flexibility.

Also, if anyone other than me wants to coordinate/lead this project, now is the time to say so unequivocally. 

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That's great news about the anthology! I'm happy to help lead/coordinate, especially depending on the timeline. Regarding the timing, I looked at past Top 100 threads, and there was quite a lot of discussion about procedures before the actual voting began, but when the voting opened, it was relatively brief, about 3 weeks. It seemed to follow the same timing we've continued to use for the Ecumenical Jury, i.e. nominations and voting in December, list announced in early January and blurbs solicited, published in early-to-mid February, likely to correspond with the Oscars. If we followed this pattern, but transposed it to summer time (voting in May, finalize list and solicit blurbs in June, published in early July), would that work?

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I could live with that, though I'd like to hear any other thoughts about timeline.

My principle concern, which need not be shared by anyone else is that I have a different book contract with a manuscript due in January 2021, so Fall is going to be tough. On the one hand, this timeline would mean that a major project is done in the Summer, but I have a feeling like people won't want to submit essay proposals until the final list is done. (I think maybe a handful of people might have an idea for an essay that they reasonably expect will be on the list, but the external people may want to know the list). So if the list is done in early July...

Given the way academic schedules work, I think people may be more likely to be thinking about working in summer, so a CFP that goes out in late April/Early May might be better for me...but that's essentially guess work.

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I'm still happy to organize nominees and send out a ballot. As long as we start after February 10th, I won't have a problem with scheduling. I will be gone one week of July, but hopefully the list will be done by then. If for some reason we go into October, I'll most likely be MIA. Otherwise, I'm open to whatever is best for everyone else.


"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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Not that it revolves around me, but my most "free" months in 2020 are February, May, July, and August. I think my fall season will be busy with academic writing projects. So, if we aim for the list to be published by June or July, that works well for me.

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Thanks for getting the ball rolling on this! I think Ken's point is a good one from a practical point. I have a heavy teaching load, so I know if I'm going to write something longer than a blurb, and I'd love to contribute an essay to an anthology if possible, I'm going to need the summer to do it (which for me is mid-June to mid-September). If the list itself is finalized by June, or whenever, it could be used as part of a CFP to solicit essays before the actual list with blurbs is published on A&F, I suppose.

I also think it would be a good idea to have a second round of voting to rank the list. The unranked list would be sufficient for a CFP, I think. The ranking round could happen during the early summer. I valued that second round of voting with the Growing Older Top 25 because it gave me the opportunity to view a few more films that I hadn't seen yet but knew were going to be on the list.

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How would people feel about opening nominations March 1 and posting results May 1? (I'm flexible as to where we transition from nominations to voting and voting to soliciting blurbs?)

Also, assuming there will be *some* carry over from previous lists, is it typical to solicit new blurbs for every film or to reuse old blurbs for the films that are carried over?

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That timeline works for me.

Clicking on a few random titles in our Top 100s from 2010 and 2011, the same blurbs were used.  But since it's been nine years since the last Top 100, I think if the person is no longer active on the board and can't be tracked down for permission to use their blurb, a new one should be solicited.  Speaking for myself, I'd welcome the chance to edit something I wrote nine years ago, so maybe current participants should be given that opportunity as well. 


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

http://secularcinephile.blogspot.com

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I'm also very happy to see this new top 100 being brought back into view.  I would love to be a part of it.  March to May works for me.  Summer is a bit busier for me due to travel, but I could likely find some time during that period as well. 

It would be so nice to welcome a number of the Ecumenical Jury members into this top 100 process, in partcularly making a point to invite those who've been part of the Jury but perhaps not part of the A and F list top 25/100 lists in the past.

Exciting!

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Perhaps Joel and Ethan could huddle together, PM, and make a preliminary proposal/discussion for

-- When dates transition from noms to voting and voting to blurbs.

-- Mechanics of nominations. (Are all previous Top 100s automatically nominated? Are there limits to number of nominations someone can make? Does a film need to be seconded? Thirded?) Some of these might change from previous years based on number of participants. 

--Voting structure. I haven't participated in a Top 100 since 2006 or 7 maybe? Anyway, at time a big turn off for me was the *weighting* of votes to privilege those who had participated more actively at A&F. Like Brian mentions above, it would be great if project included new people, but it would be hard for me to say with a straight face to someone who has not participated at A&F before, "We really want you to be a part of this project, so much so that we are willing to offer you half a vote!" That said, I seem to remember one Top 100 where the admin e-mailed a bunch of people to try to get them to participate and that resulted in questions about whether or not the resulting list actually was an *A&F* list, that is reflected the views of people who used this web site. If the EJ or critics groups have taught me anything, it's that the more people there are the more the lists tend to all look the same. If we have 10-15 people voting on a Top 100, our Top 100 may look markedly different from past iterations. I'm okay with that, but there is something to be said for not being *too* abrupt in our changes. 

--We'll need to resolve the *series* questions (Three Colors, Up Series, Before series) and determine whether people can nominate series or just individual movies. Also the TV/movie/outlet question. (You all know my position on the Dekalog, but I sense I may lose that argument...) Maybe we do a top 25 one year for television....but are made for TV movies eligible? Netflix or Amazon prime movies that got only limited theatrical distribution to awards qualify? Case by case basis?

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Ken, I'll look through past threads and see what I can dig up regarding previous iterations of making the list and see if I can get some answers regarding mechanics of nominations and voting structure. I think we've discussed it before, but to make my own position clear, the idea of weighted votes based on post count is something I would strongly resist. However, I do think membership at A&F needs to be a basic minimum (it's a "free" website, so sign up!).

1 hour ago, kenmorefield said:

(You all know my position on the Dekalog, but I sense I may lose that argument...)

I don't believe I do know your position! Is Dekalog a TV series or a film, in your opinion? And are we ready for a Twin Peaks: The Return discussion? :) 

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1 hour ago, Joel Mayward said:

I don't believe I do know your position! Is Dekalog a TV series or a film, in your opinion? And are we ready for a Twin Peaks: The Return discussion? :) 

FWIW, I think we may have had that discussion in whatever year TP:TR was eligible. 2018, right? I’m on a 15-minute work break and don’t have time to investigate, but have a vague memory of Jeffery raising the issue.


"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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My two cents . . .

Twin Peaks: The Return was financed by TV, distributed by TV, and is partly about being a TV show. The television form is baked into its bones. So it's TV. It was one of my favorite moving-image art experiences of the decade but it doesn't belong on a list of films. I'm prepared to die on this hill.  Dekalog  is a less clear-cut case, but I don't think it should be on a list next to films that are, generally speaking, 75-120 minutes long.

Three Colors is three films, as is the Before Trilogy, and the Up series is nine films. Films should be nominated individually, and if they're selected, the write-up should be an opportunity to contextualize them.

I'm open to made-for-TV movies because the format is essentially the same as a theatrical feature. Likewise, movies that have only screened on a streaming service are, of course, eligible. Eliminating them would eliminate 90% of features made in the last 5-10 years.

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2 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

 

I don't believe I do know your position! Is Dekalog a TV series or a film, in your opinion? And are we ready for a Twin Peaks: The Return discussion? :) 

Oh, I've railed against The Dekalog's inclusion in the past, not because it isn't great (or spiritually significant) but because it was so obviously a television miniseries and there seemed something capricious and arbitrary about making an exception just for its sake. (But I *might* have overstated those objections because the last Top 100 I did got all the way to the final list before Admin realized "The Man Who Planted Trees" was 30 minutes long, deemed it a "short," and cut it. ) 

Really, though...time has only made this more complicated given the development of distribution models, but Darren has articulated my general thoughts quite succinctly. (With the possible exception that some of the 7 Up films were made for television, but since I am also a proponent of nominating individual films in a series rather than the series, I don't know that that would be an issue.) 

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11 minutes ago, Darren H said:

 

I'm open to made-for-TV movies because the format is essentially the same as a theatrical feature. Likewise, movies that have only screened on a streaming service are, of course, eligible. Eliminating them would eliminate 90% of features made in the last 5-10 years.

Agreed. Plus that opens up a bit more room for documentary which has always sort of operated under a different distribution model.

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46 minutes ago, Darren H said:

Three Colors is three films, as is the Before Trilogy, and the Up series is nine films. Films should be nominated individually, and if they're selected, the write-up should be an opportunity to contextualize them.

I'm open to made-for-TV movies because the format is essentially the same as a theatrical feature. Likewise, movies that have only screened on a streaming service are, of course, eligible. Eliminating them would eliminate 90% of features made in the last 5-10 years.

This seems like a solid list of criteria to me.

Regarding Twin Peaks: The Return, I'm inclined to consider it more "television" than "film," even as I also think Lynch is deliberately trying to blur those lines and provoke further questions about what cinema is/isn't. With Dekalog, I'd personally view it closer to O.J.: Made in America as an episodic work of cinema. But it's not a hill I would die on.

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44 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

Admin realized "The Man Who Planted Trees" was 30 minutes long, deemed it a "short," and cut it.

Have "short films" not been eligible in the past? IIRC, a Brakhage collection was included at one point.

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9 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

Have "short films" not been eligible in the past? IIRC, a Brakhage collection was included at one point.

They were apparently ineligible last time I voted, but things might have evolved and changes over time. 

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