Jump to content
kenmorefield

Top 100 for 2020 -- Organization

Recommended Posts

Okay, I see that there was a poll for the 2011 voting process, which asked a number of questions about short films, voting scale, inclusion of TV series and trilogies, etc. You can see the results of the poll here: 

 

If the poll results were followed, then short films weren't included in 2011, there was a limit to 3 films per director, there was a 1-5 scale (not 1-10), there was a cutoff release date of December 31 2008 (so, two years), and nominations had to be seconded (which seems normative).

For the 2010 list, the "Spiritually Significant" label was dropped by IMAGE, all the previous included films (about 150 films) were grandfathered in automatically, A&F members could nominate up to 25 additional films in a thread, and (to quote Greg Wolfe in the linked thread), "We are going to try to get away without worrying too much about the issue of eligibility." It was a 1-5 scale, weighted voting by post count. There was also something about a "Peculiar Treasures" list which was going to be made by specifically chosen film critics? Here's the link to the post. I've never seen a Peculiar Treasures list, so perhaps this was abandoned or published elsewhere?

I've not found anything regarding how many votes a film needs to qualify to be on the list, i.e. how at least 50% of the jurors on the Ecumenical Jury have to have seen/voted on a film for it to be included. Any thoughts on this from the community?

So, a final question (for now): should there be a similar poll like there was for the 2011 list, voting on how we'll do the nomination/voting process which we'll democratically follow based on the results? Or, should the list organizers determine the nomination/voting parameters based on feedback from the comments and past lists, which is more "top down" but a bit more streamlined?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm for fully democratizing the process, with a poll to determine whether former films are grandfathered in; the inclusion criteria for short films, TV films, etc.; weighting of votes; what percentage of voters need to have seen the film.  But then again, I'm not the one organizing this shindig, so I want to be respectful of the organizers' time and will certainly understand if they prefer to bypass this step.

FWIW, I see nothing to quibble with, re: Darren's inclusion criteria.


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

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Andrew said:

I'm for fully democratizing the process, with a poll to determine whether former films are grandfathered in; the inclusion criteria for short films, TV films, etc.; weighting of votes; what percentage of voters need to have seen the film.  But then again, I'm not the one organizing this shindig, so I want to be respectful of the organizers' time and will certainly understand if they prefer to bypass this step.

FWIW, I see nothing to quibble with, re: Darren's inclusion criteria.

I have no objection to a poll but am skeptical as to its necessity given low traffic these days. For example, the 2019 Theme Vote for Top 25 had 14 responses. Its possible that a Top 100 might pull in some more people or lurkers, but these preliminary discussions are also a way of having input.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the most interesting question re: inclusion criteria is the most fundamental one: What are we voting on exactly? In the years since our first lists, several of us have left traditional religious practices, others have become atheists, and yet we're still here, carrying on the conversation. I identify greatly with something I heard David Bazan say on a religious podcast (I'm paraphrasing): "Most people in my post-Christian condition wouldn't have accepted the invitation to be on your show, but there is literally no other topic that so occupies my imagination or that I'm more eager to talk about."

Are these the all-time "best" films according a group of people who were drawn together over the years by a shared interest in the intersection of art and faith? Are they the best films that explicitly evoke religious language/iconography/archetypes? Are they films that we deem most worthy of contemplation? I'll nominate and vote according to whatever definition we agree upon, but my preference would be for something like the third option.

As a test case, last weekend I watched Blue Velvet for the first time in 13 years. The last time I watched it, I declared it my favorite Lynch film; this time I came away convinced it's an absolute masterpiece. It would be on my list of the 100 best films of all time, and I think it's worthy of contemplation (given the right context and understanding), but it's not an overtly religous/spiritual film.

 

Edited by Darren H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The March to May timeline works for me. As to grandfathering films on the previous lists in, I don't think it makes too much difference either way - if a film has fallen out of favor with those voting now, it will get low votes if it appears on the ballot via grandfathering, and if a film is still loved, it will certainly get nominated/seconded if we chose not to grandfather.

I'm not sure doing a second ballot to rank 100 films is feasible or practical. It works with ten or twenty-five, but much more than that seems unwieldy. If we really want to rank the finalists, perhaps do it in tiers?

We are called Arts & Faith, and while I don't think the films need to (or necessarily should) be explicitly religious, I think inclusion should be based on how each nominee addresses faith/spirituality however each voter defines that.

 


"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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Darren's point about what exactly we're voting on, I do think having some connection to "spirituality" remains valuable, even as we could define "spirituality" on fairly broad and inclusive terms, using language like a "recognition and celebration of transcendence, connection, meaning, and truth, usually (but not necessarily) in relation to a higher power or deity," or something along those lines (I do like the word "contemplation" too). What I've appreciated about the Arts and Faith Top 100 Films in the past are the genuine appreciation of arts and faith, even as both have wider connotations than merely an ostensibly "religious" film—Brakhage, Tati, Kiarostami, and the Dardennes were there next to Dreyer, Bresson, Rohmer, etc. They were films that expanded my understanding of both the distinctions of the cinematic medium and my understanding of God/humanity/time/existence/love/suffering/connection, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Evan C said:

I'm not sure doing a second ballot to rank 100 films is feasible or practical. It works with ten or twenty-five, but much more than that seems unwieldy. If we really want to rank the finalists, perhaps do it in tiers?

I can see sides of it depending on how many voters we have. I think if people understand the voting, they may cluster differently, i.e. only give a handful of 5s for the very best to differentiate them from others. While some voters may be more liberal with 5s and thus promote films of more liberal (vs. more stingy) raters. I could see an argument for maybe doing one vote and then a second ballot to rank the Top 10 (or Top 20). I would be more likely to err on side of giving the higher of two scores I was on the fence about if I knew I could distinguish between two 5s some way later. If it was only one vote my scores would probably be, unconsciously, a bell curve. 

Regarding Darren's question, mostly what Joel said. I've understood two stages/notions of A&F lists. Earlier ones seemed to want an amorphous but nevertheless real *spiritual* component of the film or content in the film.. I noticed that at some point while I was in the wilderness (particularly with the Top 25s) we seemed to have dropped the "Spiritually Significant" and conceptualized lists as an "Arts & Faith" list, meaning not so much about "art" or "faith" but a  reflection  of the people in this forum. (Though the original conception may still have been a part of it for participants.)

For me, "spiritually significant" is important, but I don't want to impose my conceptions unilaterally. There have been a couple of films that I've found *spiritually* significant but have been unpersuasive about inclusion. (The Godfather springs to mind.) Similarly there have been films that have been rated highly throughout the years that I have not found particularly spiritually significant -- pretty much anything Wes Anderson jumps to mind. 

I don't know that the answer is to craft a *definition* that includes the films I want and pushes people away from the films I don't, but I do think having *some* sort of language beyond just a "the list of this web site which you would know what that meant if you were at this web site" is important. Because I think the real value of these lists to this web site is the discussion it prompts from people revealing their own understandings of art and spirituality by nominating them.  That's admittedly insular and inward directed. I'm not saying the film can't or won't be of value to anyone outside of A&F, just that I've never conceptualized them that way -- that is, not as something to gain us attention or impact culture outside of us.  Even if a film I nominate and my discussion doesn't carry the day, I am better off for having articulated my thoughts and felt pleasure discussing it among friends. Again, I'm not saying that's the "right" answer. I think at times some have thought of these lists as more missional -- something we give to the outside world. To the extent that was ever true (and I'm skeptical), I think it was limited to when we were larger and, perhaps, attached to other projects or had members or leaders who wanted this *site* to be more that way and, perhaps, saw the lists as a means to that end. Not saying that is wrong, nor would I be unhappy if it became that (again?). But in this like with education or business or churches I do have a mindset of not wanting to prioritize the people who aren't here (i.e.the one's'that could be recruited) over the people who (for whatever reason) are here. 

Sorry if that's a little scattered...I'm preoccupied for a couple days an will be distracted until next week...trying to keep an eye on these discussions thought.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Ken. The latter part of your reply has me wondering what the plans are for promoting the list once it's finalized. If the list is just, or mainly, for us, are we not planning to push it out to the broader public? I thought we'd always been "missional" about the list in that promotional sense, but maybe I'm misremembering. Did Image do that promotion on our behalf? Anyone recall?


"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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Christian said:

Thanks, Ken. The latter part of your reply has me wondering what the plans are for promoting the list once it's finalized. If the list is just, or mainly, for us, are we not planning to push it out to the broader public? I thought we'd always been "missional" about the list in that promotional sense, but maybe I'm misremembering. Did Image do that promotion on our behalf? Anyone recall?

Most of the Top 25s (results/blurbs/intro) were published at Image, but I don't know about the Top 100. The results of the Top 100 in intro for 2011 were actually directed to essay SDG did at First Things. (I don't recall if Image was already in charge of site by then.) 

My recollection, which could be faulty is prior to Image ownership, individual A&F members would go tho their own blogs and outlets and once Image owned the site, we had a pattern of discussion here/results at Good Letters (Image Blog). Of course, I don't know if by "promoting" Christian means something more/other than just publishing the list. There may have been some early stuff at CT when Jeff was there and Mark was editing, but CT did a lot more news/discussion of stuff at other places back then. 

If I/we do a book, there would obviously be some minimal promotion of the results at Cambridge Scholars Website and (more importantly for me) during the Call For Papers that would let people on their communication chain know the Top 100 process has begun and give them time to participate in it/be aware of it rather than just saying, "Here's a completed list, does anyone want to contribute a paper about it..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I do think having *some* sort of language beyond just a 'the list of this web site which you would know what that meant if you were at this web site' is important."

I agree, Ken. Apologies for these three tangents. I hope they're useful . . .

First, I had a really good conversation with my parents last weekend, which, frankly, has been too rare in our lives. We covered a lot of topics that have been unspoken in recent years, including my mom's concerns for my children, who are not being raised in the church. My dad surprised me a bit by telling me he's proud of the man/father I've become, and he seemed genuinely curious about how my leaving the church was an essential part of my maturation. (I'm not in any way implying it's essential for others.)

Second, the morning before that conversation I watched Kiarostami's Through the Olive Trees. (I began the year by watching the Koker Trilogy and Homework, all for the first time.) As some of you might have seen, my pithy-but-true response on Twitter and Letterboxd was: "I've never wanted more to be a good and decent person."

Third, I launched my blog, longpauses.com, around the same time I discovered this community. The title of the site was a kind of mission statement, stolen from Denise Levertov's poem, "Making Peace," which begins:

Quote

A voice from the dark called out,

             ‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’

 

All of which is to say that if I'm in a lifelong process of maturing into a more decent person, then I owe much of my growth to the time I've spent watching, reading, discussing, and thinking critcally about art, and specifically about art that has fed my imagination with peace rather than disaster. I used the word "contemplation" earlier because it's my shorthand for that effort.

I guess I'd like the list to advocate for this kind of relationship with art.

Edited by Darren H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is what Steven wrote at First Things back in 2011 to describe the intent behind the Top 100 list:

Quote

Originally called the Arts & Faith “Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films,” the list is not confined to explicitly religious subjects, but spiritual and moral concerns are a unifying principle. The list honors films not simply for technical achievement or historical importance, but because they reflect profoundly on the mystery of man, and often because they have played some significant role in the personal journeys of the voting members. 

"Spiritual and moral concerns" as a general unifying principle, as well as the list being a reflection of the personal journeys of the voting members—this all still rings true to me for this new list.

Regarding the missional aspect described by Ken, while it may not be the primary concern (i.e. creating a list in order to get more clicks and/or forum members and participation), I will say that the Top 100 list was my introduction to Arts and Faith over a decade ago with the 2008 iteration, and I've encountered a number of people over the years who have told me about this "Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films" list they found once (e.g., a professor I had in seminary was elated when he learned I was involved with A&F, because the 2010 list introduced him to Dekalog). So, even if publicity isn't necessarily the main motivation, we should still appreciate that publishing a list—both online, and as a book!—is a deliberately public act which invites those outside of A&F to consider both the films on the list, as well as the nature of the online community itself.

10 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

I could see an argument for maybe doing one vote and then a second ballot to rank the Top 10 (or Top 20).

If we were going to do a second ballot for ranking, I think something like this would be doable (or even a Top 25), rather than ranking 100 films. I will say that the second ranking ballots have made a significant difference for many of the final Ecumenical Jury lists; whether that's a benefit or not is debatable (i.e. if film moves from #3 or #4 to #1).

3 minutes ago, Darren H said:

All of which is to say that if I'm in a lifelong process of maturing into a more decent person, then I owe much of my growth to the time I've spent watching, reading, discussing, and thinking critically about art, and specifically about art that has fed my imagination with peace rather than disaster. I used the word "contemplation" earlier because it's my shorthand for that effort.

I guess I'd like the list to advocate for this kind of relationship with art.

Well said. I think this speaks of a formative/transformative aspect of the films we'd like to appear on such a list as well—these are films which may have affected and changed us, guided us and challenged us, enriched us and enlightened us, expanded our spiritual/moral/personal/existential imaginations, made us more aware. And such contemplation and appreciation is perhaps akin to a spiritual practice or discipline in the vein of Thomas Merton or mystical theologians, where contemplatio is to "gaze" at the invisible transcendent presence and be more aware its reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2020 at 8:25 AM, kenmorefield said:

I have no objection to a poll but am skeptical as to its necessity given low traffic these days. For example, the 2019 Theme Vote for Top 25 had 14 responses. Its possible that a Top 100 might pull in some more people or lurkers, but these preliminary discussions are also a way of having input.

This makes sense to me.

Very much enjoying the discussion here.  I appreciate the inclusive definition of spirituality being utilized (and from Steven's 2011 comments, it's been a part of things for 9 years).  Even as an atheist who doesn't accept the presence of a human or divine spirit, I don't think we've found a better word than "spirituality" to encompass everything we're talking about.  And at least one of the surviving "Four Horsemen" of atheism, Sam Harris, has repeatedly said as much, too.


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

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

these are films which may have affected and changed us, guided us and challenged us, enriched us and enlightened us, expanded our spiritual/moral/personal/existential imaginations, made us more aware. And such contemplation and appreciation is perhaps akin to a spiritual practice or discipline in the vein of Thomas Merton or mystical theologians, where contemplatio is to "gaze" at the invisible transcendent presence and be more aware its reality.

I'm good with this definition if y'all are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Darren H said:
9 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

these are films which may have affected and changed us, guided us and challenged us, enriched us and enlightened us, expanded our spiritual/moral/personal/existential imaginations, made us more aware. And such contemplation and appreciation is perhaps akin to a spiritual practice or discipline in the vein of Thomas Merton or mystical theologians, where contemplatio is to "gaze" at the invisible transcendent presence and be more aware its reality.

I'm good with this definition if y'all are.

Yes, I'm good with this, too. I know that for me, engaging with art, including film, is an important part of my own spiritual practice for these very reasons. All sorts of films can direct my gaze beyond the screen (or page or canvas) to ...well, I'd use religiously specific language here, but to reality, truth, presence, goodness (even if via the depiction of the absence of goodness). Sometimes that happens sheerly through the artistry of the work, sometimes through the values conveyed, sometimes through the language or religion or faith. I envision this list as the films that have done something like that for everyone here. Then there are the handful of films that have gone beyond that and have really decentered me from the experience, where the work of art has been a vehicle for the Spirit (that's what I'd call it, but I respect that others would call it otherwise) to grab me and make some kind of claim on my life.

On 1/23/2020 at 3:47 PM, Joel Mayward said:

To Darren's point about what exactly we're voting on, I do think having some connection to "spirituality" remains valuable, even as we could define "spirituality" on fairly broad and inclusive terms, using language like a "recognition and celebration of transcendence, connection, meaning, and truth, usually (but not necessarily) in relation to a higher power or deity," or something along those lines (I do like the word "contemplation" too). What I've appreciated about the Arts and Faith Top 100 Films in the past are the genuine appreciation of arts and faith, even as both have wider connotations than merely an ostensibly "religious" film—Brakhage, Tati, Kiarostami, and the Dardennes were there next to Dreyer, Bresson, Rohmer, etc. They were films that expanded my understanding of both the distinctions of the cinematic medium and my understanding of God/humanity/time/existence/love/suffering/connection, etc.

This really nails if for me, too.

9 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:
Quote

Originally called the Arts & Faith “Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films,” the list is not confined to explicitly religious subjects, but spiritual and moral concerns are a unifying principle. The list honors films not simply for technical achievement or historical importance, but because they reflect profoundly on the mystery of man, and often because they have played some significant role in the personal journeys of the voting members. 

"Spiritual and moral concerns" as a general unifying principle, as well as the list being a reflection of the personal journeys of the voting members—this all still rings true to me for this new list

And this.

On 1/23/2020 at 3:06 PM, Evan C said:

We are called Arts & Faith, and while I don't think the films need to (or necessarily should) be explicitly religious, I think inclusion should be based on how each nominee addresses faith/spirituality however each voter defines that.

Agreed.

20 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

For me, "spiritually significant" is important, but I don't want to impose my conceptions unilaterally. There have been a couple of films that I've found *spiritually* significant but have been unpersuasive about inclusion. (The Godfather springs to mind.) Similarly there have been films that have been rated highly throughout the years that I have not found particularly spiritually significant -- pretty much anything Wes Anderson jumps to mind. 

I don't know that the answer is to craft a *definition* that includes the films I want and pushes people away from the films I don't, but I do think having *some* sort of language beyond just a "the list of this web site which you would know what that meant if you were at this web site" is important.

Agreed.

On 1/23/2020 at 7:56 AM, Darren H said:

Are these the all-time "best" films according a group of people who were drawn together over the years by a shared interest in the intersection of art and faith? Are they the best films that explicitly evoke religious language/iconography/archetypes? Are they films that we deem most worthy of contemplation?

So potentially all of the above, right? It makes sense for there to be some boundaries, but letting individuals set those for themselves by working along these inclusive lines should work fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stand by everything I wrote and agreed with yesterday, but I didn't want to give the impression that I think the criteria for a film's inclusion should be totally subjective. Even if it's not defined in writing, I too want to be on the same page about what we're doing and what kind of films we're choosing. I want to be able to make an argument for a film's inclusion based on more than just my own experience. A film's inclusion should ultimately be about the film.  Likewise I want to be won over to understanding how a film might be spiritually significant even if I didn't initially see it that way (The Godfather and Blue Velvet would be good examples) rather than just a masterpiece of filmmaking (I can look at the Sight & Sound lists for that).

I favor using the term "spiritually significant," understood inclusively and expansively as we've noted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/24/2020 at 7:00 AM, Joel Mayward said:
On 1/23/2020 at 8:47 PM, kenmorefield said:

I could see an argument for maybe doing one vote and then a second ballot to rank the Top 10 (or Top 20).

If we were going to do a second ballot for ranking, I think something like this would be doable (or even a Top 25), rather than ranking 100 films. I will say that the second ranking ballots have made a significant difference for many of the final Ecumenical Jury lists; whether that's a benefit or not is debatable (i.e. if film moves from #3 or #4 to #1).

I strongly favor a second ballot based on the experience in the past Top 25 lists. I do think it will make a difference in the order actually reflecting the groups thoughts.

I think 25 would be the right number for the second ballot. I’m guessing most everyone will have seen 25 out of the top 100 (or could watch a few more during the voting period), so no one would have to rank a movie they hadn’t seen, but it would be enough to generate a meaningful ranking of the films.

It seems that there are at least two options here. The second round could be to rank, say, one’s top 25 films which would determine the top 25 and the initial results from the 1-5 ranking would determine the rank of 26-100.

OR, and I think I would prefer this, the second round could involve ranking one’s top 25 films and the resulting rankings would determine the ranking of the entire list. (All the films left out of an individuals Top 25 would have to receive the same score (either a 0 or 26, depending on how scores were given), otherwise a single number 1 ranking for a film that was on no one else’s second ballot would earn maximum points.  If a film was not put in a top 25 by anyone, then the initial ranking would apply, but coming after all the films ranked in people’s top 25.

Another possibility: this latter method could be used to generate a top 100 ranking and that could be averaged with the rankings of the initial 1-5 ranking. Then there would be two ranked lists, and the final ranking could be an averaging of the two, with ties being broken by the score of the initial ranking. That would seem to me to generate the list with the greatest balance of the overall consensus as well as how passionately people care about the films. (It’s kind of like how when baseball journalists consider a players’ Hall of Fame worthiness, they consider both career performance and peak performance together.)

I don't have strong feelings on whether the initial ranking is 1-5 or 1-10. If it were up to me, I'd say let's have one single ballot where everyone ranks their Top 100 films of those nominated. :-)

On 1/23/2020 at 3:06 PM, Evan C said:

As to grandfathering films on the previous lists in, I don't think it makes too much difference either way - if a film has fallen out of favor with those voting now, it will get low votes if it appears on the ballot via grandfathering, and if a film is still loved, it will certainly get nominated/seconded if we chose not to grandfather.

Makes sense to me. I favor some grandfathering for convenience's sake in the nominating process. I think only the previous 2011 list should be automatically on the ballot though. Films from earlier lists can be nominated the normal way.

image.gif.12089ca991d1e160cdfd64bce38cc8f1.gifI generally (but not rigidly) agree with Ken and Darren (I can't figure out how to quote from them from the previous page of 25 posts) on the issue of series and TV. I am open to film series being considered on a case by case basis, but I see the need for some consistency in criteria.

A quick scroll through the old lists reveals at least 6 entries that don’t fit this.

On the 2011 list: Dekalog, Three Colors, Apu Trilogy

On earlier lists: The Lord of the Rings, Jesus of Nazareth, By Brakhage: An Anthology

I move that these 6 entries be allowed to be on the nominations list but no other series entries or works make for TV. (I may have missed some.) This sticks to some precedent and gives continuity to the lists. It’s a compromise. Those 3 from the 2011 list have been on every single A&F Top 100, and it would be a shame if they fell off on a technicality. That said, I personally wouldn’t mind voting separately on the different films in Three Colors and Apu. But Dekalog I think should remain a single option no matter what.

I’m happy to offer a further defense of these for inclusion.

As to the others:

By Brakhage: An Anthology-- a single Criterion release; I’d consider this but I know I’m not going to favor including any individual Brakhage shorts.

The Lord of the Rings-- not only conceived of as one project based on one literary work, it was also shot simultaneously. I certainly have thoughts on the films individually, but they really do constitute a single filmic work.

Jesus of Nazareth—a TV miniseries but the narrative is pretty seamless, no more episodic than the biblical narrative. Nowadays everyone talks about this as if it were a film, it seems to me. Of these latter three, I feel most strongly that this one be allowed.

 

I would also favor allowing short films. Masterpieces (that I have found spiritually significant) like The Man Who Planted Trees or The House Is Black (on the 2010 list) deserve a shot.

 

December 31, 2019 seems like the right cutoff for a film's inclusion to me. Especially if there’s a second round of voting, there shouldn’t be an issue with whatever is hot right now being placed too highly on the list.

If there's a second ballot, I think that just two months for the whole process might be too tight, especially considering its 100 rather than 25. I know I'll want some time between the initial list and the second ballot to watch or rewatch some of those films.

 

image.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good discussion for which I am thankful.
Could someone summarize where we are in this thread? I've been on the road for a week or so, so I'm not entirely clear on who has volunteered for what and what needs to be settled before we start, assuming March 1 is a start date. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had some discussion with Evan and Joel via e-mail. 

We are trying to open process on March 1. To my knowledge, these three questions/issues are not resolved:

1) Are films in the past Top 100 (2011) automatically nominated?

2) Is there a limit on the number of nominations or seconds any one voter can make?

3) Are we retaining the rule that the list cannot have more than 3 films by the same director?

My feeling is that #2 should be "no" b/c of low traffic, but I am not sure if the process or list of nominees could get unwieldy with unlimited nominations. Also, should a film need more than one second?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Also, should a film need more than one second?

In previous list-making, films needed only one second, while TV series (e.g. Dekalog) or trilogies where the films were made at the same time or were deemed interconnected enough that you needed all three to appreciate the narrative (e.g. LOTR) needed a third.

Regarding #1, I have a mixed feelings. On the one hand, by grandfathering in the previous Top 100 (2011), we can focus our collective attention on newer or different nominations while also appreciating what was contributed in the past, and it probably includes films which might not be nominated now due to lower website traffic, but still reflect A&F's historical ethos (i.e. it's more "traditional"). On the other hand, there's a part of me that wants to start afresh and create a whole new list that reflects A&F *now* in 2020. So, if we chose to nominate films that were on previous A&F lists, it's because we (i.e. whoever is presently participating at A&F) find those films to be valuable and significant, not because they were grandfathered in. Which is all to say, I'd be okay grandfathering the list more for practical purposes (we wouldn't have to make so many nominations!), but would prefer to create a new list for 2020, with new nominations from the active participants here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

We are trying to open process on March 1. To my knowledge, these three questions/issues are not resolved:

1) Are films in the past Top 100 (2011) automatically nominated?

2) Is there a limit on the number of nominations or seconds any one voter can make?

3) Are we retaining the rule that the list cannot have more than 3 films by the same director?

My thoughts:

1) Like Joel, I'm ambivalent on this one.  I've started to type a couple of replies, then stop and think, "on the other hand..."  

2) Given the small number of participants in last year's list-making, I'd say no.

3) Either 2 or 3 would be my preference. 

 


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

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we use the same nomination process . . . Given how little time most of us spend on this forum, I'd recommend grandfathering in past films just to save time and effort. Then we can focus on new nominations. I'd like to think that our shifting demographics and evolving thoughts on both faith and the list itself will influence our voting in ways that produce a different list.

I'm not trying to complicate things, but here's another idea, inspired partly by my weird dislike of the seconding process.* What if everyone who intends to vote submitted a fresh top 25? We could copy/paste them into a spreadsheet and eliminate duplicates, and use that new master list as our starting point. (The only trick for eliminating dupes would be standardizing the spelling of the title, which we could solve by requiring everyone to use the official IMDb title.) I imagine there would be a lot of duplicates--Ordet seems a shoo-in!--so we'd likely end up with a starting list that is similar, but not identical, to the past list.

I see a couple advantages to this. First, I think I'd enjoy the process of coming up with a top 25. I'm a very different person than I was when we all first met, and I've seen thousands of new (to me) films. I feel like my pre-voting time would be better spent thinking through what I really value--what I'm advocating for with this list--rather than nominating and seconding. Second, with aggregate polls like this, I always find the personal lists more interesting than the final results. We could post voter's lists and have follow-up pieces where each of us advocates for a personal favorite that didn't make the Top 100. One reason I like the idea of submitting a personal top 25 rather than a top 10 is because it's a big enough list to allow for idiosyncratic choices.

ADDED: I can also imagine there being a fun pre-voting thread called something like, "Make a case for the idiosyncratic films on your list."

All just a recommendation made in good faith . . .

* Seconding requires checking in on the site constantly, scrolling through the list of nominations and posting "second," which someone else then has to track. We're such a small, tight group now, I'm not convinced it's necessary.

Edited by Darren H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My initial reaction to Darren's suggestion of submitting personal top 25 lists for a starting point is YES. It raises questions about procedure (i.e. when and how we would submit such lists, and when/how to vote on the subsequent communal list), but it'd certainly shake things up a bit, and in a good way, IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Darren H said:

I'm not trying to complicate things, but here's another idea, inspired partly by my weird dislike of the seconding process.* What if everyone who intends to vote submitted a fresh top 25? We could copy/paste them into a spreadsheet and eliminate duplicates, and use that new master list as our starting point. (The only trick for eliminating dupes would be standardizing the spelling of the title, which we could solve by requiring everyone to use the official IMDb title.) I imagine there would be a lot of duplicates--Ordet seems a shoo-in!--so we'd likely end up with a starting list that is similar, but not identical, to the past list.

 

There are things I like about this, in particular that it shifts the focus from nominating a film to discussing it.  My one concern logistically is whether we all submit lists without discussion and then just discuss them before voting or whether we would submit lists at different times and whether that would incentivize some to produce lists late so that they don't use up nominations on something someone else will nominate. 

Here's my other concern...and its the more pertinent one. I have no idea how many people will participate. We've talked about this for over a year now and gone through one other Top 25. I expect it will be about 10-15 people, but....who konws? There are lurkers and if I/we do go the route of a companion book that could bring in new people (though I'm not counting on it). My point is that if there are 10 people and each does a 25 film list with no discussion, there might not be 100 different films. On the other hand, if there are 10 people, each with a 25 film unique list, than that is 250 films we are voting on...and what if the number of contributors grows? 

How about this? (Just spitballing...)

1) We open nominations March 1. 

2) Nominations consists of submitting a list of 25 films by  April 1. 

3) If there are less than 20 participants, each person gets to select two films from their list to be on the final 100 (but not their rank). If there are more than 20 participants (unlikely but possible) each participant gets to select 1 film to be on the final list
4) From April 1-15 we vote on the nominated films (Likert scale 1-5)

5) From April 16-30 we have an optional second vote to rank the top 25 by score. 

6) From May 1-10 we collect blurbs.

7) Post list in Mid-May (which is right around graduation time). 

Again, the biggest problem I see is that if there are 10 participants with 25 unique films, the voting could have 250 films or more, making the round 1 voting time consuming. I could certainly do that, but I'm not sure if that will turn people off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken, I imagined it as a blind submission. "If you want to be part of the nomination process, you must submit a top 25 to Darren Hughes by April 1. He will then compile the submissions, remove duplicates, and post the list of nominees for general discussion." I'd want it blind so that no one is able to nominate strategically. Maybe it's because my day job consists of staring at huge spreadsheets, but I'm not worried about too many submissions. Just the opposite, actually. 

Assuming we're all acting in good faith--that we're all sincerely naming 25 films that we believe are of real significance--there's going to be a lot of overlap. Then the finer points will shake out in the voting. And by "finer points" I mean, does The Kid With a Bike earn the top Dardenne slot (as it should) or does that honor go to The Son?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...