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Joel Mayward

2019 Arts and Faith Ecumenical Jury: Nominations and Discussion

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Welcome to the 2019 Arts and Faith Ecumenical Jury thread! Here's the vision for our jury and the films we nominate each year, written by Ken Morefield a few years ago: 

Quote

“The [Arts and Faith] Ecumenical Jury is made up of film critics and cinephiles who wish to recognize and celebrate films that use the medium to explore themes of religion, faith, or spirituality. We particularly seek to enlarge or expand the perception of what is meant by either labelling a film a "Christian" film or suggesting that it should be of interest to Christian audiences. The jury seeks to recognize quality films (regardless of genre) that have challenged, moved, enlightened, or entertained us and to draw the attention of Christian audiences to films it thinks have the potential to do the same for them."

Here’s our timeline for this process:

Nominations open on Monday, November 25.  To nominate a film, simply post the film title in the nomination forum thread or email it directly to me (jmayward@gmail.com). All nominated films must receive a "second" vote from another jury member in order to appear on the voting ballot, which can happen either by posting “seconded” in the forum or via email, or a jury member nominating the same film. Non-jurors can also recommend films for nomination in this thread, but they must be seconded by two jury members. I will keep a tally of all the nominated and seconded films within this thread, updating it regularly as we go.

You can use this same thread to discuss, advocate, question, process, or to direct folks to links to other threads or conversations about the nominated films. I'd encourage you to give your reasons behind nominating or seconding a film, especially during this nomination process—encourage us to check out great films we may not have seen yet!

Qualifying films: a North American first-time theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, streaming, or festival release in the 2019 calendar year. Regarding questions of release dates (e.g. Young Ahmed premiered in 2019 in festivals like VIFF and NYFF, but will get a wider release in the US in 2020) and what constitutes a “film” (e.g. limited series like Unbelievable on Netflix), I put full trust in the jury’s viewing and voting practices, and in the conversation we will have within the forum. If you think a film is a 2019 film and worth our consideration, make your case in the forum thread!

Nominations will close at 11:59pm (PST) on Tuesday, December 31. This is fairly late in the year for end-of-year film lists, but it follows our pattern from previous years. On January 1, I'll email jury members a link for a survey with all the nominated films that they can rank 1-5 (strongly disagree-strongly agree that the film should be on our jury's top 10 list). You are to vote only for films you have seen--if you haven't seen a film, simply leave that ballot blank or unranked. Again, how you rank/rate a film is entirely up to your discretion and judgment; I trust in the process.

Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury. This is so a film with high scores seen by a minority of jurors doesn't have an undue advantage (i.e. a film with only three “5” votes in total would have a higher average score than a film with ten “5” votes and one “4” vote, but the latter film would be a better reflection of the jury's collective opinion and film-viewing experience). If there are not ten eligible films that score “4” or higher on average, the foreperson (that's me!) reserves the right to look at film(s) that averaged over 4 but had less eligible voters.

Voting closes at 11:59pm (PST) Wednesday, January 8. This gives a week for jury members to vote on the nominated films. After the totals have been added up using some math wizardry, I'll send out an email with the results. Then I’ll send you an optional second ballot with the ten finalists asking folks to rank them. This had a big impact on where certain films ranked in the final top 10 last year, so indicate on your first ballot if you'd like to receive this optional second ballot. If you choose not to ask for the second ballot, I'll base your rankings on your scores for this first ballot, giving equal weight to all films receiving the same designation/score.

Finally, I'll solicit "blurbs" for the final list, as well as your Honorable Mention, a film which did not end up on the top 10 list, but you would like to see recognized. I appreciate the various Honorable Mentions, as it’s always very diverse and interesting.

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Here are a few suggestions for 2019 to get the thread going:

Ad Astra

Blinded by the Light

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Parasite

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Toy Story 4

Yesterday

 

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On 11/17/2019 at 2:18 AM, Noel T Manning II said:

Here are a few suggestions for 2019 to get the thread going:

Ad Astra

Blinded by the Light

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Parasite

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Toy Story 4

Yesterday

 

Noel, we'll wait until November 25 to officially begin the nominating process, so keep these in mind for your "official" nominations.

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Here is the 2019 jury so far, listed in alphabetical order by first name:

Anders Bergstrom (3 Brothers Film)

Brett McCracken (The Gospel Coalition)

Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile)

Gareth Higgins (The Porch)

Joel Mayward (Cinemayward / Think Christian)

Josh Larsen (Filmspotting / Think Christian)

Ken Morefield (1More Film Blog)

Kevin Sampson (Picture Lock)

Melissa Tamminga (Seattle Screen Scene)

Michael Leary (Freelance)

Noel T. Manning (Cinemascene / Meet Me at the Movies)

Peter T. Chattaway (FilmChat) 

Sarah Welch-Larson (Think Christian / BW/DR / Freelance)

Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films / National Catholic Register)

Thomas Manning (Elements of Madness)

I'm still awaiting responses from a few people, so this isn't finalized until next week when we start officially nominating films. If there are any other Christian film critics you think would be interested in participating, please email or DM me their name and contact info. And please let me know if your "handle" or website I've listed above is accurate. Looking forward to the end-of-year film conversation with this group of critics!

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On 11/20/2019 at 12:53 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

Hey, where's *my* middle initial?

Corrected. Peter T. Chattaway. :) 

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3 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

Corrected. Peter T. Chattaway. :) 

Does anyone know what the "T stands for? Insert best guess...

I'm thinking Terminator?

 

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I'd also like to include Ford V. Ferrari for consideration: themes - determination, faith meets science, pursuit of perfection, loyalty, family.

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On 11/16/2019 at 9:18 PM, Noel T Manning II said:

Here are a few suggestions for 2019 to get the thread going:

Toy Story 4

 

 

Second Toy Story 4. 

I nominate:

  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

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I will nominate the following:

A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick)

Light from Light (Paul Harrill)

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers)

Amazing Grace (Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack)

One Child Nation (Nanfu Wang, Zhang Jia-Ling)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Michael Dougherty)

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I'll nominate:

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)

I Heard You Paint Houses/The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)

Missing Link (Chris Butler)

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Martin Scorsese)

Us (Jordan Peele)

The Beach Bum (Harmony Korine)

The Hottest August (Bret Story)

Apollo 11 (Todd Douglas Miller)

 

Second:

The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers)

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho)

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36 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

List of Nominees (bolded are seconded)

A Hidden Life

Ad Astra

Amazing Grace

Apollo 11

Blinded by the Light

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Heard You Paint Houses/The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Light from Light

Missing Link

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

One Child Nation

Parasite

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

The Beach Bum

The Hottest August

The Lighthouse

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Toy Story 4

Us

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Yesterday

 

Joel, would you like me to split this or perhaps cut/paste it to first post? I think it might be helpful to have this list at the top of thread so that we are not scrolling through to find it.

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Hi friends - good to be back.

My nominations: 

Diane

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Farewell

Marriage Story

Gloria Bell

Motherless Brooklyn

Knives Out

Booksmart

Vita & Virginia

Wild Nights with Emily

Long Shot

Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life

Ad Astra

JoJo Rabbit

Yesterday

Parasite

 

Best experiences I had in a theatre this year: BARAKA a couple of weeks ago, at the White Horse Black Mountain, APOCALYPSE NOW Final Cut at a "IMAX" in Bend, Oregon.

Best cinematic experience that isn't a movie: THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE

Most ethically surprising blockbusters: TERMINATOR 6: BUT I LITERALLY DON'T REMEMBER THE SUBTITLE and SPIDERMAN: I KNOW IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH BEING OVERSEAS

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gareth Higgins said:

Hi friends - good to be back.

My nominations: 

Knives Out

I had an absolute blast at Knives Out. Really enjoyed it. Not sure I see the particular angle of recommending it to Christian audiences...but I would like to be convinced because it's fun and with Jojo getting some push back, I'm not sure whether comedy will show well on our lists. So anyone have a rationale for it?

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Hi all - happy to be back again.

Seconding The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Us, Marriage Story, and Ad Astra.

I'm tentatively inclined to second Knives Out as well, if just for the faint "the meek will inherit the earth" through-line, but this feels like faint rationale when compared to some of the other titles here.

Gareth, I genuinely loved Terminator: Dark Fate (although most of the plot has already flown away, never to be remembered again). It surprised me too!

 

Nominating Her Smell, a difficult but rewarding sit.

 

Eagerly awaiting A Hidden Life and Light From Light.

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5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Joel, would you like me to split this or perhaps cut/paste it to first post? I think it might be helpful to have this list at the top of thread so that we are not scrolling through to find it.

Yes, please do so! I didn't anticipate there would be nominations this early, so having the post nearer the top would be helpful. Thanks Ken.

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I'd like to add 1917 to the mix. WOW! Themes of faith, hope, sacrifice, loyalty, & persistence toward's a mission even when all is against you... discovering that the human spirit is more powerful than we can imagine. Amazing filmmaking ... watch this on the largest screen possible. 

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I'll second Apollo 11 & Once Upon a Time in Hollywood @Anders

Edited by Noel T Manning II
tagging original

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I second Amazing Grace and Diane.

I nominate:

The Dead Don't Die

Missing Link

They Shall Not Grow Old

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10 hours ago, Evan C said:

I nominate:

Missing Link

I somehow missed that Anders already nominated Missing Link, so consider that a second.

I also second The Farewell.

I nominate:

Everybody Knows

Last Christmas

The Nightingale

Official Secrets

Rocketman

Transit

 

Edited by Evan C

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Not a member, but two films that I would strongly urge y'all to view before nominations close:  By the Grace of God and The Two Popes

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