As a result of the heavily documented turnover at The Village Voice, critic/editor Dennis Lim has this year relocated his annual film critics poll to indieWIRE. And once again, I was invited to contribute to Lim's definitive year-end round-up. My "best of the year" ballot - as well as my sole contribution to the feature's comments section - can be found at the following links.
My indieWIRE Film Critics' Poll '06 Ballot
Not a bad grouping; browsing the many lists there has helped add to my blind spots, as well as reminded me of many good performances that I'd have otherwise forgotten from earlier in the year. Just renewed my Netflix to finish off my big blind spots before the year is out: 4, Iron Island, Mongolian Ping Pong, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Gabrielle, and Battle in Heaven. Iwo Jima and Pan's Labyrinth will be seen at some point, as well as Children of Men. Hopefully OFCS membership will become a reality this year so that simply obtaining these movies in the first place won't be such an all-around hassle.
Posted by: rob | December 21, 2006 at 11:14 PM
That poll was pretty depressing - not because of the selection of films, but rather it reminded me of exactly how many notable / semi-notable films I still need to watch before I can declare the cinematic year complete. (That's 58, by the by)
I second the OFCS motion as well; I was in contact with them earlier in the year, but slow-going it seems, and I'm fairly certain the screening opportunities they provide would allow me to catch films like Bubble, Deliver Us From Evil, or Renaissance (to name only a few) that otherwise sank into oblivion within two weeks of their release, assuming one existed around here in the first place.
Posted by: Joseph Young | December 22, 2006 at 02:52 AM
Why do you guys think OFCS membership will make it easier to see these films? Is it because the PR firms in your areas don't invite non-OFCS online critics? Or is it because you think screeners will be more easily obtained?
Just curious, since for me, OFCS membership hasn't really helped me get into screenings; it's just allowed me to receive a bunch of end-of-year screeners (almost always, of films I've already seen).
Posted by: Nick | December 22, 2006 at 10:34 AM
Check to both of your examples, Nick, which were somewhat poorly made assumptions in retrospect. But if I could get into more screenings of anything for free, it would certainly help the pocketbook...
Posted by: rob | December 22, 2006 at 11:18 AM
Probably the latter, I was under the impression members were given the opportunity to attend random press screenings; I seem to remember a few critics mentioning it on their sites. Deduction is part of it as well, since a couple OFCS members reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and I notice they occasionally post reviews of films that to my knowledge haven't been released here, which is mostly what I'm interested in, since an advance screening of something that will is impending wide release doesn't offer me the chance to see something I might otherwise be unable to watch prior to DVD. Press screenings, I occasionally notice them at theatres but they seem fairly exclusive (it would make sense press credentials are a requisite, though I could be mistaken, most of my inquiries on the matter to attendants have been more unhelpful than unsuccessful, which simply leads me to believe rather than know for sure) and I'm not actually familiar with a particular firm that handles them; as for public screenings, they pop up here and there, usually in the form of contests, though the local game store gets definites from time to time concerning films of a related topic - V For Vendetta, Slither, etc - but as I mentioned such releases aren't exactly elusive.
Posted by: Joseph Young | December 22, 2006 at 11:21 AM
I see. Well, being an OFCS member certainly doesn't hurt one's chances of getting into press screenings. But at least here in NYC - and from what I gather, things work differently in different cities - being a writer for a known publication is at least, and probably more, important than being a guild member when it comes to getting on PR firms' lists.
Of course, screeners are sometimes available throughout the year, but it's almost always for smaller fare (i.e. no Da Vinci Code screeners - boo hoo).
Posted by: Nick | December 22, 2006 at 11:43 AM