Film Eligibility Rules

This document establishes the current BSFC rules for determining a film’s eligibility for awards voting and how these films will be tracked on the BSFC Eligible Films list.

The intent of the BSFC Eligible Films List is twofold:

1) To keep the list ongoing throughout the year as a resource for members. It will list this year’s eligible films that are opening in the metro Boston area in a given week, for example.

2) To maintain a list of films to consider for our awards at year’s end. The list will NOT automatically be including every film made available on a streaming platform throughout the calendar year, but will not EXCLUDE those films from consideration or the list either (see below).

It has been determined that a virtual screening is the equivalent of a theatrical screening.

This is what will be tracked by the BSFC Secretary on the eligible films list:

1) Any film which has a theatrical/virtual release in NY/LA for 5 days during the calendar year (the current foundational rule).

2) Any film which has a theatrical/virtual release in a Boston metro theater for any amount of time which is not part of a series or festival – for example, a 3 day weekend engagement at the Brattle, a Docyard film or a film with a ltd. engagement at the HFA – during the calendar year.

3) Any major original film exclusive to a particular streaming platform – Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO/Max, Disney+, Hulu etc. – during the calendar year

4) Any major calendar year exclusive premieres on streaming channels like Mubi or the Criterion Channel which are offered for review

5) Festivals, series and revivals held in the Metro Boston area throughout the calendar year will be listed on a separate tab.

Here is a link to the current Google spreadsheet, including 2022:

Seeing as how it would be a major undertaking to list EVERY film made available via streaming, everyone is encouraged to champion any film which doesn’t meet the above criteria and is made available during the calendar year and it will be added to the list. This also includes films we discussed during our awards meeting like the Small Axe series, “Hamilton,” “American Utopia,” etc.

While it was agreed to limit our consideration of films to the calendar year, any exception (i.e., screeners made available for foreign language films which do not open until the following calendar year in the U.S.) can be put up to a vote by the membership for inclusion.

Opening up our awards consideration to a much larger pool of films like this will inevitably mean fewer members will see a lot of these films (the one night Docyard exhibitions, for example), so we are encouraging all members to champion these types of films all throughout the year either via email or by noting awards consideration potential in the designated spreadsheet column or both. Your championing of any film will be all the more successful if you can include access to that film, for example by adding a screener link to the spreadsheet or providing contact info if the link is not sharable.