2017 Meeting Minutes
BOSTON FILM CRITICS
Minutes of annual meeting, Sunday, December 10, 2017
Location: Boston Globe offices
The meeting convened at 11:08 a.m. In attendance were Tom, Bob, Ed, Greg, Loren, Peg, Janice, Jake, Betsy, Tim, Brett, Dana, SV, Ty, Gerry, Joyce. Jim, Ethan, Dan and Peter sent in proxy votes. The meeting
Tom thanked Janice & The Globe for hosting us. We approved the minutes. Bob gave the treasurer’s report: we had $135 in the bank before the collection of dues. Tom proposed a $25 membership due this year since our trough is somewhat depleted, and we all agreed.
Tom gave the membership report. Membership hadn’t grown in a while; no one had applied in the last year, though Tom had a couple of inquiries. Brett mentioned that Boston Online Critics gets new applicants every year, but Jake pointed out that some of its members write infrequently. Tom thought we should encourage applicants who have a chance of getting in. Joyce proposed that when we post our results on the website, we add some encouraging words to potential applicants and link to the criteria for being accepted.
We debated over whether next year’s meeting date should be December 9 or December 16. Those who favored the earlier date argued that it makes more sense from a news perspective, since we’re already voting later than four other critics’ groups, and reiterated the argument that our choices garner more attention for the winners as well as for the Boston Society of Film Critics. Those who favored the later date brought up examples of movies we were unable to see, such as the new Star Wars and Errol Morris movies, because they weren’t screened on time for us. They also made the case that an additional week would give us an opportunity to see more, since we simply can’t see everything we want to in so short a time. The counter-argument presented regarding movies that aren’t available to us was that no matter when we schedule our meeting, there will always be some films that won’t be screened or sent to us on time. We took a vote, but it was so close (9 to 7 in favor of December 9) that we decided to ask the members who were not present at the meeting to weigh in as well.
Jim had asked Tom if we could conduct a virtual vote so proxies wouldn’t have to drop out after the second round. Tom was concerned that it might slow down the process and encourage people not to show up at the meeting, and he also wondered if non-attendees should be included in the business meeting. Steve pointed out that the benefit of having proxies drop out is that often the vote changes dramatically in round 3 and prevents a stalemate. Jake added that a member who is present only virtually can’t really benefit from the conversation in the room. Tom thought that there should be a benefit for actually attending the meeting. Steve suggested we make an exception for Jim, and Tom suggested the exception be for everyone who lives outside Massachusetts. We voted regarding making an exception and the proposal didn’t pass.
Tom pointed out that the website needed to be upgraded, since last year’s methods didn’t work. He and Greg promised to work on the problem, with Greg in charge.
The discussion switches to screenings and screeners. Tom said he finds it easier to get information from Bridget, who is very forthcoming and open. Ed and others continued to view the Somerville screenings as problematic. Greg complained that daytime-only screenings inconvenience those with full-time jobs; and there are still sometimes evening screenings that we aren’t told about. Brett thought the reason was that the studios don’t trust us to honor the reviewing embargo, but Jake reminded us that evening screenings are more expensive for the studio. Ty resented the proliferation of evening screenings that cut into his personal time.
Ed claimed to receive a greater number of screeners for belonging to the Broadcast Film Critics group than for belonging to the BSFC. Greg offered to set up a check-in for us to indicate who gets screeners when. Brett wondered if we can get Blu-Ray discs, but Jake said that it’s not financially feasible and within five years we’ll all be getting links, whether we like it or not.
Tom reminded the membership that he has been in his position for a long time; he doesn’t mind continuing but it is, after all, a democratic organization.
Betsy suggested that, since the Disney issue was resolved, Tom add a parenthetical comment to the website affirming stating that BSFC is considering Disney films, and Tom agreed.
Betsy presented the committee awards. For our new category in honor of David Pendleton for Retrospective of the Year, the committee chose The Complete Jean Renoir. We voted to accept the slate:
Best Film Series
“Frederick Wiseman: For the Record,” Museum of Fine Arts
“Hachimiri Madness! Japanese Independents from the Punk Years,” Harvard Film Archive
“Harry Dean Stanton: Say Something True,” Museum of Fine Arts
“Robert Mitchum Centennial Tribute,” Brattle
“A Year of Women in Cinema,” Brattle
A Bay of Blood (Mario Bava, 1971) in “Mario Bava and the Birth of Italian Giallo,” Brattle
The Brig (Jonas Mekas, 1964) in “Scenes from the Life of a Happy Man . . . The Films of Jonas Mekas,” Harvard Film Archive
The Loom (Stan Brakhage, 1986), in “Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision,” Harvard Film Archive
Seven Beauties (Lina Wertmüller, 1975), in “The Films of Lina Wertmüller,” Brattle
Targets (Peter Bogdanovich, 1968), Brattle
To The Brattle Theatre for ensuring that the iconic Boston movie The Friends of Eddie Coyle can once again be seen by cinema audiences. With no prints to be found of the 1973 film starring Robert Mitchum, the Brattle convinced Paramount Pictures that there was demand for the picture and made a significant financial contribution to the studio’s creation of a DCP of the digital restoration that had been done for a DVD release.
To Boston-based musicians and silent-film-music scholars Martin Marks, Robert Humphreville and Jeff Rapsis, whose live accompaniment at silent-film screenings have delighted Boston audiences for many years. Their artistry was particularly sublime this year during the silent component of the Harvard Film Archive’s “That Certain Feeling . . . The Touch of Ernst Lubitsch,” a series requiring music for broad comedies, extravagant adventures and subtle dramas.
To the Waltham-based, artist-run film collective AgX Boston, for creating a space dedicated to fostering skill-building and interest in photochemical-based moving images through workshops, events and collaborative experimentation.
Tom asked us if we wanted to repeat the Brattle event. Janice asked what benefits we get from it and several members contributed answers: the local winners are appreciative (Tom); commendations contribute to community building by keeping organizations going (Jake); local cinephiles look forward to it and always show up (Brett). Tom, Peg & Greg offered to get the event going again. Greg suggested a panel on film programming in honor of David Pendleton.
Best Film: The Phantom Thread
Best Foreign-Language Film: The Square
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Phantom Thread
Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Best Ensemble Cast: The Meyerowitz Stories
Best Screenplay: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Best Documentary: Dawson City
Best Animated Film: Coco
Best New Filmmaker: Jordan Peele, Get Out
Best Cinematography: Hoyte Van Hoytema, Dunkirk
Best Editing: David Lowery, A Ghost Story
Best Original Score: Jonny Greenwood, The Phantom Thread
The meeting was adjourned at 4:35.
Secretary, Boston Society of Film Critics