36 films in 35 days

I got to be a judge!

What is up everyone!

I am in the final push of a new kind of marathon. For those of you who have done challenges like watching 30 films in 30 days or a strict watching regimen they’re kinda fun right? Well I think so. I was lucky enough to be asked to help judge the Peabody awards. I am doing this through my Masters program as they have schools participate (my school will be represented through two students and one professor). We’ll be meeting in the next week to go over our top 12 and we’ll submit that to the organization. After the nominees are determined through the school judging it will go to their official board of jurors for the final decision. When I first got the e-mail asking if I was interested and I immediately responded “yes!” I did not realize what this would be like. I have loved it, it’s pushed me way more than I thought it would and that’s because I didn’t get to choose which films I watched. When I did a 30 films in 30 days it was films I wanted to watch. Many were documentary classics, films I could bring up with any other documentarian and they would know what I was talking about.

That’s not the case when you are a judge, you’re stuck with whatever is submitted. The organization I’m judging for is unique in that it’s not a festival and the bar is set quite high from past winners. The production quality of each film I’ve been asked to watch are all top notch and well thought out. With that said, It becomes extremely difficult to differentiate and ultimately choose one film over the other. How does one compare an ABC feature investigation following Indigenous tribes protecting the Amazon to Bloomberg TV investigating the mysterious “breast implant illness” in a ten minute short on Facebook TV? Obviously making a feature investigation is more work but in today’s landscape I’m not convinced a feature on ABC has a greater reach than a ten minute short on Facebook TV. If I’m tasked with choosing an excellence in broadcasting shouldn’t the platform they choose be a part of that? At the same time it’s hard to say out loud I’m choosing a ten minute short over a feature length film. These are two films are in my batch of 36 but I have not sat down and ranked the 25 I have seen (instead I’m writing this).

The last thing I want to share is something we all know, but need reminding. There are some films on here I have been avoiding, the topic matter is intense, graphic or it could be a topic I don’t necessarily want to see another film on. I finally watched one of those yesterday, it is a topic that’s deeply personal and followed a nurse in that field; palliative care for infants. This film is beautiful, it is a difficult topic but the compassion of the filmmaker and the participants is undeniable. The access with two different mothers made it supremely authentic as well. It really blew me away and it was just a great reminder to push myself with the topics of the films I watch and make. Some other projects that caught my eye was an observational piece on the alt right (crazy good), four trans refugees allow their assimilation to the United State to be documented and a very nice profile on Cheryl Miller and her role in women’s professional basketball despite never playing as a pro as well as a Toni Morrison profile. After the nominees are formally announced May 6th I’ll do a follow up post talking about any of them that were in my batch and I’ll do a breakdown of the 12 films I listed as worthy of a nomination.

Until next time!