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First Annual Art-House Challenge Discussion Thread

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First Annual Art-House Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 07-31-21, 08:01 PM
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First Annual Art-House Challenge Discussion Thread

We have held the annual Criterion Challenge during September, but this year we're going to revamp things in an effort to grow participation. We were already allowing anything that had streamed on the Criterion Channel, which included titles published by the distributors from whom Criterion has licensed streaming content:

Arrow
Cohen Film Collection
Kino Lorber
Milestone
Olive Films
Oscilloscope
Scream/Shout! Factory
Sony Pictures Classics
Twilight Time
Warner Archive Collection

Which would interest you more: A Boutique Label Challenge, emphasizing content published by distributors like Criterion, Arrow, Kino, etc.; or an Indie/Art House Challenge, where the emphasis is on the kind of film rather than the distributor? What are your thoughts or hopes for this challenge? For those who have participated annually in the Criterion Channel, what would best capture the spirit of what drew you back each year? For those who avoided the Criterion Challenge, what would make this more accessible or interesting for you?
Old 08-01-21, 03:08 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Siince Criterion can sometimes fall into the popular feature film territory (and Iíve been acquiring a bunch of Arrow, WAC, and Shout Factory), Iíd rather see a boutique label Challenge.
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Old 08-01-21, 08:43 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

One thing that might result in a few additional participants is cross promotion directed at Horror Challenge participants. Chad has mentioned in the Horror Challenge planning thread for purposes of selecting a subset pick for the crossover day that the Criterion Challenge seems to be becoming a Boutique Label Challenge, so it would be good to make a decision on this challenge as quickly as possible.

I know that at least a few Horror Challenge participants have Arrow Films releases, and Arrow has put out a lot of horror movies. There are a number of other boutique horror labels (Mondo Macabre, Artsploitation, Vinegar Syndrome and Synapse come to mind immediately) that have given great releases to horror films. I can see good arguments for both the boutique label and genre approaches to redesigning this challenge (maybe it should be a combination of the two). I imagine there must be some people participating in the Horror Challenge who would welcome the opportunity to start their horror viewing early, but who aren't interested in watching the relatively small Criterion output over and over. If Arrow and a few similar companies were added to this challenge, it might encourage Horror Challenge participants to join, particularly if it is made clear that no one in this challenge ever watches two or three hundred movies in the month.

If it is decided to add Arrow and a few other companies to this challenge, a post explaining the changes in the Horror Challenge would aid in selecting the subset pick and would reach many of the most dedicated horror viewers, who would seem to be the most likely candidates to join this challenge.

Last edited by ororama; 08-01-21 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 08-01-21, 10:01 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Iíd prefer the boutique path but would be fine with the art-house spin as well. Most of my past September watches tended to be classics than art house, fwiw.
Old 08-02-21, 05:19 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Appealing to our fellow horror enthusiasts who like to start in September has already crossed my mind, and last month I reached out to Chad about that very idea. There's nothing ready to reveal yet, in large part because the challenge itself is still being constructed. I'll present more info when it becomes ready.

Are there any thoughts on what labels to establish being "safe" for the challenge? How do we feel about something like the Warner Archive Collection, which isn't so much a boutique label as a boutique-ish imprint of a major one?

What about streaming services? I was thinking specifically of things like Criterion Channel, Shout! Factory TV, Shudder, and Sundance Now, but I can see a case for allowing anything to count that's a given service provider's exclusive, original content. So, for instance, you couldn't count Casablanca from Netflix, but you could count Mank. Thoughts?

Also, for the time being, my preliminary checklist is pretty simple:

Decades
Genres
Watch films from 5 different directors
Watch films in 5 different languages (original text language counts in the case of a silent film)
Watch films from 5 different genres
Watch films from 5 different boutique labels

Figured I'd include an optional sub-section of Criterion spine number ranges for those among us who may still wish to stick with them. Plus, the aforementioned subsection directed at our Horror enthusiasts.

Let me know what recommendations or requests y'all have!
Old 08-06-21, 11:24 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
What about streaming services? I was thinking specifically of things like Criterion Channel, Shout! Factory TV, Shudder, and Sundance Now, but I can see a case for allowing anything to count that's a given service provider's exclusive, original content. So, for instance, you couldn't count Casablanca from Netflix, but you could count Mank. Thoughts?
Arrow also has Arrow Video Player as a streaming service.

I think that would really open things up!
Old 08-07-21, 01:16 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
I’d prefer the boutique path but would be fine with the art-house spin as well. Most of my past September watches tended to be classics than art house, fwiw.
I like the Art House / Experiemental spin becuase the term 'boutique label' could be too wide ranging, multi-faceted, and ill defined for a headline to really describe anything about the challenge. It's been a few years since I participated so I don't have too strong an option; but I love the challenges and discussion here so hope they can continue being successful.
Old 08-12-21, 01:37 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I would love an indie/art house challenge, so my vote goes to that.
Old 08-12-21, 09:59 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I swear I replied to this a couple weeks ago but I don't see my message. So weird!

My reply was a little of both. I feel like keeping the purpose behind the challenge is the important part. Keeping it so people watch movies that make them think or would never in a million years have watched them on their own. Movies that aren't always part of the mainstream...
Old 08-12-21, 05:37 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I'm looking forward to watching some Horror movies. So as long as there's a decent selection of Horror options, I'm interested.

Indie/Foreign would be good.
Old 08-14-21, 04:23 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Not that I've been an active participant for...ever, really, but I have participated in a limited way in a couple of the Criterion challenges, and I have to vote on the side of indie/art house as well. Many of the so-called "boutique" labels cater more towards films that would fit into the horror and/or exploitation challenges, so I really feel that those types of films are already well-represented in other months.

To not change things up TOO much, I'd be happy if every disc from Criterion, Milestone, Film Movement, Oscilloscope, and maybe another one or two labels that are definitively "art house" could be automatically considered safe for the challenge. That would give the challenge a little variety, even if something like Scanners or Fast Times at Ridgemont HIgh isn't considered to be anything other than a mainstream film.
Old 08-15-21, 07:41 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Looks like there's a leaning in favor of Indie/Art-House over Boutique Label, which kind of surprises me given that this is a website for disc collectors. What do we think about these guidelines?

Indie/Art-House Challenge

Growing out of the annual Criterion Challenge, this time the focus is on those films made outside Hollywood, whether by guerrilla filmmakers on a shoestring budget or by the auteurs across the globe. The goal here is to dive into stories that weren't--and perhaps still aren't--getting told in the mainstream. See what happens when a storyteller isn't interested in setting up a cinematic universe.

Safe List
Any movie made available by the following distributors is classified as "safe" for this challenge, even if it should be a mainstream production. You are not required to watch their edition.Checklist
Watch one film from each of the following decades:
--- 1880's/1890's -
--- 1900's -
--- 1910's -
--- 1920's -
--- 1930's -
--- 1940's -
--- 1950's -
--- 1960's -
--- 1970's -
--- 1980's -
--- 1990's -
--- 2000's -
--- 2010's -
--- 2020's -

Watch a film from five different countries
--- Country 1:
--- Country 2:
--- Country 3:
--- Country 4:
--- Country 5:

Watch a film in five different languages
--- Language 1:
--- Language 2:
--- Language 3:
--- Language 4:
--- Language 5:

Watch a film from five different directors
--- Director 1:
--- Director 2:
--- Director 3:
--- Director 4:
--- Director 5:

Watch a film from five different genres
--- Action/Adventure
--- Animation
--- Avant-garde
--- Comedy
--- Crime
--- Documentary
--- Drama
--- Fantasy
--- Film Noir
--- Horror
--- Musical
--- Romance
--- Samurai
--- Science Fiction
--- Shorts [minimum of 40 cumulative minutes]
--- Silent
--- Thriller
--- War
--- Western

Optional Criterion Collection Spine Range Sub-Category
--- Spine #'s 1-100 -
--- Spine #'s 101-200 -
--- Spine #'s 201-300 -
--- Spine #'s 301-400 -
--- Spine #'s 401-500 -
--- Spine #'s 501-600 -
--- Spine #'s 601-700 -
--- Spine #'s 701-800 -
--- Spine #'s 801-900 -
--- Spine #'s 901-1000 -
--- Spine #'s 1001-1100 -
--- Spine #'s 1101-1200 -
--- Eclipse -
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Old 08-15-21, 08:46 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Sounds good, I think, Travis!
Old 08-15-21, 09:20 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Allowing Kino and Arrow allows a lot more terrific classic and art house films, like THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and MEPHISTO, plus some mainstream films that could also be considered arthouse, like THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? and THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE. This will help me burn off my unwatched pile. I'm glad to see this has expanded beyond the limitations of Criterion.

Last edited by Gobear; 08-16-21 at 07:59 AM.
Old 08-17-21, 06:58 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I was going to chime in with a vote for Indie/Art House as well so I'm glad we're headed that way.
Old 08-17-21, 10:25 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Looks good to me. Art-house works well with what I was already planning to watch next month, and Film Movement, Arrow, Criterion and Kino will be a good opportunity to watch some of my unwatched DVDs and Blurays.






Old 08-18-21, 05:49 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
Allowing Kino and Arrow allows a lot more terrific classic and art house films, like THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and MEPHISTO, plus some mainstream films that could also be considered arthouse, like THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? and THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE. This will help me burn off my unwatched pile. I'm glad to see this has expanded beyond the limitations of Criterion.
I feel like Criterion helped pushed us in this direction themselves by bringing so much content from other distributors, like Kino and Arrow, onto the Channel. It just makes sense to cast this wider net. I'm glad to hear you're looking forward to this year's challenge!
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Old 08-22-21, 12:36 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I'll launch the list thread tomorrow. Last call for input!
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Old 08-22-21, 06:47 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I did this challege a couple of times. But I only have 3 Criterions and limited access to others, so I just started using this challenge as a rest/get ready month for the Horror Challenge. So I vote for keep it as it's always been.
Old 08-23-21, 03:38 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Maybe this check --- 1880's/1890's - should be dropped There are no movies from this era, just short snippets that last only a few seconds.
Old 08-23-21, 09:54 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
Maybe this check --- 1880's/1890's - should be dropped There are no movies from this era, just short snippets that last only a few seconds.
Actually, I'd be for dropping that one and the next one as well. There's not too much of interest pre-1912, other than the films of Melies. But to keep everyone happy, why not just merge all those years into one checklist item? Maybe 1880-1910, or even 1880-1920. Again, just a suggestion, as I doubt that I'll ever be able to complete the checklist.
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Old 08-23-21, 08:27 PM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Originally Posted by KaBluie View Post
I did this challege a couple of times. But I only have 3 Criterions and limited access to others, so I just started using this challenge as a rest/get ready month for the Horror Challenge. So I vote for keep it as it's always been.
You don't have to watch the Criterion release. ANY release of any film that received a Criterion release counts. I did that for a few years but found it somewhat of a pain to look up what Criterion had released and look over that listing to see if I owned any version of those films. At that point, I, too, turned it into a rest month and will continue to use it that way. Even with the expanded options it's more work to compile a watch list than I care to put into a challenge that also has somewhat limited appeal for me.

Here's a wikipedia article that lists all of the Criterions to date:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ction_releases
Old 08-24-21, 07:14 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

I'm happy to drop the pre-1910's decades. They were just kinda grandfathered into all the checklists once upon a time. I've made just a few more modifications to the intro and checklist, which is why there's been a slight delay in launching the list thread. Here's the new intro:
Spoiler:
Dusk 30 August - Dawn 1 October
This first annual Art-House Challenge has evolved out of what was previously the Criterion Challenge. We emphasize exploration over quantity of films viewed. We encourage you to take some time and dive into the films you watch. Check out any included supplemental materials. Look up reviews and essays. In other words, immerse yourself!

SoÖ what exactly is an Art-House film? Itís a sort of ďYouíll know it when you see itĒ thing, but Wikipedia offers the following characterization:

An art film (or art house film) is typically an independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience.[1] It is "intended to be a serious, artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal",[2] "made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit",[3] and contains "unconventional or highly symbolic content".[4]Pre-Horror Participants

We welcome the horror enthusiasts among us who just canít wait until October. Think of this as a chance to emphasize Art-horror, and save the really schlocky stuff for next month. Youíll find a considerable amount of eligible content!



In the Safe List, I've gone ahead and added horror-specific links for those among us who may wish to basically treat this month as a warmup for next month's Horror Challenge:


I've added an additional optional sub-category:
Spoiler:
--- Read at least five essays or reviews
--- Listen to at least one commentary track
--- Watch at least four 15+ minute long features about a filmís production or legacy
--- Watch at least five films that explicitly take place in September
--- Watch a complete box set with a minimum of three films (supplements not required)




And oh, yeah... our good friend GoldenWheels has arranged for Hamilton Book to sponsor prizes for this monthís challenge. Five winners will get to pick from the following pool of 19 out of print Twilight Time Blu-ray discs! Since 19/5 doesn't work out evenly, the fairest solution I could come up with was to limit the first winner to four selections, since they will have first dibs on the full lot. As is customary, prize winners must be in the United States in order to be eligible. Winners will be randomly selected and notified weekly on Thursdays, and will have until the following Monday to submit their choices. At that point, I will randomly select a substitute winner. Winners will be ineligible to win more than once, but if a winner doesn't respond in time and forfeits that week's prize, they will be eligible for subsequent drawings.
Spoiler:
8 Heads in a Duffel Bag
Adventures of Hajji Baba
Baby Boom
Born Free
Boston Strangler
Bravados
Bridge at Remagen
Chilly Scenes of Winter
The Crimson Kimono
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
From Noon Til Three
How to Steal a Million
In the French StyleMidsummer Night's Sex Comedy
Pirates of Blood River
Rapid Fire
Snake in the Eagle's Shadow/Drunken Master
Talk Radio
Warlock

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Old 08-24-21, 07:30 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

The List Thread is now live, y'all! Tell all yer friends.
Old 08-24-21, 09:03 AM
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Re: Discussion Thread: Revamping September Challenge!

Just as a point of clarification, one film CAN fill multiple slots in the checklist--is this correct assumption?

For instance, Amarcord could be used for the 1970s in decades, Italy in countries, Italian in languages, Fellini in directors, comedy (or drama) in genres, and spine #s 1-100 in Criterion spine numbers...right?

I just want to make sure before I even really contemplate attempting the checklist.

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