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Industry and Blogger Top 10s for 2006: "Borat," "Pan's Labyrinth," "The Departed," and "Jesus Camp"

By Indiewire | Indiewire December 28, 2006 at 8:26AM

Another look back at 2006... this time featuring top ten lists from industry insiders and bloggers. Participants were invited to include films released theatrically this year, but each person devised their own criteria. We also encouraged participants to consider adding a sidebar of a few favorite undistributed films, to help us when we determine the participants in our next Undiscovered Gems series. indieWIRE solicited lists from an assortment of folks and in the spirit of the season, decided to include one joint list and another from an insider who asked if he might be included. indieWIRE readers are encouraged to post their own top ten list for 2006 in the comments section below (and don't forget to include your name).
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Another look back at 2006... this time featuring top ten lists from industry insiders and bloggers. Participants were invited to include films released theatrically this year, but each person devised their own criteria. We also encouraged participants to consider adding a sidebar of a few favorite undistributed films, to help us when we determine the participants in our next Undiscovered Gems series. indieWIRE solicited lists from an assortment of folks and in the spirit of the season, decided to include one joint list and another from an insider who asked if he might be included. indieWIRE readers are encouraged to post their own top ten list for 2006 in the comments section below (and don't forget to include your name).

Liza Bear, blogger

Best Ten List 2006 (no particular order)
"The Queen"
"Jesus Camp"
"The Lives of Others"
"The Host"
"The Road to Guantanamo"
"Iraq in Fragments"
"Volver"
"Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story"
"Marie Antoinette"
"Bamako"

Best Unreleased
"From Dust" by Dhruv Dhawan
"Syndromes and a Century"
"Voices of BAM"
"Duck Season"
"La Moustache"
"Poison Friends"

Best Re-releases
"Fanfan La Tulipe"
"Antonio Gaudi"

Liza Bear's blog Squaring Off, is available on Blip.tv


Liesl Copland, Red Envelope Entertainment

Top Ten Films + my own mini awards ceremony (or: "The Oscars in My Dreams")

1. "Tristram Shandy" (Best Comedy, and the most fun I had at the movies this year outside of...)
2. "Borat" (Best Romp)
3. "Trials of Darryl Hunt" (Best Epic)
4. "Jesus Camp" (Best Horror Film)
5. "The Puffy Chair" (Best New Voice, Best Production, Best Ensemble, Fiction - keep your eye on that Katie Aselton)
6. "Wordplay" (Best Ensemble, Doc)
7. "Sherrybaby" (Best Performance)

And my three most favorite undistributed films still make my top ten...
8. "Lake of Fire" (Best Doc)
9. "The Golden Door" (Best Foreign Language Film)
10. "This Is England" (Best Direction, Best Picture)

Haven't seen: "Letters From Iwo Jima," "The Lives of Others," "L'Enfant" or "51 Birch Street" - all of which may belong on this list.

Liesl Copland is Head of Acquisitions & Distribution, Red Envelope Entertainment (A Netflix Company)


Matt Dentler, SXSW

1. "Babel" ("So epic and yet so simple, like any of the best films.")
2. "Pan's Labyrinth" ("Without a doubt, one of the most imaginative and poetic monster movies ever made.")
3. "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" ("You could watch this five times, and still discover hidden and hilarious gems. Woefuly underrated.")
4. (a three-way tie) "Iraq in Fragments"; "My Country, My Country"; "The War Tapes" ("Unlike any other Iraq docs of our time, because they artfully asked the question, 'What next?'")
5. "The Departed" ("I was the last person in the world who expected this to be good... let alone, one of the best crime thrillers of the last decade. A remake that is better than its source material, Scorsese is best when he's not fishing for Oscars. And, in a twist of fate, that's when he seems likely to earn one.")
6. "A Scanner Darkly" ("Isn't it great when friends end up making a movie you truly love? In this case, it's a science-fiction crime film that's as airtight as its mind-being animation.") 7. Half Nelson ("The performances are obviously massive highlights, but they float atop a narrative and style that redefine the 'junkie genre.'")
8. "United 93" ("You can't ignore the massive accomplishment that is this respectful and engrossing drama. We know the ending all too well, but that doesn't change the fact that we're on the edge of our seat the entire time.")
9. "Our Brand is Crisis" ("The American political process gets a well-deserved lesson in global trends. An old-fashioned election doc, revitalized by disturbing, international reality.")
10. "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" ("At times, even more subversive and hilarious than 'Borat.' Thanks to a stellar supporting cast including John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen, Gary Cole, and others, Will Ferrell's latest featured some of the loudest laughs I found in 2006. Plus, it managed that delicate balance between parody and respect, to make it a well-rounded comedy classic.")

My 5 Best Undistributed Films of 2006:
1. "Jam," directed by Mark Woollen
2. "The Last Romantic," directed by Aaron & Adam Nee
3. "Apart From That," directed by Jennifer Shainin & Randy Walker
4. "Gretchen," directed by Steve Collins
5. "Eve and the Fire Horse," directed by Julia Kwan

Matt Dentler is the Film Conference & Festival Producer, South by Southwest (SXSW) and he writes a blog that is hosted by indieWIRE


Jeff Deutchman, IFC Films

1. "United 93"
2. "The Proposition"
3. "Old Joy"
4. "L'Enfant"
5. "Battle in Heaven"
6. "Miami Vice"
7. "13 (Tzameti)"
8. "Marie Antoinette"
9. "Apocalypto"
10. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"

Runners-Up:
"Climates," "A Prairie Home Companion," "Three Times," "Gabrielle," "Bubble," "4," "Half Nelson," "The Descent," "Mutual Appreciation," "Dance Party USA," "Requiem," "Dave Chappelle's Block Party"

Least Convenient Truth
1. "Why We Fight"
2. "Deliver Us From Evil"
3. "Borat"
4. "Jesus Camp"
5. "An Inconvenient Truth"

Jeff Deutchman works in acquisitions at IFC Films


Peter Goldwyn, Samuel Goldwyn Films

Ten Films (in no particular order)
"Borat": I know it's obvious but....It's nice
"Last King of Scotland": Forest Whitaker is just amazing.
"The Departed": A no brainier, pure filmed entertainment
"The Queen": Acting and writing working together perfectly
"Jesus Camp": I was really scared for the future of this country when I saw this film...but then the Democrats won, however I am still cautious
"The Descent": This was great. So was the one sheet.
"Dreamgirls": And I don't like musicals.
"Take My Eyes": I don't usually like such harsh subject matter but his was a really incredible film, amazing performances really make this a gut wrenching film
"Calivare" (the Ordeal): Its deliverance meets misery with a lounge singer
"The Last Kiss": This one was under appreciated in my opinion. Really interesting look at modern day relationships.

Movies that I think would be on this list if I had made this list after the holidays
"Letters from Iwo Jima"
"Children of Men"

Interesting Undistributed films of the year
"Oil Crash": I can't help thinking about this film every time I get in to a car or a plane.
"You're Gonna Miss Me": A look into the life of Rocky Erickson
"Bittersweet Life": Was this last year or this year no matter still a great gangster movie?
"I Do": A really fun French comedy
"Darkon": An in depth look at a subculture
"The Elementary Particles": I don't really know how to explain this one
"Cashback": A new talent that I am sure we will see more from
"Time": Yet another demented classic from Kim ki duk

Peter Goldwyn is Vice President-Acquisitions at Samuel Goldwyn Films


Tom Hall, Sarasota Film Festival/The Back Row Manifesto blog

My list in alphabetical order...I should mention that one of the best movies I saw in 2006 was "Lake of Fire," Tony Kaye's documentary about the battle over abortion rights in the USA, which should be seeing a theatrical release in 2007, so I am sure you'll be seeing that film and other great 2006 viewings on the 2007 list.

Top 10
"Army of Shadows"
"Climates"
"The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"
"Marie Antoinette"
"Old Joy"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"The Puffy Chair"
"Pusher I, II, and III"
"The Science Of Sleep"
"The Wild Blue Yonder"

Best Undistributed Top 10
"Cocaine Angel" by Michael Tully
"Ecoute Le Temps" (Fissures) by Alante Kavaite
"Find Love" by Erica Dunton
"The Journals of Knud Rasmussin" by Norman Cohn and Zacharias Kunuk
"Monkey Warfare" by Reg Harkema
"A Perfect Couple" (Un Couple Parfait) by Nobuhiro Suwa
"The Pervert's Guide To Cinema" by Sophie Fiennes
"Still Life" by Jia Zhang-ke
"Woman on The Beach" by Hong Sang Soo
"Wristcutters: A Love Story" by Goran Dukic

Tom Hall is the Director of Programming for The Sarasota Film Festival and he writes The Back Row Manifesto, a blog that is hosted by indieWIRE


Tamara Lecker, Applehead Pictures and Dana O'Keefe, Cinetic Media

"Apocalypto" - Most Awesome
"Blood Diamond"
"Army of Shadows"
"Borat"
"Casino Royale"
"Children of Men"
"The Departed"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story"
"United 93"

Essential:
"Mutual Appreciation"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Brick"
"The Puffy Chair"
"I Am A Sex Addict"

Tamara Lecker works in development at Applehead Pictures and Dana O'Keefe works at Cinetic Media.


Michael Lerman, Woodstock Film Festival/Philadelphia Film Festival

Love:
1. "United 93"
2. "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story/The Road to Guantanamo" (tie)
3. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"
4. "Children of Men"
5. "Lady Vengeance"
6. "Jesus Camp"/"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" (tie - the two most eye opening documentaries about America this year)
7. "Mountain Patrol: Kekexili"
8. "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints"
9. "Thank You For Smoking"
10. "A Prarie Home Companion"

Haven't seen: "The Illusionist," "The Last King of Scotland," "Fast Food Nation," "Happy Feet," "Blood Diamond," "Apocalypto," "The Pursuit of Happyness," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Dreamgirls," "Notes on a Scandal"

Top 10 Films With No distributor, to the best of my humble knowledge (this was hard, buyers did a good job this year):
1. "Day Night Day Night"
2. "Cages"
3. "Lake of Fire"
4. "Bunny Chow: Know Thyself"
5. "These Girls"
6. "Blue Blood"
7. "Big Bang Love, Juvenille A"
8. "Summercamp!"
9. "The Bothersome Man"
10. "Big Dreams, Little Tokyo"

Michael Lerman is programmer of the Woodstock Film Festival and General Curator of the Philadelphia Film Festival


Jared Moshe, Sidetrack Films/blogger

Here is my list in no particular order.

1. "The Wire" Season IV - Better than any movie this year.
2. "Pan's Labyrinth"
3. "The Departed"
4. "Letters From Iwo Jima"/"Flags of Our Fathers"
5. "Little Children"
6. "Little Miss Sunshine"
7. "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts"
8. "Inside Man"
9. "The Proposition"
10. "The Queen"

(Having not yet seen: "Children of Men," "Notes on a Scandal," or "Volver". I think this list might best be described with a big * next to it as I'm sure at least one of them would make it)

Best Undistributed films: "Dance Party USA" and "In Between Days"

I'd also like to mention "Miami Vice," which I found strangely haunting despite the incomprehensible plot.

Jared Moshe works for Sidetrack Films and writes a blog that is hosted by indieWIRE


Brian Newman, Renew Media

Top Ten:
"The Departed"
"Battle in Heaven"
"Half Nelson"
"Volver"
"In The Pit"
"The Proposition"
"Thank You For Smoking"
"A Lion in the House"
"Wassup Rockers"
"Old Joy"

Best Undistributed
"When the Levees Broke"
"The Hawk is Dying"
"Jonestown"
"What is It"

Above and Beyond the Top Ten:
"Borat"
"Talladega Nights"
"Casino Royale"

Didn't see yet, but wish I had, as they supposedly beat them all:
"Death of Mr. Lazarescu"
"L'Enfant"

Best Web Videos:
"Four Eyed Monsters" - "indieWIRE Invitation Podcast" From June, 2006 at iTunes, A must watch primer on audience building for any indie filmmaker

Submedia - "George Bush Don't Like Black People" http://submedia.tv/

Judson Laipply - "Evolution of Dance" (Ok, this may be quantity (most viewed) over quality)

CalTV, "Imagine This" - mash ups of Lennon and Bush

Chocolate Cake City, "Brokeback to the Future"

Brian Newman is Executive Director of Renew Media


David Nugent, Newport International Film Festival

In no particular order:
"Jesus Camp"
"United 93"
"Iraq in Fragments"
"Marie Antoinette"
"Half Nelson"
"Climates"
"En Soap"
"Miami Vice"
"L'Enfant"
"Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple"

I also really liked:
"A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"
"Casino Royale"
"The Bridge"
"Le Petit lieutenant"
"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
"Colma: The Musical"
"Elementary Particles"
"Private Fears in Public Places" (Couers)

I still have not seen:
"The Queen," "Little Children," "Childen of Men" and others

David Nugent is programmer of the Newport International Film Festival


Basil Tsiokos, NewFest

(all lists below alphabetical)

Top 10:
"Borat"
"Brothers of the Head"
"Combat"
"The Devil Wears Prada"
"Inland Empire"
"The Science of Sleep"
"Shortbus"
"Tristram Shandy"
"Volver"
"Wordplay"

And 10 more, just because:
"20 Centimeters"
"Broken Sky"
"Duck Season"
"Iraq in Fragments"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"The Puffy Chair"
"Quinceanera"
"Sir! No Sir!"
"Superman Returns"
"Two Drifters"

Sidebar: 10 undistributed* docs:
"Air Guitar Nation"
"Beyond the Call"
"Camp Out"
"The Chances of the World Changing"
"Clear Cut"
"Cruel & Unusual"
"In the Pit"
"The Life of Reilly"
"The Refugee All Stars"
"Wide Awake"

5 undistributed* narratives:
"Forgiving the Franklins"
"The Gymnast"
"The King and the Clown"
"Long-Term Relationship"
"Whispering Moon"

(*at least I don't think these have distribution at this point...)

Basil Tsiokos is Executive Director of NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival (and US Documentary Programming Consultant, Sundance Film Festival)


Michael Tully, filmmaker/blogger
1. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" (Cristi Puiu)
2. "The New World" (Terrence Malick)
3. "United 93" (Paul Greengrass)
4. "Children of Men" (Alfonso Cuaron)
5. "Half Nelson" (Ryan Fleck)
6. "The Science of Sleep" (Michel Gondry)
7. "Pan's Labyrinth" (Guillermo del Toro)
8. "A Lion In The House" (Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert)
9. "Duck Season" (Fernando Eimbcke)
10. "Jackass Number Two" (Jeff Tremaine)

Best Undistributed Films (in alphabetical order):
"Find Live" (Erica Dunton)
"The Guatemalan Handshake" (Todd Rohal)
"The Last Romantic" (Aaron Nee)
"Running Stumbled" (John Maringouin)
"Syndromes and A Century" (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

Michael Tully directed "Cocaine Angel" and he writes "Boredom at Its Boredest, a blog hosted by indieWIRE


Christine Vachon, Killer Fims

No particular order:
"Infamous"
"Talladega Nights: The ballad of Ricky Bobby"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Jesus Camp"
"Borat"
"Suely in the Sky"
"Writscutters"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"The Notorious Bettie Page"
"Quinceneara"
"Half Nelson"
"The Fountain"

Christine Vachon is a partner at Killer Films


John Vanco, IFC Center

(all lists alphabetical)

The top six:
"Borat"
"Climates"
"Deliver Us From Evil"
"Drawing Restraint 9"
"Forsaken Land"
"La Moustache"

The next five:
"The Departed"
*"Inland Empire"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"Three Times"
"Wassup Rockers"

Honorable mentions:
"The Devil and Daniel Johnston"
"Duck Season"
"Mutual Appreciation"
"Old Joy"
"The Puffy Chair"
"Shortbus"

Already vying for my best-of-2007 list:
"Black Book"
*"Bothersome Man"
"Coeurs"/"Private Fears in Public Places"
"Dans Paris"
*"Gentille"
*"Golden Door"
"Flanders"
*"Last Romantic"
"Page Turner"
*"Pervert's Guide to Cinema"
"Red Road"
"Regular Lovers"
"Rescue Dawn"
*"Still Life"
*"Suely in the Sky"
"The Wind That Shakes the Barley"

*While I find iW's 'Undistributed' label a bit to imprecise to throw around as shorthand, none of the titles in my 'might-be-best-of-2007' list have been commercially distributed in the U.S. thus far, and all the *starred* titles are without a conventional theatrical distributor. (There's a whole other set of complications on what qualifies as 'Undistributed' when you consider split-rights deals, service deals and the wide array of self-distribution situations, but at least it's not as tired a discussion as the whole 'indie' vs. 'non-indie' thread.)

John Vanco is Vice President & General Manager of IFC Center


Gabriel Wardell, IMAGE

Top Ten for 2006:

"Awesome, I Fuckin' Shot That!"
"Casino Royale"
"Children of Men"
"Friends With Money"
"Inside Man"
"I Am A Sex Addict"
"The Queen"
"The Road to Guantanamo"
"United 93"
"Volver"

Gabriel Wardell is Executive Director, IMAGE producers of the 31st Atlanta Film Festival and he writes Gabe's Declaration of Principles, a blog hosted by indieWIRE


Ryan Werner, IFC Entertainment

1. "Borat"
2. "Inland Empire"
3. "L'Enfant"
4. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"
5. "Climates"/"Three Times"
6. "Half Nelson"
7. "Old Joy"
8. "Little Miss Sunshine"
9. "United 93"/"The Queen"
10. "The Descent"/"The Departed"

Honorable Mention: "Battle In Heaven"

Notables: "Casino Royale," "Gabrielle," "The Aura," "Mutual Appreciation," "Miami VIce," "Jesus Camp," "Marie," "Talladega Nights," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Shut Up and Sing," "Wordplay,"13 Tzameti," "Shortbus," "Pan's Labyrinth," "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," "The Devil and Daniel Johnston," "Why We Fight," "Volver," "The Lives of Others"

FIlms I did not see yet: "Children of Men," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "A Scanner Darkly," "Fast Food Nation"

Ryan Werner is head of marketing for IFC Entertainment







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