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The New Academy Doc Rules Debate

The New Academy Doc Rules Debate

As already highlighted by Matt Dentler, there is an extremely important debate going on over at AJ Schack’s blog about the new AMPAS rules for Oscar-qualifying documentaries, namely a requirement of a 14-city release in ten different states, in addition to the 7-day New York or Los Angeles run. This seems like a pretty significant change to me, as others have pointed out, but I seek clarification on those additional 14 venues.

While Schnack has AMPAS doc head Michael Apted going on record that places like Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Los Angeles’ American Cinematheque or Columbia’s storefront Ragtag Cinemacafe could count towards the 14, “as long as films were advertised and admissions were paid,” previous AMPAS rules seem to be a little more strict on the matter.

According to last year’s rules, “theaterical roll-out” requirements dictated that venues must:
Regularly show new releases;” “Charge admission;” “Have regular non-specialized programming open to the general public;” “Exploit and market films through regular listings and advertising;” and “Generally run films for three to seven consecutive days, with multiple showings daily”

Can Schnack or anyone else out there confirm that the 14-city exhibition needn’t conform to these rules? And as far as I know, most documentary museum series don’t do 3-day runs, with two screenings a day for each individual film, so where exactly will distributor-less movies be going to live up to these requirements?

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