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Industry and Blogger Top 10s for 2007

Industry and Blogger Top 10s for 2007

Another look back at 2007… 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. 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). Yesterday, indieWIRE published top ten lists from iW editors and columnists, while last week we published the results of the 2007 indieWIRE Critics Poll, surveying more than 100 film critics.

SHAZ BENNETT
Associate Director, Programming AFI Fest

Juno
Eastern Promises
No Country for Old Men
Syndromes and a Century
I’m Not There
Persepolis
There will Be Blood
Killer of Sheep
Silent Light
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

Some other Top Faves:
Year of the Nail
Mutual Appreciation
Wristcutters
Ten Canoes
Lust, Caution
Bamako
Manda Bala
The Savages
Sicko
No End In Sight
Michael Clayton

BEN COTNER
Director of Acquisitions & Co-Productions, Paramount Vantage

1. “There Will Be Blood” / “Into the Wild” – For incredible cinematic achievement and for complexity of human emotion & motivation.
2. “The Orphanage” / “No Country For Old Men” – For elevating horror to another level.
3. “Billy the Kid” / “Juno” – For reminding you what it’s like to be young — and how incredibly complex being young is…
4. “In the Shadow of the Moon” / “Transformers” – For making space cool again.
5. “Lars and the Real Girl” / “Dan In Real Life” – For being funny and poignant at the same time.
6. “No End in Sight” / “The Devil Came on Horseback” – For speaking out even when no one is listening.
7. “Enchanted” / “Ratatouille” – For being seriously entertaining without being condescending to children.
8. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” / “Lust, Caution” – For breaking boundaries of what film can achieve.
9. “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” / “Chop Shop” – For creating an astounding depth of humanity.
10. “Teeth” / “Black Sheep” – For making me laugh until it hurts…yes, the Josh Pais scene.

MATT DENTLER
Director, SXSW Film Festival
blog: Matt Dentler’s Blog

1. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. “There Will Be Blood
3. “Killer of Sheep
4. “No Country For Old Men
5. “The King of Kong” & “Persepolis
7. “In The Shadow of the Moon
8. “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
9. “The Namesake
10. “No End in Sight

Honorable mentions: “Secret Sunshine,” “Zodiac,” “Away From Her,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Sicko,” “Michael Clayton,” “Knocked Up,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Taxi to the Darkside,” “Ratatouille,” “Bamako,” “Red Road,” “Day Night Day Night,” “Superbad,” “This is England,” “I’m Not There,” “The Host

Too much blogger hype or not, these are actually great films: “Quiet City,” “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” “Great World of Sound,” “Billy The Kid,” “Frownland

JEFF DEUTCHMAN
Acquisitions & Productions Coordinator, IFC Entertainment

1. “I’m Not There
2. “Death Proof
3. “Lake of Fire
4. “There Will Be Blood
5. “The Host
6. “Eastern Promises
7. “No Country for Old Men
8. “Zodiac
9. “Away From Her
10. “Knocked Up

2007 was a lot like 1999 – the “New Middle” directors and mini-majors really stepped up.

Honorable Mentions: “My Kid Could Paint That,” “Triad Election,” “Michael Clayton,” “We Own the Night,” “Ratatouille,” “The Lives of Others,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Exiled,” “Manda Bala,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Quiet City,” and the whole IFC First Take slate.

BRITTA ERICKSON
Festival Director, Starz Denver Film Festival

For a total of 10…

Eight features in order:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Atonement
No Country for Old Men
Persepolis
Juno
Into the Wild
Teeth
Dedication” (because Crudup’s portrayal of Henry, a quirky eccentric children’s novelist, just got me.)

And my top 2 docs:
Kurt Cobain About a Son
My Kid Could Paint That

I did not see “Michael Clayton” but suspect it would have made my list.

MICHAEL GIBBONS
MIX Brazil
blog: Michael in Sao Paulo

I saw relatively few films in 2007 compared to other years. I was so busy with new work that I made a conscious decision to avoid the sure-fire awards contenders (like “No Country for Old Men“) for more obscure stuff, given that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the Oscar darlings later. So while Todd Haynes is one of my favorite filmmakers, “I’m Not There” is not here (sorry) because I haven’t seen it yet, and I’m looking forward to catching all those other good movies everyone else seems to love. I’m also going by Brazilian schedules because trying to synch up my yearly favorites with the American distribution calendar just gives me a headache. Can’t wait for 2008!

My favorites in alphabetical order:
After the Wedding” by Susanne Bier
Jogo de Cena” by Eduardo Coutinho
Lady Chatterley” by Pascale Ferran
No Regret” by Hee-il Leesong
Paprika” by Satoshi Kon
Planet Earth” (BBC Production)
Red Road” by Andrea Arnold
Santiago” by Joao Moreira Salles
Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge” by Hou Hsiao-hsien
Zodiac” by David Fincher

BILL GUENTZLER
Artistic Director, Cleveland International Film Festival

1. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. “Ben X
3. “The Edge of Heaven
4. “Juno
5. “The Band’s Visit
6. “The Orphanage
7. “Persopolis
8. “I Served the King of England
9. “Secret Sunshine
10. “The Russian Triangle

MARIE-THERESE GUIRGIS
I can’t narrow down to just ten really great films this year, nor can I rank them because they were all such different experiences. So here is a Top 20.

One film not on my list because it hasn’t been released yet that I will mention nonetheless is the incredible “Silent Light” by Carlos Reygadas. It’s the film I saw this year that meant the most to me because it reminded me why I fell in love with film a long time ago. I mention it now because its U.S. theatrical distribution seems a bit uncertain at this moment. I really hope that this bold, original and utterly cinematic movie gets out there.

There Will Be Blood
An Unreasonable Man
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Across the Universe
Romance and Cigarettes
Into the Wild
Lady Chatterly
Persepolis
No Country For Old Men
Crazy Love
Juno
Black Book
Two Days in Paris
The Host
Triad Election
Eastern Promises
Sweeney Todd
Michael Clayton
This is England

TOM HALL
Director Of Programming, The Sarasota Film Festival
blog: The Back Row Manifesto

My favorite films that made it into movie theaters in 2007… Couldn’t narrow the list any further. Thanks to all of these artists for their amazing work.

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Away From Her
Dans Paris
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
I’m Not There
Into Great Silence
Killer Of Sheep
Lake Of Fire
Rescue Dawn
No Country For Old Men
No End In Sight
Zodiac
Zoo

Best Undistributed:
Munyurangabo” by Lee Issac Chung
This will be raved about for the entirety of 2008 once it has a chance to be seen. Takes your breath away.

Haven’t yet seen, but can’t wait to see:
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood

DOUG JONES
Senior Programmer, Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival

There are countless movies I missed this year (Come back, “Jesse James.” Come back.), but of what I did see, here, in alphabetical order, is the best 2007 had to offer.

Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness,” Dir. Laurin Federlein, England
Copacabana,” Dir. Martin Rejtman, Argentina
Exiled,” Dir Johnnie To, Hong Kong
Honor of the Knights,” Dir. Albert Serra, Spain
No Country for Old Men,” Dir. Joel and Ethan Coen, USA
[REC],” Dir. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, Spain
Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America,” Dir. Tony Stone, USA
Syndromes and a Century,” Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand
There Will Be Blood,” Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, USA
You, the Living,” Dir. Roy Andersson, Sweden

Movies that were in, then out, then in again and out again of my top ten:
I’m Not There,” Dir. Todd Haynes, USA
My Winnipeg” Dir. Guy Maddin, Canada
Superbad” Dir. Greg Mottola, USA
Sweeney Todd” Dir. Tim Burton, USA
Zodiac” Dir. David Fincher, USA

Best DVD fetish item
“Ford at Fox”

AARON KATZ
filmmaker, “Quiet City”

1. “Syndromes and a Century
2. “There Will Be Blood
3. “Los Muertos
4. “Day Night Day Night
5. “Michael Clayton
6. “The Bourne Ultimatum
7. “Superbad
8. “Black Book
9. “Frownland
10. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

As an addendum here are my top 5 favorite repertory film experiences
of the year:

1. “Killer of Sheep” and “Several Friends” at IFC Center
2. “I Know Who Killed Me” at BAM
3. “Ruggles of Red Gap” at BAM
4. “Hannah and Her Sisters” at Film Forum
5. “Let’s Get Lost” at Film Forum

MICHAEL LERMAN
Philadelphia International Film Festival, Woodstock Film Festival
blog: Lincoln Blogs

1. “There Will Be Blood
Well worth the wait by any stretch of the imagination. Too many good things to write here.

2. “The Host
Not just a great monster. A great monster movie with mise-en-scene that could be studied for years.

3. “Golden Door
A beautiful hybrid of Fellini and Antonioni.

4. “12:08 East of Bucharest
The best comedy in years is also simplest one.

5. Tie: “No Country For Old Men” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The return of the great western.

6. “Day Night Day Night
A truly visionary piece of carefully crafted filmmaking with an amazing central performance.

7. Tie: “Joshua” and “Zodiac
Two incredible experiments in tone that I think worked out very well (at least for me).

8. “Paprika
The movie that A Scanner Darkly should have been. And then some.

9. “Billy the Kid
The most original documentary I’ve seen in a long time.

10. “The Great World of Sound
It took me several viewings to uncover all the layers of Craig Zobel’s deceptively simple script. I love that I draw something different from it every time.

Best Undistrubuted Film: “Secret Sunshine
Believe the hype. Lee Chang-Dong’s latest film is a heartbreaking masterpiece.

KARINA LONGWORTH
Editor, SpoutBlog

Silent Light
There Will Be Blood
My Winnipeg
Control
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Billy the Kid
Quiet City
Red Road
This is England
Great World of Sound

Runners-up, any of which might have made the Top Ten had I been in a different mood: “Low and Behold,” “Frownland,” “The Boss of it All,” “4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” “Day Night Day Night,” “Starting Out in the Evening,” “2 Days in Paris

Didn’t see, but wish I had: “Lust, Caution,” “Zodiac,” “Syndromes of a Century,” “Romance and Cigarettes,” “Black Book,” “Shotgun Stories

Most Underrated Feature: “Broken English
Most Underrated Doc: “Strange Culture
Most Overrated: “No Country For Old Men” Very close runner-up: “Juno

The First Annual Boxing Helena Award, For A Flash of Brilliance That I Wish I Could Amputate From The Fatally Flawed Film Surrounding It:
Three-way tie: The first 40 minutes of “Atonement“; Justin Timberlake lipsyncs The Killers, “Southland Tales“; The last 20 minutes of “Michael Clayton.”

WENDY MITCHELL
Senior Editor, Screen International (London)
blog: WendyWIRE

1. “The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
2. “Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go
3. “Once
4. “Eastern Promises
5. “In The Shadow Of The Moon
6. The pre-war part of “Atonement
7. “Control
8. “In Search Of A Midnight Kiss
9. “Tell No One
10. “Superbad

(I don’t know whether to base my choices on US release dates, UK release dates, or festivals. But these are the films I loved this year. Still haven’t seen some big ones like “No Country” and “Michael Clayton.”)

DAVID NUGENT
Programmer, Hamptons International Film Festival

Black Sun,” A truly original and hypnotic film that captivated me from the first frame to the last.

Billy the Kid,” One of the most incredible characters I’ve seen in years, in both doc or fictions films.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” So much better than I ever thought it could be.

Once,” Such and honest and understated film.

This is England,” Like “Once,” a really heartfelt and honest film anchored by perfect performances and strong but sensitive direcetion.

Deep Water,” Great presentation of a story that veers way off the course that one would guess that it would.

Private Fears in Public Places,” I don’t know why this film didn’t catch on in America like it did in Europe. Resnais, ever the formalist master, introduces us to a snowy world of longing and disconnect.

Reprise,” One of the freshest and most exciting films that I saw all year.

No Country for Old Men

Cat Dancers

Note: I have not seen “There Will be Blood

MARK RABINOWITZ
blog: The Rabbi Report

My Top 10 (+1) of 2007

1. “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Honestly, this might be the best film I’ve seen in 5 years and unfortunately it looks like my pledge to eat my hat if it doesn’t get 10 Oscar nominations is going to end up with me on the losing end unless the Academy wises up.

There Will Be Blood
This is a close second to Jesse James. It’s an extraordinary achievement in all aspects of movie making and it is my firm conclusion that anyone who doesn’t realize that this is a masterpiece simply just doesn’t GET IT.

No Country For Old Men
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

The third and fourth masterpieces from an excellent year in film, although I disagree about “No Country” getting the ensemble acting kudos. As impressed as I was, I think the group from Jesse James was even more impressive.

The rest, alphabetically:

Control
The Darjeeling Limited
The Host
Juno
The Lives of Others
Offside
Rescue Dawn

If I could, this “top ten” list would be 20 long and maybe it will be on The Rabbi Report, but as it is, here is a 1-2-3 honorable mention: “In the Shadow of the Moon,” “Into Great Silence” and “Kurt Cobain: About a Son.” In my (not so) humble opinion, these three films have done yeoman’s work in expanding the idea of what the documentary form can be and their exclusion from the Academy shortlist just serves to show how out of touch that institution is, in terms of documentaries.

Notable films (according to what others have said or written) but that I missed/have not seen yet: “Zodiac,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Michael Clayton,” “Syndromes and a Century,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Killer of Sheep,” “Once,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Ratatouille,” “Persepolis,” “Into the Wild,” “12:08 East of Bucharest.”

RAJENDRA ROY
Chief Curator, Film, MoMA

1. “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
1. “Juno
1. “Knocked Up
(Three-way tie for three completely different films, dealing with the same situation, with radically different solutions. You Go Girls!)

Followed by (in no order):
The Assasination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” & “No Country for Old Men” (Roger Deakins shoots The West as if for the first time…)
There Will Be Blood” (Acts 1 and 2)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Schnabel and Kaminski paint with light)
Charlie Wilson’s War” (Nichols and Sorkin show them how to make a “war movie”)
Eastern Promises” (For Viggo, natch)
Ratatouille” + “Your Friend the Rat” (Great DVD!)

AJ SCHNACK
Filmmaker, “Kurt Cobain About A Son”
blog: All These Wonderful Things

My top ten is a 50/50 split of nonfiction and narrative. The order may change depending on time of
day and amount of wine consumed;

1. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Julian Schnabel)
2. “The Monastery – Mr Vig and the Nun” (Pernille Rose Gronkjaer)
3. “Billy the Kid” (Jennifer Venditti)
4. “Zodiac” (David Fincher)
5. “Ratatouille” (Brad Bird)
6. “Helvetica” (Gary Hustwit)
7. “Manda Bala” (Send a Bullet) (Jason Kohn)
8. “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Paul Greengrass)
9. “Great World of Sound” (Craig Zobel)
10. “Protagonist” (Jessica Yu)

Narrative films I haven’t seen yet that may make this list include “No Country for Old Men”, “There Will Be Blood” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”.

SASHA STONE
Awards Daily

1. “I’m Not There” and “No Country for Old Men” – These two films, more than any others, defined 2007 for me.
3. “Into the Wild
4. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
5. “3:10 to Yuma
6. “Juno
7. “We Are Together
8. “Atonement
9. “Rataouille
10. “Sicko

A sidenote: There are still many films I haven’t seen that I feel sure would have made my top ten, like “Persepolis,” “The Band’s Visit,” “Sweeney Todd,” “No End in Sight.”

MILTON TABBOT
Senior Director, Programming, IFP

Ah, the tyranny of 10. This was a great year for films, particularly American ones, and this list could have easily been doubled to include some truly worthy work. Of those here, there are several by artists turning in career-to-date peaks, and I think some current criticism of strange, flat or misconceived sequences and endings will be less than a non-issue 20 years from now.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I’m Not There
No Country for Old Men
Once
Starting Out in the Evening
There Will Be Blood
Zodiac
Zoo

Not seen: “Ratatouille,” “Persepolis,” “Sweeney Todd” and a host of others I’ll be catching up with in the next week.

KRIS TAPLEY
blog: In Contention
blog: Variety’s Red Carpet District

1. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
2. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
3. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
4. “Juno”
5. “There Will Be Blood”
6. “Lake of Fire”
7. “Persepolis”
8. “Lust, Caution”
9. “Control”
10. “Quiet City”

ANNE THOMPSON
Deputy Editor, Variety.com
blog: Thompson on Hollywood

1. “No Country for Old Men
2. “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
3. “There Will be Blood
4. “Lust, Caution
5. “Atonement
6. “The Bourne Ultimatum
7. “Sweeney Todd
8. “The Savages
9. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
10. “Juno

Best animated film:
Ratatouille

Best doc:
No End in Sight

Best writing:
No Country for Old Men
The Savages
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Juno
Margot at the Wedding
American Gangster
“3:10 to Yuma”
Sweeney Todd
Atonement
The Kite Runner

Best directing:
Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
Sweeney Todd
Lust, Caution
Atonement
4 Months
There Will be Blood
Once
Zodiac
The Assassination of Jesse James by that Coward Robert Ford

BASIL TSIOKOS
Artistic Director, NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival &
Documentary Programming Consultant, Sundance Film Festival
blog: NewBlog

Top ten (alphabetical order):
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Control
Crazy Love
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I’m Not There
Joshua
My Kid Could Paint That
Ratatouille
Superbad
Zoo

plus another five:
In the Beginning Was the Image
Into the Wild
Juno
King Corn
Once

And five not seen yet:
Atonement
No Country For Old Men
Persepolis
There Will Be Blood
Zodiac

MICHAEL TULLY
Filmmaker, “Cocaine Angel”
blog: Boredom at its Boredest

Narrative:
1. “Once
2. “Regular Lovers
3. “Offside
4. “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
5. “Great World of Sound
6. “This is England
7. “Rescue Dawn
8. “No Country For Old Men
9. “Syndromes and a Century
10. “Into the Wild

Documentary:
1. “The Unforeseen
2. “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
3. “No End in Sight
4. “Lake of Fire
5. “Into Great Silence
6. “My Kid Could Paint That
7. “Kurt Cobain: About a Son
8. “The Trials of Darryl Hunt
9. “The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Film Festival 1963-1965
10. “Billy the Kid

Best Unreleased (Alphabetical):
Audience of One” (Michael Jacobs)
The GoodTimesKid” (Azazel Jacobs)
Low and Behold” (Zach Godshall)
Monkey Warfare” (Reginald Harkema)
Orphans” (Ry Russo-Young)
Pretty in the Face” (Nate Meyer)
Secret Sunshine” (Lee Chang-dong)
The Urim and Thummim” (Dub Cornett, Jacob Young)

The Gza Award For True Cinematic Genius: Ronald Bronstein, “Frownland
It is impossible for me to wrap my head around these films until I see them for a second time: “There Will Be Blood” and “Zodiac

CHRISTINE VACHON
Killer Films

I don’t know if these are THE BEST of ’07–but they are the ones that gave me the most pleasure. In no particular order:

This is England
Persepolis
Into the Wild
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
High School Musical 2
Joe Strummer :The Future Is Unwritten
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
No Country for Old Men

I still have NOT seen “There Will Be Blood” or (which I am REALLY looking forward to–) “Walk Hard.”

KIM VOYNAR
Cinematical

1. “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. “Juno
3. “Zodiac
4. “No Country for Old Men
5. “No End in Sight
6. “Persepolis
7. “Sweeney Todd
8. “Away from Her
9. “War/Dance
10. “For the Bible Tells Me So

RYAN WERNER
IFC Films

1. “No Country For Old Men
2. “Zodiac
3. “There Will Be Blood
4. “Eastern Promises
5. “Margot at the Wedding
6. “Into the Wild
7. “Blackbook
8. “I’m Not There
9. “Sweeney Todd
10. “Superbad” (Though this is the movie I have seen more than any of the others.)

…and (not in order) – “Juno,” “2 Days In Paris,” “Persepolis,” “Death Proof,” “Once,” “Ratatouille,” “The Host,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Lady Chatterly,” “No End In Sight,” “The Savages,” “12:08 East of Bucharest,” “Rescue Dawn,” “Lars & The Real Girl,” “The Diving Bell & The Butterfly,” “Smiley Face,” “Syndromes & A Century,” “Regular Lovers,” “Sicko,” “Exiled,” “A Mighty Heart,” “Dance Party USA/Quiet City,” “The Band’s Visit,” “Helvetica,” “The Devil Came on Horseback.” Special Mention for the restored “Killer of Sheep” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz.” I did not include any films I worked on because I didn’t think that was fair and people always get mad.

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