Wednesday, February 13, 2019

FAQs – What makes a movie eligible for Trust the Dice’s Top 20?

Almost without fail, every month, someone contacts us to ask why some films are on our list although they appeared in festivals several years earlier. If it’s not one of those questions, it’s a note asking why a movie didn’t make the list although it was released in certain countries to high praise.

We figured those questions might be answered best by explaining what films we see as eligible for our Top 20 each month.

When we build the index for our list, we do a lot of research into what’s coming out. We have a series of sites we look through and contacts we communicate with to get all the information. We try to make sure we learn about all the indie films. We feel as though focusing only on mainstream films does our readers a disservice. Sometimes that requires some hunting.

When we’re done with our research, we often wind up with about two or three pages on Microsoft Word (10pt font).

Not all of those films are eligible.

Once the titles are all collected, we cross-reference them with IMDb in order to makes sure they meet our requirements.

The first thing we do is double check that our sources were right about the release date. Trust, but verify. Those are words we learned the hard way after a few mistakes.

Once the date is cleared, we make sure it’s for a wide or, at the very least, limited release (in some cases we also include straight-to-video dates). We are not interested in movies that are only going to be accessible by critics and film students. We want to make sure the general movie fan will have at least SOME access to it. In the case of Netflix, or other streaming service originals, we make sure it’s a wide digital release. We do not count festival showings as a release date.

For instance, Pulp Fiction (1994) was first shown, according to IMDb, at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 1994. If the blog was running back then, we would not have had it on the list for May. We would have had it on for October when it had it’s first US release (October 14, 1994).

Which brings me to my next point.

Me and Cat are from the US. The majority of our readers are also from the states. So, we generally look at release dates in the US first.

According to IMDb, Pulp Fiction’s first wide release was September 10, 1994 in South Korea. We still would have put it under October since it was released in the US on October 14, 1994.

Now, there are some films that make our list that don’t actually have any release date in the US at all.

Not all of our readers are from the US. In fact, many of our readers are in Germany, Ukraine, Russia, France, Australia, India, Brazil, China, Belgium, England, and Japan. So, in the event that there is no US release listed, we will list the release date for the country that most of our readers come from.

For example, if Pulp Fiction had no US release date, we would have had dates from South Korea, Japan, Slovakia, Canada, UK, Norway, France, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Germany and many others to choose from. Because the majority of our foreign readers come from Germany, we would list that release date instead of the others (November 3, 1994).

Things like language, subtitles, country of origin, subject, and behind-the-scenes scandals do not affect whether or not it is eligible for the top 20. It’s completely based on date and the opinion of either me or Cat – depending on who’s writing the article that month.

I hope this information has cleared up our thought process when building the master list for our Top 20.

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