New year, new official lists

Over the middle of last year we asked for feedback on what lists should be official, ending up with a short list of 37 lists on which we got 191 responses. Based on these results we're adopting four well performing lists for the new year, and will likely adopt some others over the coming year. First we'll start with our adoptions, with the results of the poll at the end of this post:

  • Cannes Film Festival - Grand Prix: This was the top performing list in our poll, and it's understandable why. Cannes is the premier film festival, and while this is the runner up prize in the festival behind the Palme d'Or, clearly the festival's cachet along with the big names of a lot of these films makes this an attractive list for those interested in arthouse fare (adopted from Timec).
  • Sight and Sound - 75 Hidden Gems: This was the #4 list in the poll, a selection of hidden gems organized and published by the venerable Sight & Sound magazine where each of 75 polled critics chose a hidden gem to share (adopted from FilmWalrus).
  • 100 American Independent Films (BFI Screen Guide): The number nine list in the poll, this joins a number of other BFI screen guide books as an official list. Chronicling US independent films from the 1940s and 50s poverty row, through the 90s and 2000s indie renaissance (adopted from Timec).
  • 100 Road Movies (BFI Screen Guide): Our last adoption is another BFI screen guide, this one looking at road movies, the genre of escape, bonding and down to earth adventure, each movie a reflection of its time and place and culture, taking its formula in varied directions (adopted from Timec).
Lastly, we have two replacement country lists. These were not in the poll, one being a list which is pretty direct replacement of its predecessor and the other a poll which was published recently, after our poll for lists was already well underway.

  • Abraccine’s 100 Best Brazilian Films: This is a newer Brazilian critics poll of Brazilian movies, replacing Contracampo's Top Brazilian Cinema which covered the same ground in an older poll (adopted from BaalMan).
  • FilmTV’s 100 Greatest Italian Films: This is probably the most controversial of our choices. Not because of the list itself; a recent poll of over 150 Italian cinema experts delivering an authoritative top 100 of a prominent national cinema is as close to the gold standard of what we look for in official lists as you can get. Rather because it replaces a list ( One hundred film and one country, Italy) that, while it covers similar ground (the best of Italian cinema) with a restriction on year of production and chosen by a small panel instead of a big poll, has been official for quite a while and some will surely consider slightly different perspective on Italian cinema to be of interest. We considered whether this should be an additional adoption or a replacement, and decided that this new list was of higher quality and the list it replaces, while having some interesting features, doesn't bring something distinctive enough to remain official (adopted from brokenface).
We hope most will find something of interest in this adoption round, if not, you can find the full results of the poll here.

We'd like to talk a bit about how we have been, and will continue, incorporating the results in our list selection process. With nearly 200 responses from a variety of users we are reasonably happy with the response rate and feel that the results give us some meaningful insight into what lists people are and aren't interested in. As such we have adopted several highly performing lists and will adopt more in the coming year. At the same time, we're aware that many, many people did not participate for a variety of reasons, and that even with a good sample these results are at best an approximation of the userbase. As such, the poll results are a guidance, an important piece of the process to make sure we know what users want, but not the only resource we use when adopting lists. We will continue to use our judgement and knowledge to assess the quality of the sources and balance the interests of various types of users on our site. That includes not only interests in types of films and lists, but in the way lists are used as well, for competition, for curiosity and for discovery. Sometimes, this balance requires us to replace lists as we have this round. We strive to keep replacements to a minimum because we know making lists unofficial makes them harder to find and can frustrate those who were working on them. At the same time, keeping a list official at the expense of a good replacement makes the potential replacement harder to discover, and having multiple similar lists be official without a compelling reason makes the user experience more cluttered and hinders discovery in its own way. Not everyone will agree on the right balance but we hope the end result is a useful and informative site that appeals to a variety of users.

To conclude, we'd also like to note that while the poll was about potential new official lists, we've also heard feedback about how we should run such a poll in the future (we hope for a clearer process and a web form instead of an email ballot), how we communicate and how we consider adoptions in general. We appreciate all this feedback which we discuss and process and hopefully put to good use in the future. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback, and to everyone who uses the site. We hope you have a happy new year and look forward to many more in the future.

Happy checking!


The iCheckMovies team

29 January, 2019