Here, then, are the group's estimation of the best films that premiered during 2010 but failed to secure New York distribution (and hence eligibility for the Skandies proper, which has a two-year window) by the end of 2012. I used to unveil these simultaneously with the main top 20, but it occurred to me a few years back that they really ought to have their own separate platform, given their undeserved semi-obscurity. (However, they're butting right up against the main survey this year, because I happened to suffer a week-long kidney stone attack just as I was planning to assemble this post. Then got caught up in holiday/year-end madness.)
As it happens, fewer and fewer notable films—where "notable" is defined as "made some noise on the fest circuit and were likely to be seen by several voters"—are failing to secure a week-long NYC run. This year we finally hit what I consider a tipping point: Five people who usually vote in this section (out of a pool of only 17) chose to abstain, saying they just hadn't seen enough eligible titles. As a result, a number of films would have cracked the top 20 on the basis of a single vote. So I've whittled the list down to just a top 10. It's a good thing, really—in a perfect world, there'd be no need for this category, and we're getting remarkably close.
As ever, disclaimers abound. While roughly 40 professional and amateur cinéastes vote in the main survey, a smaller subset takes part in what's become known as the Undies—basically the folks who make it out to multiple festivals. (You can find their names way at the bottom.) And of course circumstances dictate that the results will skew in favor of those undistributed films that have been most widely seen, with a particular advantage going to anything that played at Toronto. No doubt many other excellent films were simply not seen by enough people to make the cut; feel free to mention overlooked favorites in the comments.
Alas, I'm too harried at the moment to write up commentary on 10 films, many of which I haven't seen. So I've let various folks who've posted their thoughts on the IMDb provide a characteristic remark.
In reverse chrono:
#10 Surviving Life (Theory and Practice) (Jan Svankmajer) 37 pts | 2 votes
#9 In the Shadows (Thomas Arslan) 38 pts | 3 votes
#8 Curling (Denis Côté) 38 pts | 4 votes
#7 Brownian Movement (Nanouk Leopold) 47 pts | 4 votes
#6 I Wish I Knew (Jia Zhang-ke) 48 pts | 6 votes
#5 Guest (José Luis Guerín) 49 pts | 4 votes
#4 Black Venus (Abdellatif Kechiche) 50 pts | 4 votes
#3 Promises Written in Water (Vincent Gallo) 74 pts | 4 votes
#2 The City Below (Christoph Hochhäusler) 80 pts | 5 votes
#1 Hahaha (Hong Sang-soo) 86 pts | 8 votes
Yes, this is the third time Hong has won the Undies in 11 years. This despite having no fewer than three (3) films also eligible for the survey proper in 2012.
THE VOTERS: Mike D'Angelo, Alex Fung, Sky Hirschkron, Don Marks, Victor J. Morton, Theo Panayides, Vadim Rizov, Dan Sallitt, Michael Sicinski, Chris Stults, C. Mason Wells, and Blake Williams. Thanks to all.
For the record, here are the next 10 films, in alphabetical order:
Archipelago (Joanna Hogg)
Bas-fonds (Isild Le Besco)
Belle Epine (Rebecca Zlotowski)
Deep in the Woods (Benoît Jacquot)
Erie (Kevin Jerome Everson)
Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski)
Machete Maidens Unleashed! (Mark Hartley)
On Tour (Mathieu Amalric)
Outbound (Bogdan George Apetri)
Winter Vacation (Li Hongqi)
2000: Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku)
2001: Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)*
2002: Turning Gate (Hong Sang-soo)
2003: Not on the Lips (Alain Resnais)
2004: The 10th District Court—Moments of Trial (Raymond Depardon)
2005: Tale of Cinema (Hong Sang-soo)
2006: Taxidermia (György Pálfi)*
2007: Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong)*
2008: Just Anybody (Jacques Doillon)
2009: Face (Tsai Ming-liang)
* (released commercially after the window of eligibility had closed)