Here, then, are the group's estimation of the best films that premiered during 2014 but failed to secure New York distribution (and hence eligibility for the Skandies proper, which has a two-year window) by the end of 2016. 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. Four years ago 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 whittled the list down to just a top 10, and there's been no need to re-expand it since. Indeed, the number of voters has now dwindled to the point where I'm seriously considering dispensing with the Undies altogether. It's a good thing, really—in a perfect world, there'd be no need for this category.
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 or Letterboxd provide a characteristic remark.
In reverse chrono:
#10 Eat Your Bones (Jean-Charles Hue) 22 pts | 3 votes
#9 The Third Side of the River (Celina Murga) 23 pts | 3 votes
#8 A Midsummer's Fantasia (Jang Kun-jae) 24 pts | 2 votes
#7 Black Coal, Thin Ice (Diao Yinan) 25 pts | 3 votes
#6 Ben Zaken (Efram Corem) 34 pts | 2 votes
#5 Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara) 36 pts | 3 votes
#4 Angels of Revolution (Alexey Fedorchenko) 37 pts | 2 votes
#3 Not My Type (Lucas Belvaux) 47 pts | 4 votes
#2 Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang) 64 pts | 4 votes
#1 Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo) 98 pts | 7 votes
NOTE: This is Hong's fourth Undies victory, which is mostly a testament to how infrequently his films get U.S. distribution.
THE VOTERS: Mike D'Angelo, Alex Fung, Sky Hirschkron, Don Marks, Theo Panayides, Vadim Rizov, Dan Sallitt, Michael Sicinski, and Blake Williams.
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)
2010: Hahaha (Hong Sang-soo)
2011: Dreileben: Beats Being Dead (Christian Petzold)
2012: Eat Sleep Die (Gabriela Pichler)
2013: Club Sandwich (Fernando Eimbcke)
* (released commercially after the window of eligibility had closed)