Here, then, are the group's estimation of the best films that premiered during 2015 but failed to secure New York distribution (and hence eligibility for the Skandies proper, which has a two-year window) by the end of 2017. 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. (We're seeing more and more notable films premiere on streaming platforms only, it's true, but I'm likely to revise the main survey's eligibility rules before that would become a truly significant factor here.) A few years ago, I whittled the list down to a top ten (previously 20), and there's been no need to re-expand it since. Indeed, the number of voters has now dwindled to the point where this year I tentatively tried to retire the Undies altogether, moving forward with it only when several regular voters objected. It's a good thing, really—in a perfect world, there'd be no need for this category.
As ever, disclaimers abound. While roughly 35 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.
[NOTE: I screwed this up initially, neglecting to move the final submitted ballot into the correct folder. Correcting this error vaulted Ben Rivers' film from I think #13 to #3, knocking out two films that had been tied in 10th. Also The White Knights got a slight bump and Blood of My Blood wins more decisively. Otherwise the same.]
In reverse chrono:
#10 Our Loved Ones (Anne Émond) 25 pts | 2 votes
#9 The Grief of Others (Patrick Wang) 26 pts | 2 votes
Now, I found the story quite dull from time to time (TALK PEOPLE), but despite that I'm eager to watch it again in order to spot everything I missed the first time."
#8 The Movement (Benjamín Naishtat) 27 pts | 2 votes
#7 The Fourth Direction (Gurvinder Singh) 28 pts | 3 votes
#6 The White Knights (Joachim Lafosse) 32 pts | 3 votes
"In its ambition to avoid taking sides in what is a complicated subject, ultimately Les chevaliers blancs (The White Knights) has nothing to offer the viewer. The blend between a realistic pseudo-documentary and an introspective character study leaves the film as a dysfunctional hybrid that fails to evoke emotions or insight."
#5 Invention (Mark Lewis) 34 pts | 2 votes
#4 The Whispering Star (Sion Sono) 36 pts | 3 votes
#3 The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (Ben Rivers) 39 pts | 4 votes
#2 One Floor Below (Radu Muntean) 61 pts | 6 votes
"Muntean's insightful, thought-provoking and intriguing film captures both the benefits and pitfalls of maintaining silence. It also reveals how much, like the video game world of Sandu's son, we create a fantasy world and live in our little bubbles despite everything that goes on around us. It is a fascinating glimpse into a little slice of Romanian life. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015. As an aside, I overheard some Canadians talking about how much they enjoyed this film. 'It is not like this in American films,' said one. Snap! Well, with many, but not all, American films anyway."
#1 Blood of My Blood (Marco Bellocchio) 80 pts | 5 votes
THE VOTERS: Mike D'Angelo, Alex Fung, Jeremy Heilman, Sky Hirschkron, 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)
2014: Hill of Freedom (Hong Sang-soo)
* (released commercially after the window of eligibility had closed)