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A Hero (MPFM 9-1)
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Close but no cigar: Welcome to the Motion Picture Foreign Market

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Gerald Colbert
February 2022 Article
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Worldwide great films are made every year, many are stunners that even their North American counterparts can’t rival. “Parasite” (2019) was a Korean film that took the motion picture industry by storm; It was a foreign language film that garnered praised internationally even nabbing some of Hollywood’s most prestigious merits. With the current Film Tournament System regime, one could question where would a great overseas film like Parasite stand post-season were it to compete today if possible? Enter the Motion Picture Foreign Market.

One could frankly describe it as the red-headed step child of the Film Tournament System. Alongside the conferences: Motion Picture Standard (Studio Hollywood films) Motion Picture Metric (Streaming platform studio films) Motion Picture Independent (Independent American Films) and Motion Picture Conventional (Films with minimal theatrical presence) the Motion Picture Foreign Market Conference houses and competes International and foreign language films within the Film Tournament System, they have their own poll MPFM Conference Poll and they even have two designated Ordina spots they can compete in: International Film Ordina & International Cinema Ordina. The process from season beginning to season end seems fair enough on a number of standards but the issue most foreign filmmakers have with the Film Tournament System is that their films don’t have the opportunity to compete for the biggest prizes: Film Tournament Playoff or the OCS Cinema Title, in short here’s why:

 

For the Politically Correct Answer keep reading, for the Simple Dirty Truth scroll downward

 

POLITICALLY CORRECT ANSWER: Yearly, the Film Tournament System regulates a 35 Week Season with the most winningest films ranking in the Tournament Press Association Poll come January. The Conferences MPS, MPM, MPI & MPC have a respected contract that would allow the Tournament Polls to legitimize who is qualified to compete in the post season. The MPFM, because of the vast landscape of foreign films made outside of the U.S, it would be almost impossible for the Film Tournament System to regulate every country’s film release plus individual match results and because of this only a select number are chosen to compete seasonally. Truthfully the Film Tournament System was mainly created as a platform to regulate and compete Theatrical and Streaming American studio films because it is a more condensed market however, once you include Independent Film releases it creates a task worthy of a high grade max efficient super computer. In the American market alone hundreds of thousands of films are being made yearly hence the need to divide releases by studio, streaming platform and or theatrical releases if a finished film can make it that far.

 

In an all inclusive era, being left out of anything can almost seem  like sacrilege especially in the movie making business. To supplement the need to belong and be accepted we now have the modern day film festival circuit. There are film festivals genre specific to everything and anything in existence and if you can’t get into one filmmakers just decide to create one. Film Festival counts have skyrocketed in the last ten years by almost 3000% reducing the merit of a  coveted acceptance laurel down to the likes of a mere participation badge. In reference to the world of film around the world, there are just too many to count nowadays. With studio standard equipment more affordable and accessible than ever anyone with a script and some follow through can make a broadcast quality flick. To tally all the releases worldwide, match them all one on one with other films on a weekly basis then watch and grade the matches  would require a brigade of viewers and judges, the work load for just the American market alone requires several hundred committed staff. With all the mechanical burdens examined one would still question what does this have to do with a foreign film competing for the top spot? It doesn’t. The only close to sensible excuse would be that considering this is a system (Film Tournament System) built and geared towards tending to American films (which on average tend to be better) but allows a minority of foreign films to compete, it only seems reasonable that the top prizes be reserved for such. Is this a fair conclusion? Absolutely not, Parasite, superior as it was is a clear case-in-point.

 

 

SHORT SIMPLE TRUTH ANSWER: If the volume of films being made worldwide is the issue and the MPFM has the solution by only accepting the top international films then why not just have the MPFM films be counted with the TPA Polls, its that simple right? Well yes and no but if you understand politics then you understand that the most sensible solutions don’t get utilized. Its called a formula built on defects and marketability.

 A system that works too perfectly in Entertainment and or Sports becomes stale and doesn’t leave room for controversy, believe it or not, injustice has been the element that keeps sports commentary hot the day after a big game, the missed call, the team that doesn’t get the last playoff spot because of politics, the team that doesn’t deserve it but gets in because of politics, the NFL’s unfair Overtime rule etc. These imperfections increase the stakes to win. The other plain truth is marketability: how many people do you know actually saw Parasite or would even have heard about it were it not for the Awards season? Not too many or none at all. Lets be honest: brands like the Film Tournament Playoff and the Ordina Championship Series are markets aimed to compete and highlight the best KNOWN films in the industry. Fans will root for the films they know and talk about the films they’ve actually watched. Hollywood is notorious for nominating films the average viewer has never even heard of. So there you have it, the Film Tournament System, an American made system hails a heavy hand over the Motion Picture Foreign Market, a Conference who will compete International Films (that you may never have heard of) such as A Hero (9-1), Drive My Car (8-2), Compartment Number 6 (8-1) and Wheel Of Fortune and Fantasy (10-0), these top four will battle for the 7th annual International Film Playoff with the winner advancing to take on an At Large TPA Poll Ranking Film (that you may have heard of) in the 2022 International Cinema Ordina in March. Time will tell if the MPFM Conference will continue to accept coming close without a cigar or maybe in due time they may just decide to create their own cigar. If in the event they do, who’s going to know it exist?

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DRIVE MY CAR (MPFM 8-2) can only hope to secure an International Ordina Bid at best