The CAST Awards: An Introduction

A few years back, I began meeting up with a couple of local film bloggers for monthly drinks. We talked about the films we were seeing and at the end of the year, we’d debate our year-end lists, comparing them with the list of the Toronto Film Critics Association, among other critics’ groups. Wouldn’t it be great if our little group could come up with our own list, I thought. But there were just a few of us, and we couldn’t possibly see as many films as the “pros.”

Fast forward just a few years, and our little group has grown to more than two dozen. And although none of us yet earn our daily bread from film writing, most of us have access to many more films due to festival accreditations and DVD screeners. So I thought it was time we came up with a list of our own.

Though our group doesn’t have a name, we invented one for the purpose of the awards. Say hello to the Cinema Appreciation Society of Toronto. No, there are no membership requirements or secret handshakes. It encompasses everyone in my email address book who sees a lot of films and who lives in Toronto or reasonably close by. We didn’t pick the name for its reference to broken bones (as in the above photo), but more for its association with the cast of a film, or with the act of “casting” a vote.

To keep things simple the first year, there is only one category on the official ballot. I asked approximately 40 people to list up to 25 films they saw this year in order of preference. These preliminary ballots were tabulated and then the top 100 vote-getting films were added to a final ballot. These ballots went out on December 3rd to the same group, who were asked to come up with another Top 25 based on this final ballot. In addition, any film released theatrically in Toronto during the month of December was eligible.

The deadline to receive completed ballots is midnight tonight, and I’ve already been busy tabulating results. Look for the inaugural CAST Top 25 sometime tomorrow!

Special thanks to Johan Karlborg, for making the photo of his cast available under a Creative Commons licence. I hope your wrist has finally healed!

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