The Chicago Film Critics Association, disturbed by the unfairness and inequities caused by the current MPAA screener ban - and also by the fact that many affected film companies and divisions were denied a true voice in the matter - will suspend its competitive awards for 2003. This suspension will be in force until the MPAA allows all companies and/or subsidiaries affected to vote for themselves, or until it releases all those who disagree with the ban from forced participation, or until the companies and individual filmmakers who are opposed to that ban break it on their own.
This motion has been passed unanimously by the Chicago critics' Board of Directors and approved by a 2/3 majority vote of the membership.
The following statement was also approved by the board and membership:
Though the MPAA's recent modification of its screener ban- allowing screeners to be sent to Academy voters as a one-year "experiment" - was a step in the right direction, it fails to address two key issues. First, by changing the rules in this way so late in the game, the MPAA's motion still guarantees that the smaller studios most dependent on screeners will be unable to competitively promote and display their films. Second, the MPAA's screener ban continues to unfairly insult and stigmatize the still-excluded critics and craft guilds by falsely implying that they are somehow "the usual suspects" in film piracy.
We believe that any film company has the right to withhold screeners of its work if it truly fears duplication and illegal resale. But we also believe that no company that wishes to distribute its own screeners for purposes of prize contests or media coverage should be denied that right, whether by a parent studio or by a professional organization.