Membership Guidelines

Membership Statement for The Kansas City Film Critics Circle

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle is a group of film critics who review current motion pictures on a regular basis. Dr. James Loutzenhiser, who passed away in November 2001, founded the group in 1966. The annual film awards are now called The Loutzenhiser Awards.

A film critique is defined as an analysis of a film, expressing an opinion of its quality based on artistic and technical criteria.  The Circle does not accept merely reporting information about a film (plot synopsis, business prospects, cast list, etc.) with no actual critique included.

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle is defined by a 60-mile radius around the Kansas City metropolitan area, using 10th and Main Streets, Kansas City, Missouri, as the center point of the circle.

Membership Consideration Guidelines:

To be considered for membership in the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, applicants must meet the following guidelines, and must request sponsorship from a current KCFCC member. That member is responsible for providing written or recorded evidence of the applicant’s qualifications to the full membership. Survival of a simple majority vote is required for membership. The membership meeting is held in early June of each year, and is open to KCFCC members only.

(1) Each member must watch and critique at least 25 current feature-length motion pictures in the twelve-month period between membership meetings (June 1st – May 31st). This includes theatrical releases, new films screened at festivals & first-run multi-platform releases (such as DVD, streaming video, or other formats not yet developed). It does not include re-releases of older films or previous theatrical releases on DVD. At least 75 percent of each critic’s reviews must be of films released theatrically in the United States during the membership year.

Critiques (as defined above) must be distributed via a mass-medium to the movie-going public (print, radio, television or Internet).

(2) All written reviews must be professionally edited and presented. Writers should follow basic rules of grammar and spelling, and check factual information for accuracy before printing or posting.

To qualify, a written review must be at least 300 words in length. Two (2) capsule reviews of 150-299 words each will be counted as one full review. Two (2) audio or video reviews will also be counted as one full review.

If a critic writes more than one review of a film, the additional reviews may be counted so long as they are significantly different from the original. Reprinted or syndicated reviews, with minor or no changes, will not be considered separately.

(3) Members are expected to keep track of their reviews, including movie titles, date and length. Governing Committee members will audit each critic’s work prior to the annual awards meeting and again prior to the membership meeting.

(3) Online outlets must have, at minimum, 5,000 unique visits per month to qualify for the KCFCC.

(4) Beginning with the 2015 membership year, Senior Members of the Circle will be required to submit at least 12 qualifying reviews per year. The Senior Member status will not be offered after the 2014 membership meeting.

Annual Awards Vote and Governance:

(1) The annual awards meeting, held in December, is mandatory for all KCFCC members. A proxy vote will be allowed, but the absent critic is responsible for making this arrangement in advance of the meeting. The proxy must already be a member of the KCFCC.

No unexcused absences from the Annual Vote will be allowed. Unless the critic can provide a hardship excuse (family emergency, accident, etc.), that critic will be asked to resign or be subject to an expulsion hearing (see below).

(2) Annual membership dues of $15 will be collected from all members at the time of the meeting. Members who cannot attend must make sure the Treasurer has their dues within one month after the meeting takes place.

(3) Members may nominate up to three contenders in each awards category in advance, and a show-of-hands vote on all listed nominees (followed by any necessary run-offs) will determine the winners. Members may nominate from the floor, so long as they vote for that nominee, and may also make arguments for or against certain nominees prior to each vote. Any film that either opened in Kansas City, screened for critics or was provided to critics via DVD or online screeners in the calendar year prior to the vote is eligible for consideration.

(4) The KCFCC is managed by a Governing Committee consisting of four (4) officers (President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer) and three (3) at-large members. In order to run for committee positions, members must have been active and in good standing for at least three (3) years. Committee members and officers are elected at the annual membership meeting.

Grievance and Expulsion Policies:

(1) Critics who are absent from the annual meeting without a valid proxy or excuse, fail to pay their annual dues, or who violate standards of professional behavior, may be subject to expulsion from the KCFCC. (See ethics guidelines below.)

A formal request for a membership vote-out can be made at any time during the year by anyone in the KCFCC. If the member in questions chooses not to resign voluntarily, a special meeting will be held to consider that person’s status. A critic is voted out of the organization by majority vote of the full KCFCC membership.

A critic who is voted out may petition for reinstatement at the next membership meeting, following the same rules as new members.

Ethics Guidelines:

At a session of the KCFCC Governing Committee in September, 2004, the following ethics guidelines were established for members of the KCFCC. These acts are prohibited and may be punishable by expulsion from the KCFCC, as outlined above:

– Plagiarizing material, defined as deliberately copying the work of others and claiming it as your own, with no attribution

– Stealing goods or services from studio representatives, theatres or other KCFCC members

– Using KCFCC membership to demand special treatment (this includes demanding promotional items for personal use, demanding extra screening passes or demanding free passes to films that have already opened)

– Allowing gifts or favors to influence the content of reviews

– Reviewing films you have not seen

– Reviewing films you walked out of or turned off without revealing that you did not see them in their entirety

– Reviewing films in which you, or someone you know well, has a creative or financial interest without disclosing that information in the review

– Threatening or harassing artists, studio representatives, theatre owners/employees or other KCFCC members

– Falsifying press credentials or professional associations

– Falsely claiming to be an official representative of the KCFCC

– Unauthorized recording of theatrical releases

– Unauthorized copying and/or sale of studio screeners, including (but not limited to) Internet distribution

– Violating the studio-imposed embargo on when reviews may be published, broadcast or posted, without express permission from an authorized studio representative

The Governing Committee reserves the right to review and alter these guidelines as needed or upon the request of the KCFCC membership.

Policy Regarding Screenings:

If KCFCC members are not allowed to see a film in time for review, they are not obligated to promote or publicize that film in any way. This includes running feature articles on the film, reviewing the film after its release, or reviewing its DVD release.

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