Film Critic's Circle of Kansas City - Loutzenheiser Awards
The Loutzenhiser Awards started in 1966 as the Kansas City Film Circle Awards. Founded by Dr. James K. Loutzenhiser, the KCFCC was only the second formal organization of film critics in the United States. Dr. Loutzenhiser was active in the organization until shortly before his Drama Classes in London in 2002. At the 36th annual vote in 2003, a unanimous decision was made to re-name the awards in his honor.
The voting for the Loutzenhiser Awards is a unique affair. Any film that has been screened for the KCFCC membership in the previous year is eligible for an award, regardless if that film was shown to the membership by general release, by private screening or by screener tapes and / or DVDs. The membership of the KCFCC submits their nominations in each category to the Secretary, who puts together the ballots used during the actual vote.
At the actual vote, KCFCC members can also nominate a film, director, writer, actor or actress from the floor if they are not already on the ballot. The member can only make one nomination "from the floor" and must vote for their nominee during the first round of voting.
In many cases, there are several nominees and the votes can be spread across a number of nominees. When this happens and there is no clear majority, the nominees with the most votes will go through a run-off vote. If there is still no clear winner, this process continues until there is either a winner with a clear majority or, in the event a vote is deadlocked, a tie is declared.
What makes the voting for the Loutzenhiser Awards so unique and special is that the critics can argue for and against votes for nominees they feel passionate about. Unlike other votes that employ a secret ballot process, the final outcome of the Loutzenhiser Awards truly represents not only the votes of the membership but the spirit as well. It is because of this passion for films and the people who make them that led to the KCFCC decision to announce runners-up, starting with the 39th annual vote in 2005. By announcing the runners-up, the KCFCC recognizes other nominees that are deserving of mention without having to resort to the tired and trite "Top Ten" lists. This practice was dropped with the 40th vote in January, 2006.
The 39th KCFCC vote also marked the first year that the Circle has voted on a screenplay category. While the members of the Circle don't feel qualified to vote on categories such as Musical Score or Set Design, the writing of a screenplay is near and dear to the writers in the KCFCC. Categories for "Best Original Screenplay" and "Best Adapted Screenplay" were added after a unanimous vote at a meeting of the KCFCC membership in late 2004.
The 40th annual vote in 2006 saw the addition of a new award from the KCFCC. The Vince Koehler Award for Outstanding Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film was created as a lasting tribute to our friend & colleague, Vince Koehler. Vince loved films in general and was a great fan of SF, horror & fantasy films. A regular fixture at a number of science fiction conventions, Vince was a "one stop shop" that not only provided attendees with opinions and information about genre films but would often program the films & videos running at the events he attended. During the period following the death of KCFCC founder James Loutzenhiser, Vince Koehler was an important contributor to the new structure of the organization and served as one of the original members of the Governing Board. Vince passed away in 2005, buried with a copy of the trailer for Star Wars Episode 3. The KCFCC is honored to present this new award in his memory, recognizing a genre that he loved.
The 41st vote in January, 2007 saw a change to one of the voting categories. In recognition of legendary film maker and Kansas City native Robert Altman, the award for Best Director will now be called "The Robert Altman Award for Best Director". The award sent to winners will now include imagery that reflects Altman and his influence on the art of film direction.
On Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, the members of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle gathered at the Screenland Theater in Kansas City and selected the following as the winners of the 41st Annual KCFCC Loutzenhiser Awards: