Extending the
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Few people have had the chance to see Arwen Curry’s documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, which began making the rounds of film festivals in June 2018 but won’t be available to a mass audience until it airs on PBS in late 2019. It isn’t a finalist for this year’s Hugo Awards, and some who feel that might be the result of underexposure have announced plans to ask the Dublin 2019 business meeting to extend the film’s eligibility.

Here is the draft text of their motion:

Short Title: Hugo Eligibility Extension for Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Moved, to extend for one year the Hugo Award eligibility of the film documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, based on limited availability, as authorized by Section 3.4.3 of the WSFS Constitution.

Proposed by: Jo Van Ekeren, Hampus Eckerman, Adri Joy, Theodora Goss, Terry L Neill, Juliette Wade, Paul Weimer, Ziv Wities

This motion extends eligibility for the Hugo Awards under Section 3.4.3; therefore, it requires a two-thirds vote of approval.

Commentary: Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is a documentary film by Arwen Curry exploring the life and legacy of the late feminist author Ursula K. Le Guin. Work on the documentary began as early as 2009, and the filmmaker was able to complete the many hours of filming prior to the author’s death in January 2018. The film premiered at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival on June 10, 2018. Since then there have been a number of screenings at film festivals in various locations around the world; however, the film has not yet been made available for viewing by the general public. Arrangements are in progress for the film to be shown at Worldcon in Dublin in August, and the film will be broadcast in the U.S. on PBS American Masters in October 2019.

Due to its limited release in 2018, very few members of Dublin 2019 had the opportunity to view the film before the deadline for nominating for the 2019 Hugo Awards. Passage of this proposal would make the documentary eligible for nomination in the Best Related Work category for the 2020 Hugo Awards next year.

As noted in the motion, the authority for extending the eligibility period comes from WSFS Constitution Section 3.4.3:

In the event that a potential Hugo Award nominee receives extremely limited distribution in the year of its first publication or presentation, its eligibility may be extended for an additional year by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the intervening Business Meeting of WSFS.

This provision of the WSFS Constitution was used in 2015 to extend eligibility for the film Predestination and for the short film I Remember the Future, and to extend the eligibility of the anime Summer Wars in 2011.

21 thoughts on “Extending the
Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

  1. Fingers crossed that Dublin gets to show the film. Bonus points if they provide enough tissues for all the crying I intend to do…

  2. It’s a documentary, not a dramatic presentation. I personally would not nominated it in BDP.

  3. Another one in support of this motion. It is a stunning documentary…and yes, I’ve seen it.

  4. Saw it at the DC Independent Film Festival, with Q&A with Arwen Curry afterwards. It’s a great documentary.

  5. Passage of this proposal would make the documentary eligible for nomination in the Best Related Work category for the 2020 Hugo Awards next year.

    What beautiful words.

  6. I really hope that it does get an extended eligibility period.

    We were lucky enough to see the premiere here in Portland (after seeing a few excerpts previously during the memorial service for Ursula), and it’s an excellent film.

  7. I think eventually someone is going to need to submit a clarifying amendment modifying BDP to require that dramatic works be fictional, and explicitly stating that Best Related Work includes non-fiction audio and video works. Or alternatively forcing documentaries into BDP on the grounds that “dramatic” “fictional,” which is what people insisted was the case when I first made such a point years ago.

  8. All of which reminded me that it’s showing for a one night stand in Berkeley this evening, and I just pulled up the website and bought a ticket. (Elmwood Theater on College Ave at 7pm, in case anyone’s local and interested.)

  9. For those who are wondering why it’s had such limited distribution: the filmmaker apparently cut a deal with PBS (which will be showing the film later this year as part of their American Masters series). Normally, they wouldn’t have allowed it to be shown at all, but because she was able to complete production on her own (with some help from Kickstarter), they’ve allowed it to be show if and only if she is present at the showing!

    After it’s been broadcast here in the US (scheduled for October), options will open up. Unfortunately, that’s after Worldcon, so Dublin would have to make special arrangements if they wanted to show it. Which is definitely possible, but may or may not be feasible.

    And yes, I’ve seen it, agree it’s awesome, and very much hope this motion passes.

  10. If anyone is planning on attending the Dublin Worldcon and wants this to pass, please plan on coming to the preliminary business meeting.

    Despite the innocuous sounding name of “Preliminary” this where we set the agenda and determine debate times; and any motion can be voted off the agenda during the preliminary meeting.

    I don’t anticipate that this motion would be that controversial, but it never hurts to have as many people as possible present to support it.

    Then, also please come to the portion of the business meeting where this will be debated and voted on. That would likely be the next day’s session.

  11. The showing in Berkeley last night was packed (primarily with Berkeleyites of a Certain Age). I met up with some friends who were also there, and bumped into Rachel Holmen afterward. It was fun recognizing a lot of names in the list of Kickstarter credits! The film is wonderful and gorgeous. I hadn’t realized at the time the requirement Xtifr mentioned about only being shown if the filmmaker was present. (So I guess if we wanted a showing at Worldcon, we’d need to take up a collection to get her there.)

    I wish I knew more of how the talking heads were chosen for the feature (other than, obviously, the family members and Ursula herself!). Maybe they all had some deep personal connection with her, but in only a couple of instances was that connection shown in some way.

  12. Further to ULTRAGOTHA’s point, it’s quite possible that this resolution (since it’s not a constitutional amendment) will be finally adopted at the Preliminary Business Meeting. So if you only come to the Main Business Meeting you might miss the entire thing even if it passes.

  13. The bad news about the film as it will be shown on PBS’s American Masters is that it will be cut down to 53 minutes from the original 68, deleting all mention of The Lathe of Heaven. The cut is so that it will fit into their format, with intro and outro and other stuff.

    Curry told this to an audience at Boskone this year.

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