By Eric Kohn | Indiewire August 17, 2012 at 9:00AM
Earlier this month, Indiewire joined forces with the Locarno Film Festival, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center to host a workshop in Switzerland for aspiring film critics. We don't want to sound too self-congratulatory, because the participants were as much a part of the experience as the people who organized it, but the first edition of the Critics Academy was an unequivocal success: Eight young critics from six different countries produced a large volume of work that covered the full range of films screening at Locarno over a two-week period. They emerged with a pile of fresh clips, newfound motivation and a lot of really terrific stories.
And now we're going to do it again, this time at the New York Film Festival. The application process begins today; the deadline is Tuesday, September 4.
At a time when many critics at various stages of their careers shrug when asked how best to eke out a living, we think the Critics Academy may have hit on a potential solution. Film festivals provide a lively, complex environment for critics to discover new films, work on deadline and track down new opportunities to forward their careers. So we've decided to host another workshop as soon as possible with the first edition of the NYFF Critics Academy, which will include six aspiring critics. We can't say for certain who we want until the applications come in, but we will be looking to select a diverse group with a varied set of cinematic interests.
Taking a page from the Locarno Critics Academy, the NYFF Critics Academy will take place over the course of the entire 17-day festival, although participants will begin their involvement with the start of the festival press screenings September 17. The festival runs September 28-October 14. Over the three weekends of the festival, participants will meet at the Film Society for candid discussions with noted critics (including members of the past and present NYFF selection committees) as well as other major figures of the international film community.
On other days, they will attend festival screenings and events while writing on a regular basis for Indiewire's Criticwire blog, the Film Society of Lincoln Center's website and other outlets to be determined. Critics will work closely with Indiewire, Film Society and Film Comment staff.
During this period, we also hope to preview our new version of Indiewire's Criticwire Network, a product designed to help critics and movie lovers alike in the current marketplace for film criticism.
While we hope this isn't the last opportunity we can provide for young critics, it is certain to be a special one. As the festival celebrates its 50th anniversary, much of the ensuing press coverage will focus on the seminal role NYFF has played in film culture. For many New Yorkers, NYFF is the Shangri-la of cinephilia, a concentrated celebration of the medium that has no immediate parallel. The program is selected by critics and plays a key role in critical discourse. Critics Academy participants will have their hands full, to say nothing of their screening schedules. Before the festival ends, they will have a lot to share.
The application process begins today; the deadline is Tuesday, September 4.
The six accepted critics from the New York City area will be notified by Friday, September 7. Emphasis will be placed on a diversity of voices, backgrounds and cinematic interests
Applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate study or no more than two years of experience creating critical and/or journalistic content about movies. They must showcase a demonstrable interest in film criticism and/or film journalism as well as the ability to speak and write fluently in English.
Applications must include the following:
- CV: A basic one-page resume
- Five writing samples about film. These can take the form of film reviews, scholarly papers, blog posts, college newspaper clips, podcasts or any other work that you think demonstrates your skills.
- A 500-word statement of intent. Tell us about your background and why you would make an ideal candidate for the Critics Academy. Make sure to note any particular interests (genres, national cinemas, etc.). Passion, strong writing skills and a deep knowledge of film history matter more than overall professional experience.
Please send applications to: CRITICSACADEMY@FILMLINC.COM
Questions? Please direct them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org