By Eric Kohn | Indiewire April 17, 2014 at 2:51PM
When Indiewire first joined forces with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Switzerland's Locarno Film Festival in August to run a workshop for college-age film critics, we had no idea if our idea had legs: Cineastes around the world had grown frustrated with the seemingly dwindled marketplace for film criticism, and even though we knew differently—from an expansive point of view, there are more advanced ways of practicing film criticism than ever before—it was hard to say whether our initiative would make the case.
Two years later, we can say this with certainty: If you're at an early stage of your career, want to be a film critic and think you have the right stuff, the Critics Academy is designed for you. Encouraged by the success of recent editions, we've expanded the number of participants we're accepting for this year's workshop from eight to 10, with an additional program for Swiss participants. Film Comment has been added a new partner in the program.
- Over the course of this year's Locarno Film Festival, which runs August 6 - 16, those accepted to the workshop will take part in candid discussions with working critics, distributors, publicists and other members of the industry to provide a professional context to the discipline. Participants will also contribute to Indiewire's Criticwire blog, FilmComment.com, and the festival's Pardolive newsletter. During this time, they will collaborate with experienced editors to refine their work and ensure it has an impact. As the festival winds down, participants will be encouraged to find new ways of sustaining their careers beyond the workshop.
- One of the oldest festivals in the world, Locarno's program contains a rich grab bag of international cinema, from obscure, experimental works to large commercial achievements, retrospectives and more. Whether or not the marketplace for film criticism was ever actually in decline (and, really, was it ever easy?), the Critics Academy, part of the festival's larger educational program at its Summer Academy, provides one definite means of determining how to do the work you want to do—for the sake of both film criticism and global film culture at large.
- More than simply allowing young critics to simulate the experience of their profession, the Critics Academy gives them the fuel to start their careers and keep them afloat. Many alumni continue to publish work in our outlets and elsewhere. Others have used the resources provided by the workshop to find other job opportunities in the film community.
- Travel expenses as well as noon and evening meals will be at the participant's expense. Locarno will provide housing at the local youth hostel. Indiewire may assist with a share of travel expenses depending on the country of origin of the participant.
- Applicants must have a demonstrated interest in film criticism as well as the ability to speak and write fluently in English.
- There is no age restriction in order to apply, but we're looking for participants who are either in the middle of university studies or have recently completed them.
Interested? Applications to the Critics Academy can be submitted from April 16 through May 25, 2014 using the form downloaded from the box on the right side of this page.
Here's what applications must include:
- CV: A basic one-page resume
- A 300-word statement of intent. Tell us about your background and why you would make an ideal candidate for the Critics Academy. Also note any particular interests you have as a critic (genres, national cinemas, etc.). Passion, strong writing skills and a deep knowledge of film history matter more than overall experience, so this is your chance to really make a case for yourself
- Four writing samples about film. These can take the form of film reviews, blog posts, college newspaper clips, or any other written work that you think demonstrates your writing skills. College papers are allowed but not encouraged. (Swiss participants may submit articles in German, French or Italian.
- A photograph of yourself
Please send applications in the body of an email by May 25 to SUMMERACADEMY@PARDO.CH.
If you have any questions, please feel free to direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.