Do you live in the New York City area? Are you trying to get a foot in the door of the world of film criticism? Do you want to learn what it's like to cover a major film festival alongside the pros? Do you like rhetorical questions? If you answered yes to at least three out of those four questions, then you need to apply for Indiewire and the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Critics Academy at the upcoming New York Film Festival. But don't take my word for it; here are some testimonials from the members of our first Critics Academy, which recently concluded at the Locarno Film Festival:
"Film and film criticism can be a good hobby or a true calling. If yours is the latter, you need to get out there, connect to others just as crazy as you are, and share your passion to become a better critic and transcend your personal knowledge and ideas. Film criticism is a collective activity. It ignites sparks of film passion in other people, regardless of whether they like your ideas or hate them. And you also need ignition, recognition, new ideas, skills, and a network in order to be heard or read. There is no better place to get all this and meet beautiful people that share your passion."
"My time with the Critics Academy only lasted two weeks, but the things I learned, the people I met, and the confidence it gave me as a writer has stayed with me. As a film lover, it was an adventure. As a film critic, it was a revelation. I was inspired daily by my fellow Academy members, who all motivated and encouraged me to do more than my best. Also, the gelato was life-changing."
"I have always thought that film criticism is a way to reclaim a meaningful connection with the world cinema originates from -- which is cruel, unjust and often meaningless, just like life. The Critics Academy enabled me to do so but on a collective basis, so that instead of uploading my thoughts onto a digital screen I shared them with fellow film lovers, cannibals and philosophers. And from them I learned much more than what a movie could ever teach me."
"The Critics Academy is support, encouragement, inspiration. The Critics Academy is learning by experiencing and analyzing cinema history, and learning by doing. The Critics Academy helps you find your own unique cinema voice, and the Critics Academy champions your voice ringing out. I love the Critics Academy."
"Being in a place where one can approach unreleased films is one part. Sharing this experience with others that are in the same boat as you, the other. To gather with other people passionate for films and guided by professionals not only opened high-leveled discussions among us but also helped me strengthen my own opinion and become more confident in expressing it. The Critics Academy is the best way to attend a festival for young critics who haven’t found their path in the profession yet."
"Sitting by yourself in a theater and sitting by yourself at a computer could be seen as being isolating and lonely activities. Beyond being a great opportunity to cover a festival and getting the chance to have your writing published on widely read websites, the Critics Academy can offer you the experience of interacting with others as passionate about film as you, from other critics to people working in the industry. It's an thrilling and invigorating experience."
We had a great time working with our first batch of eight aspiring critics, and we're excited to work with six more at the New York Film Festival, where our participants will engage in candid discussions with noted journalists as well as other major figures from the international film community. Academy members will also attend press screenings and other events, and write for Criticwire, the Film Society's website, and other outlets. If that sounds like your cup of tea, here's everything you need to know to apply:
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. The deadline to apply is next Tuesday, September 4th. Good luck!
Read more of "A New Opportunity For College-Age Film Critics."