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Meet the Members of the Locarno Critics Academy

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire July 25, 2012 at 3:45PM

Hear from the talented young critics who will be covering Locarno for us next week.
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"Locarno's Piazza Grande"
"Locarno's Piazza Grande"

Starting next week, Indiewire, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the Swiss Association of Film Journalists will inject one of the oldest film festivals in Europe with some new blood, as their new Critics Academy begins at the Locarno Film Festival. Throughout the festival, the eight young critics selected to participate will contribute reports, reviews, and features to a variety of websites, including Criticwire. We've already started mapping out their coverage, and they have a lot of fantastic stuff planned. I can't wait to read their work and to share it with you.

In the meantime, though, we thought you should get to know our contributors before their bylines start popping up on the site. So I threw together the following questionnaire and solicited their responses. They're short, but I think they give you a pretty good sense of the folks you'll be hearing from in the days ahead, particularly the one about picking a film title to describe your life. We may need to recycle that one for a Criticwire Survey in the future.

Be sure to follow Criticwire for the Critics Academy's coverage of the entire Locarno Film Festival, which runs from August 1st through 11th.

The Locarno Critics Academy Questionnaire

Name: Beatrice Behn
Age: 32
City, State/Country: Berlin, Germany 
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: John Waters, good bad films, Nazi propaganda "films," comedies, visceral filmmaking (films that generate laughter, fear, disgust)
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "Holy Motors"
Your Favorite Book About Film: "Laughing Screaming: Modern Hollywood Horror & Comedy" by William Paul
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: a) it is a great opportunity to learn the craft from people that know the difference between writing a review and really critiquing a film and b) true story: a Japanese Catholic/Buddhist wise man told me to respond to a message that regards my passion and is given to me via the internet in May. So I had no choice. 
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written:  This is in German, but totally worth taking the time to Google Translate. It contains the word penis!

Name: Zeba Blay
Age: 23
City, State/Country: Jersey City, NJ, USA
Twitter Handle: @zblay
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: Nollywood
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "The African Queen" or "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo"
Your Favorite Book About Film: "The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siecle" by J. Hoberman
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: It's the sort of opportunity and experience I've been dreaming about for ages -- the chance to really immerse myself in the world of film, face to face, and not just through my computer screen. 
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I quite enjoyed writing this piece about the planned remake of "The Birds." 

Name: Adam Cook
Age: 23
City, State/Country: Vancouver, Canada
Twitter Handle: @AdamCook
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: I know something of everything, and everything of nothing. Or Scorsese.
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: I'd like to say "Playtime," but really it's "Life, and Nothing More..."
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: Not including 2011 pictures that took their time to get to Vancouver: "Bernie" by Richard Linklater.
Your Favorite Book About Film: "Moving Places" by Jonathan Rosenbaum or "Postcards From the Cinema" by Serge Daney; don't make me choose one.
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: Too obvious... For the experience, for the films, for the people, for everything.
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I can't say with certainty, and I'm usually dissatisfied and restless with most of my work, but that's not the case with this piece on "Hugo" and "The Artist," published in the MUBI Notebook early this year.

Name: Marc Menichini
Age: 28
City, State/Country: Geneva, Switzerland
Twitter Handle: @marcmenichini
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: European Auteur cinema, Screwball Comedy
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: I work both in French and English, so "Lost in Translation"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "The Deep Blue Sea" by Terence Davies
Your Favorite Book About Film: "Burton on Burton" by Mark Salisbury
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: I want to strengthen my critic's skills and learn from my peers and fellow students.
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I've done a lot of interviews; the radio one I enjoy listening to most is with Terry Gilliam. And the written one I enjoy most is my encounter with Isabelle Huppert.

Name: Michael Nordine
Age: 24
City, State/Country: Los Angeles, CA
Twitter Handle: @slowbeard
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: Terrence Malick
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "Interiors"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" or "Once Upon a Time in Anatolia"
Your Favorite Book About Film: "The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way" by Larry May
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: An internationally recognized festival that few American journalists are able to make it to each year -- the question isn't so much why I am interested but why I wouldn't be.
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I wrote a piece on "Alien: Resurrection" earlier this year that came out surprisingly well. Discussing the fourth film in an iconic series allowed me to examine the franchise as a whole, of course, so in that sense I may have been cheating a bit. Still, I expected a defense of a film like that to be either ignored or refuted; as it turned out, it received the warmest response of anything I've ever written.

Name: Claudia Piwecki
Age: 27
City, State/Country: Basel, Switzerland
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: Not quite an expert yet, but special interests lay in European indies and blockbusters (as long as they surprise me).
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "You've Got to Walk It Like You Talk It or You'll Lose That Beat"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
Your Favorite Book About Film: “Film as a Subversive Art” by Amos Vogel
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: a bunch of experienced journalists, a bunch of young journalists, professionals from around the world and all is about film -- need to explain more?!
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I haven’t been writing reviews for a while due to my work as a culture journalist. But life itself writes good stories as well, especially when putting everyday issues into the spotlight, which is the same in movies. Nevertheless, here an old piece about a great movie from 1950s Iran.   

Name: Ari Gunnar Thorsteinsson
Age: 23
City, State/Country: Stockholm, Sweden
Twitter Handle: @moviehomework
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: My Master Thesis will be about Hollywood remakes of Nordic thrillers, focusing on the film "Reykjavik-Rotterdam" and its remake "Contraband."
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "The Man Who Knew Too Little"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "Take Shelter" came out in Sweden last month, and that's by far the best thing I've seen this year. For an actual 2012 release, it's "Moonrise Kingdom."
Your Favorite Book About Film: "Truffaut/Hitchcock" by Francois Truffaut and "If Chins Could Kill: The Confessions of a B-Movie Actor" by Bruce Campbell
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: Meeting and interacting with like-minded people, writing something that people might actually read, and getting the chance to cover an international festival is a dream come true. Also, it's the country that brought us Toblerone, so that's pretty rad.
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: I was really happy with this piece I wrote about Jim McBride's great "David Holzman's Diary," but more recently I was thrilled to record a podcast with one of my teachers, Dr. Katariina Kyröla, where we discussed images of overweight bodies in the films "Phat Girlz" and "Norbit."

Name: Giovanni Vimercati (a.k.a. Celluloid Liberation Front)
Age: 27
City, State/Country: Planet Earth (allegedly)
Twitter Handle: @CLF_Project
Your Cinematic Area of Expertise: Phonetics of Silent Cinema
The Movie Title That Best Describes Your Life: "The Deserter and the Nomads"
The Best Film You've Seen So Far in 2012: "La Leggenda di Kaspar Hauser" by Davide Manuli
Your Favorite Book About Film: "Film as a Subversive Art" by Amos Vogel
I Wanted to Participate in the Locarno Critics Academy Because: Too vainglorious to answer.
The Best Article or Review You've Ever Written: Not sure it's my best article, but this definitely deals with what I consider to be the be(a)st of cinema.

This article is related to: Locarno International Film Festival, Critics Academy


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