Thursday, 10 June 2010

Film Critics of Tomorrow, Yesteryear and Today: Two Competitions

(If you'd like to help with Boone's next venture, click here).

Film Studies For Free begins its rather atypical post with the following questions: does FSFF have any film fanatical/cinephile, teenage readers? Or, do any of its venerable, film-academic readers have any film fanatical/cinephile, teenage relatives? If so (and if they are UK based), please read/get them to read about the "Film Critic of Tomorrow" competition - all details given at the foot of this post. Do please fondly remember this potentially life-changing blog-post if any of you or yours win...

Secondly, FSFF would like to help whip up some timely interest in the work one of the more talented, cinema-inspired, video essayists working today, New-York based Steven Boone, in order to help him make some more films. So, it proudly presents its first ever competition (and there's no age restriction, unlike the Film Critic of Tomorrow comp, as set out at the foot of this post)!

Here are the rules: write a piece of film criticism, in 200-400 words, about Boone's video "Notes for a David Lynch adaptation of [Michael Jackon's autobiography] Moonwalk" embedded above. Submit your entry by email to this address by next Thursday, July 1st (deadline extended), 17.00 hours GMT.

The most interesting entries received (and hopefully there will be some...) will be published in a future FSFF post. And the author of the most insightful and well-crafted will be mailed the more pristine copy (of the two in FSFF's possession) of Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb's important and fascinating 2009 collection of essays Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1. . Let the competition commence! (And thank you for your kind indulgence).

Finally, today's FSFF post exists to exhort you, were such exhortation really necessary, to read David Bordwell's latest brilliant blogpost: "Glancing backward, mostly at critics".

You may not believe it, but magical things will happen if you do. Indeed, it was while she was doing just that, that FSFF's author noticed for the first time an item in Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's wonderful list of freely accessible research items (in the upper left hand column of the site): a link to a PDF file of the introductory chapter to Bordwell's magnificent opus The Way Hollywood Sees It: Story and Style in Modern Movies [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006]). If you haven't read this before, you must. And now you easily can!

    Here’s looking at you kids......

    Virgin Media has joined forces with broadcaster, James King [a Film and Television Studies graduate from the University of Warwick's brilliant degree programme], in searching the country for aspiring young film critics, to join the judging panel for the third annual Virgin Media Shorts competition.

    As one of the industry’s finest film critics, James has already secured his place on the Virgin Media Shorts judging panel and is now looking for one lucky teenager to join him, alongside follow judges:
    -          Award-winning British film actress, Thandie Newton
    -          Film director, Duncan Jones, best known for his directorial debut Moon
    -          Film director, Mike Newell, director of Four Weddings and a Funeral
    -          Executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, Cindy Rose
    -          Senior production executive at the UK Film Council, Chris Collins

    As part of the judging panel, the lucky teen will work with the expert panel to select the Grand Prize Winner from the short-listed films entered into this year’s competition. The winner will also get the Hollywood treatment, receiving an all expenses paid trip to London to attend the red carpet awards ceremony and mingle with the star-studded judging panel. Following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, 14-year old Jordan Campbell from Glasgow, who described the experience as feeling as popular as Susan Boyle!

    Speaking about the competition, James King said: “Virgin Media Shorts already offers a fantastic opportunity for British film-making talent – shining a light on new and established individuals. However, what I am most looking forward to is discovering the talent of tomorrow. The search for a young film critic to join me on the Virgin Media Shorts judging panel will open the door to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one aspiring youngster. And, I may even pick up some tips from them too!”

    Entry is open to film fanatics aged between 13-19 years old and who think they’ve got what it takes to impress James. To enter, young film fans should visit and fill out the simple entry form. Deadline for entries is 5pm on Wednesday 30th June when all entries will be reviewed and one teenager crowned the overall winner.

    For more information about Virgin Media Shorts and to view some of this year’s entries, visit

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