In 2014 the Melbourne International Film Festival launched its inaugural Critics Campus, an intensive five-day lab that invited eight emerging Australian film critics to develop their skills in a live festival setting.
Underlying the campus’ ethos is a belief that in a swiftly changing media environment, informed writing and criticism on cinema is vital to a strong film culture and industry. Digital media allows for a diversity of voices yet poses challenges for writers seeking employment in the field. The campus aims to address these issues and better prepare participants for a successful career in film writing. It also offers them a platform to be heard in the competitive festival environment.
Participants took part in mentoring sessions and panels with key Australian industry and media players, as well as producing their own daily coverage for MIFF's website and The Age Online. They were given access to festival films, publicity materials, guests and networking opportunities. In return, meals and accommodation were provided, as well as the invaluable experience of producing a range of pieces daily for publication across a variety of outlets.
Additionally several prominent Australian and international critics were invited to visit the festival to participate in the campus, variously assisting with mentoring, sitting on panels, and as a resource for the participants.
The next edition of MIFF Critics campus will take place during the festival's 64th edition and will be open for applications in 2015. Please sign up to Widescreen for further announcements.