About the Lab

The intention of the FIMS Film Festival Critics Lab is to provide FIMS students with enhanced access to TIFF, North America’s most prominent public film festival, and to develop student exposure to film festivals as media ecosystems through the lens of film criticism and festival programming. The practice of film criticism uniquely brings together the creative and commercial concerns of a film, as well as its material bearing on cinema history and social life. As such, knowing how to speak and write about film dynamically and with confidence—which includes learning how to summarize, promote, synthesize impressions while also describing what it feels like to watch the film—has become a widely transferable media industry skill.

Part One of the Lab offers students the chance to attend screenings in groups, providing organic opportunities for participants to discuss what they’ve experienced together between screenings or on return trips to London. In addition to example reviews, Lab coordinators will provide prompts encouraging participants to reflect on their experiences attending each screening, how what they have watched relates to the world around them (i.e. in terms of its relationship to global social life; what it might indicate about where the film industry is or is going, and how; what they learned about TIFF’s particular brand of programming based on viewing multiple films in the festival; firsthand insights).

In Part Two, participants will come together with interested members of the FIMS community for a 1-hour workshop with Professor Hunter-Young on film festivals and the role of festival programmers as cultural curators.

Ultimately, the Lab’s goal is to demystify international film festival spaces while also providing participants with an opportunity to envision themselves within the festival ecosystem.