Chris' Daily Diary 8: Legs of a Table

Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara runs into some familiar faces at EIFF 2012

 Throughout the festival I’ve noticed many of the same faces over and over at screenings and in the Filmhouse café. Three of the most ubiquitous of these faces belong to EIFF’s Student Critics Jury: Genevieve Bicknell (Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh University), Jonathan Glen (Glasgow University) and Liam Nolan (Napier University).

We designed the Student Critics Jury, which we’re piloting this year, to support the development of film criticism. I once interviewed Paul Schrader, the director and screenwriter. He said that cinema was like a table with three legs. One leg is filmmaking, another is the audience, and another is criticism. Without any one of these legs the table won’t stand.

All week Genevieve, Jonathan and Liam have been seeing and discussing films together with their mentors, Nick James (Editor, Sight & Sound) and Dana Linssen (Editor-in-Chief, De Filmkrant). The five of them bonded during the festival. I saw them still together late one night, sharing drinks in the Caledonian Hilton Bar after most of our guests had gone home.

On Saturday, when the Festival awards will be announced, one of them will be that of the Student Critics Jury. EIFF will also publish texts by the students on our website. So begins a project that EIFF is committed to expanding next year.

I sat in on one discussion and heard Nick and Dana give great advice to the students about the practical realities of getting published and paid as a film critic. So sound and thorough was their counsel that I could think of nothing to add. But I’ve finally thought of a piece of advice I can give. If you start the evening with a bottle of cherry-flavoured ale from the Filmhouse bar, do not follow it up by going to a whisky tasting. Or if you must do that, definitely do not add gin to the mix.

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Chris Fujiwara is the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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