Eight finalists have been selected to take part in the third annual New York Film Festival Critics Academy. The program, an initiative of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Indiewire and its parent company SnagFilms, in partnership with Film Comment magazine is a workshop for aspiring film critics that takes place during NYFF. Critics Academy is designed to “nurture promising film critics and journalists as they attend and cover screenings and events at this year’s festival.”

During the 52nd New York Film Festival, taking place September 26 – October 13, this year's selected Critics Academy members will take part in a series of workshops and mentor sessions with noted critics, working journalists, filmmakers, and members of the film industry, including writers and editors from Film Comment magazine, with their coverage to be published on Indiewire’s Criticwire blog and FilmComment.com.

This year's Critics Academy participants are: Jackson Marshall Arn, Michael Blum, Freja Dam, Eric Fuchs, Bruno C Guarana, Tanner Jordan Tafelski, Tim Wainwright, and Amanda Yam.

“The Critics Academy is designed to demystify the practice of film criticism as it pertains to contemporary film culture and position it relation to the marketplace,” said Indiewire chief critic and senior editor Eric Kohn to FilmLinc Daily. “It gives promising newcomers the opportunity to discuss this practice in candid roundtable discussions and then produce their own work in a deadline-driven festival environment. In essence, they are already film critics at the start of the workshop; by its end, they're success stories.”

Kohn noted that Critics Academy is a conduit for aspiring critics to apply their craft outside of a purely academic setting. Since its launch in 2012, Critics Academy alum have springboarded into various paths in the critical space. “The workshop is an open-ended proposition: by virtue of participating, you begin the next stage of your career,” noted Kohn. “We weren't sure how this approach would pan out three years ago when the initiative kicked off at the Locarno Film Festival and continued at NYFF, but the career paths forged by many of our alumni now speak for themselves. In a crowded industry, there are more movies than ever before; ergo, the role of the critic has never been more valuable. This workshop addresses that need head-on.”

“I studied journalism in school so I knew it academically,” said Greg Cwik, an alum of last year's NYFF Critics Academy. “But this program allowed me to apply myself in a real-world [scenario] and you just can't get that in an academic setting.”

Cwik, who will attend this year's NYFF as a journalist, advised the new group to take as much of an active part in the extensive screenings, events, and other programs offered at the festival. Being proactive is key. “Attending the social events are also key. I met people there that I am still working with now,” said Cwik. 

The Critics Academy is one of two educational initiatives set to take place during NYFF, the other being the Artists Academy for young filmmakers. Just as that program guides filmmakers who show tremendous promise, the Critics Academy aims to provide context and pointers for critics who are already showing great potential in their writing, sensibilities, and professional motivation. 

[General Public tickets are on sale now. For more information about becoming a Film Society Member, visit Filmlinc.com/membership. Additional NYFF ticket information is available at Filmlinc.com/NYFF.]