August 31, 2015 § 1 Comment
In early August, I was lucky enough to take part in Critics Campus, a recently minted initiative of Melbourne International Film Festival aimed at fostering the development of emerging film critics. Being in the presence of a host of formidably talented people (my fellow participants and our brilliant mentors very much included), I found myself continually drowning in golden info, insights and ideas pertaining to cinema, criticism and culture at large.But of all the revelatory things that I learned/relearned/unlearned during that week, ‘the video essay’ for some reason stuck, and continues to stick.
This exciting mix of criticism and film-making was broken down and expounded upon by Kevin B. Lee, a video essay pioneer and one of our mentors. And while I was already familiar – if not intimately so – with this somewhat fledgling form, the very idea of critiquing, appreciating and engaging with a film by playing with the fabric of the film itself (that is to say the images and sound, not the physical medium) quietly blew my mind.
Perhaps my attraction to the form is borne of the realisation that I am not at all – and do not particularly care to be – a prodigious writer, in addition to my fondness for tinkering around on Adobe Premiere Pro. Having now tried my hand at less than a handful of short video essays, I can say with near certainty that I will not fully forsake the keyboard and pen just yet. Videos essays are their own kind of painstaking.