The Edinburgh International Film Festival(EIFF) has opened its programme to provide opportunities for the next generation of film writers. The Young Critics programme will offer a four day residency in the heart of the EIFF giving the young writers an insight into the life of a professional critic.

The writers will have access to exclusive film screenings, workshops and networking events at this year’s EIFF; as well as being able to take full advantage of one-on-one mentoring with professional critics which have in the past included the likes of Ella Kemp (NME, The Quietus) and Douglas Greenwood (I-D, Vice) – Greenwood began by writing more than a hundred articles for The Edinburgh Reporter while he was still a student. You can read his work here.

Applications are now open and applicants are required to submit a 300-word review of any recent or classic film, this can be written or alternatively take the form of a 3-minute podcast or video review. Applicants with additional support needs or those who are experiencing social-economic factors that impact their ability to complete this process can contact EIFF by email for further support.

Previous participants have credited the programme as offering not just first-class industry insights, but providing them with the confidence and affirmation in their own voice to continue writing. 

Film Fest on the Forth opening, Port Edgar, Queensferry, 31st July 2021 © 2021 J.L. Preece Hannah Knox and Liam Rotheram

Xuanlin Tham (They/Them), Young Critics Programme 2021 participant said: “I’ve always loved films and loved writing about them, and was hungry for any opportunities to do more: but approaching this big wide world all on my own had always felt like quite the challenge, especially without any sort of formal ‘starting point’ or ‘way in’. When I saw that applications were open for the Young Critics program, I was thrilled: the program really appealed to me because it gave me the structure I’d been missing, a kind of demystification of how I could go about finding my footing in a realm that often feels quite opaque to newcomers, and quite intimidating!”

“I learned so much from the programme, but the number one, most precious thing to me that I gained was confidence. Having established film critics read my work, affirm my writing voice, and tell me that they would love it if I pitched to them, was such an important boost for me: it was like the gate had opened, and now I just had to run through it and knock on everyone’s door.”

Read Xuanlin Tham’s review of Titane at Massive Cinema

Beatrice Copland (She/Her) Young Critics Programme 2021 participant said: “It provides a really good example of what working in film journalism is like. The daily deadlines provide enough pressure to demonstrate that example but it’s not an off-putting amount of pressure. The daily tasks also train you for various ways of writing articles, preparing you with blanket coverage of everything you could be asked to write, as well as preparing you to do so in any medium. Whether it be audio, visual, or written, everything is covered.”

“It also surrounds you with a group of like-minded individuals. Everybody involved in this course from the young critics to the mentors to the organisers are there because they want to be. They are every bit as excited about films and writing about them as you are which is such a nice feeling. This course doesn’t just provide you with knowledge, it provides you with acquaintances and, if you’re really lucky, with brand new friends. Keeping in touch with the other people on this course will provide a stellar support network for both work and life.”

Read Beatrice Copland’s review of Mad God for The Skinny

Please note that this programme will be run as an in-person event. Participants will stay in Edinburgh for the duration of the course. All travel and accommodation will be paid for and bursaries will be made available to those experiencing financial hardship. 

Submissions close: 30 June 2022, 9:00 am.

Edinburgh International Film Festival is committed to tackling the lack of diversity in film criticism. We welcome applications from underrepresented groups. In particular:

Low-income or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds

Refugee and/or migrant backgrounds

Those who are black, Asian, mixed heritage or ethnic minority

Those who are disabled or D/deaf

A series of online surgeries, hosted by Andrew Campbell (Youth Engagement and Events Manager) and Rafa Sales Ross (Community Engagement and Learning Manager) will be open for those interested in applying but keen to get some advice on how to make their application the best it can be. The following slots are currently available. These will be awarded on a first-come first-get basis:

9th June: 16:00 – 16:20 

9th June: 16:25 – 16: 45 

9th June: 16:50 – 17:10

9th June: 17:15 – 17: 35

16th June: 10:00 – 10:20 

16th June: 10:25 – 10:45 

16th June: 10:50 – 11:10 

16th June: 11:15 – 11:35 

To book email youngcritics@edfilmfest.org.uk with the subject line: Surgery.

For more information and to download the application: edfilmfest.org.uk/young-critics-2022

* Send your completed form to youngcritics@edfilmfest.org.uk with the subject line “YC Application” by 30 June, 9:00 am.