Critics Campus

Applications for Critics Campus 2022 are now closed.

Now in its ninth edition, the Melbourne International Film Festival Critics Campus is an intensive, week-long program of panels, workshops and mentoring designed to provide emerging Australian screen critics with a unique platform to nurture their talents in a live festival setting. Following two dynamic online editions, Critics Campus will return to an in-person format in 2022, taking place from Monday 8 to Friday 12 August as part of the festival’s landmark 70th edition.

Since 2014, Critics Campus has proved an invaluable incubator of emerging talent, developing new voices in Australian screen criticism. In a rapidly changing media landscape, Critics Campus is committed to the idea that informed screen criticism is vital to a healthy screen culture and industry. In developing new and underrepresented voices, Critics Campus continues in its commitment to refreshing and growing the country’s critical landscape, to redefining the ways our writers consider the culture, and to preparing participants for successful careers in screen criticism.

Eight selected participants will take part in mentoring sessions with eight leading Australian and international film critics, and will have the opportunity to join a range of panels, workshops and live-editing sessions with some of the best critics from around the world. Participants will have access to festival films, publicity materials, guests and networking opportunities at MIFF, and will be invited to attend screenings, social functions, galas and other festival events.

Read about last year’s participants and mentors.

Some of our past Critics Campus mentors have included Simran Hans (The Observer), Guy Lodge (Variety), Jessica Kiang (Variety), Eric Hynes (Museum of the Moving Image), Ela Bittencourt (Film Comment), Charlie Shackleton (Sight & Sound), K. Austin Collins (Rolling Stone), Violet Lucca (Harpers), Neil Young (Hollywood Reporter), Daniel Kasman (MUBI), David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter), Anwen Crawford (The Monthly), Craig Mathieson (The Age, Sydney Morning Herald), Jason Di Rosso (ABC), Wenlei Ma (, Jake Wilson (The Age), Philippa Hawker (The Saturday Paper, The Australian), Dan Golding (ABC), Adolfo Aranjuez (MIFF), Annabel Brady-Brown (Fireflies), Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (ABC), Fiona Williams (SBS), Kevin B. Lee, Adrian Martin and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

International guest speakers have included Nick Pinkerton, Dennis Lim, K. Austin Collins, Jessica Kiang, Ashley Clark, Eric Hynes, Ruun Nuur, Kelley Dong, Justin Chang, Farihah Zaman, Michael Koresky, Beatrice Loayza, Guy Lodge and Devika Girish.

Since participating in the lab, alumni have gone on to write for Cinema Scope, The Guardian, The Monthly, Hollywood Reporter, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, Sight & Sound, The Saturday Paper, Reverse Shot and elsewhere.

“As a participant in 2019, Critics Campus imparted invaluable knowledge about the craft of writing and the (often precarious) industry. As a mentor in 2021, I was glad to soak up the wisdom of a new cohort of talents!”

– Michael Sun, 2021 Critics Campus mentor and 2019 Critics Campus alumnus

“MIFF Critics Campus was such a joy. I really enjoyed the intensive structure and felt that I made great strides in my critical writing to cultivate my voice. The international panellists and other participants were inspirational and generous with their time.”

Ying-Di Yin, 2021 Critics Campus alumna

“For almost 10 years now, MIFF’s Critics Campus has been the primary national forum to nurture the next generation of Australia’s screen criticism culture, and the future looks very bright indeed.”

– Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, 2021 Critics Campus mentor

“This was a fantastic opportunity for me. It felt a little overwhelming, because there were so many different writers and thinkers coming from different perspectives, but it got me connected with so many people from the culture. It was a fantastic experience.”

Shaheen Ahmed, 2020 Critics Campus alumna

“I’m so grateful for the experience – it’s been pretty unique and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of it. It’s been great hearing from professional critics, especially other critics who are queer and people of colour.”

Merryana Salem, 2020 Critics Campus alumna

“The campus offers emerging voices a valuable insight into the practices of working critics. It includes a program of discussions that is the best of its kind in the country – unparalleled not just in film, but in the arts more generally.”

Jason Di Rosso, 2020 Critics Campus mentor

“Critics Campus was such an invaluable and formative experience for me. The program was such an encouraging, enriching experience that has no doubt shaped my writing for the better.”

Isabella Trimboli, 2019 Critics Campus alumna

“Critics Campus was one of the best, most wonderful experiences of my short life. It opened my mind and writing up to possibilities I never imagined, and completely re-envisioned the way I see, read and approach criticism.”

Debbie Zhou, 2018 Critics Campus alumna

“It was an enormous privilege and an even bigger pleasure to participate in such a well-run Critics Campus – I had such a great time pretending to inspire this exceptionally bright and promising group of new critics, while in fact learning way more from them than I ever could have imparted.”

Jessica Kiang, 2018 Critics Campus mentor

“I had a fantastic week and can’t believe this program even exists. Guy [Lodge] was the most wonderful mentor and completely changed how I thought about film writing. Critics Campus was one of the best things I’ve done.”

Phoebe Chen, 2017 Critics Campus alumna

“It was brilliant, inspiring, well-organised and just so, so much fun. I learned loads, and it made me think a lot about my own writing practice. Definitely the best critics lab I’ve ever taken part in, as either a mentor or mentee.”

Simran Hans, 2017 Critics Campus mentor

Presented by the University of Melbourne

Supported by the University of Melbourne