Let's Get Critical (Oof, bad pun...sorry guys!)

Hey everybody, you know what season it is?! It's Decorative Gourd Season! Also, it is whale watching season (pics from my maiden voyage seen here!). But, aside from it being decorative gourd season, and whale watching season, and apple picking season, and all the other Autumnal beauty Vermont is known for season, it is also: Film Festival Screening Season! It is that magical time of year where I enter into a chilly Northeastern bubble of weary eyes, headphones, and a critical brainspace as I watch film festival submissions, oftentimes scowling in confusion and other times just in complete amazement of the multitude of directorial voices beaming out around the globe...and my luck at being one of the first sets of eyes to see them! This year I am on the screening committee for two separate film festivals and am looking at a total of 70 films- maybe even more if I am lucky!

I once had a person scream at me in disapproval of my desire to be a critic/editor/sounding board/consultant. They thought that it was an inferior position to be in, a cop out, a person who cannot create deciding to criticize those who can...this sentiment made me feel awful for a long time, that I was one of the many haters trolling the world to find things to judge. But, that is such a stupid way of looking at it. Critics are a form of historian, they look at the long timeline of culture and help decide whether new expressions of it make sense within a legacy, or, even more exciting, are an opposition to a legacy making them an important new platform that could potentially be the beginning of some budding concept in message or style. Critics look for the beauty & meaning in someone's ideas and decide where they belong in the cultural landscape. Critics take in all they can, view work objectively, and then decide what they personally feel is something worth the valuable time of others- an increasingly important task given the ever increasing maker culture & inundation of creative endeavors.

I am proud to be a critic not only because I feel like I take the care and love into criticism that those creating the very thing I am evaluating do but because I also feel like I try to hear every voice, and have always tried to hear every voice- across many disciplines- making me the kind of person I would want judging my own work. I am proud to be a critic. And I am more than proud to be a Film Fest Screener! (Puts drops in film soaked eyes and smiles)



Donna K. lives in the Midwest and on the internet. Mostly she writes about her interest in the offline world.