Volume 2, Issue 1: One Year

Plus, a new episode of On Your Screen featuring a conversation about Monographs

Yesterday, Notes on Videographic Criticism celebrated its first birthday! It’s both exciting and scary — where has the time gone? I suppose that’s a question we have all asked ourselves in the last year.

I started this newsletter as a companion to The Video Essay Podcast, when I felt I needed a way to connect with listeners of the show beyond the monthly episodes. I also wanted to find an outlet to share my own work and thoughts on videographic criticism. And so, here we are!

If there’s one thing I’m most proud of between the podcast and newsletter, it’s the sense of community that both have helped foster. I know I can’t imagine the last year without it, and without all of you sending me links to your work, video essay news, screenings, readings, etc. Thank you!

As we turn the page and begin Volume 2 of Notes on Videographic Criticism, I figured I’d share some of the highlights from Volume 1 and the past year:

  • One of the most fun and illuminating aspects of writing the newsletter for me: 22 interviews with students from around the world about their video essays! All of the interviews are now collected on the show’s website for the first time.

  • Through both the newsletter and podcast, listeners/readers were assigned as “homework” the videographic exercises developed by Christian Keathley, Jason Mittell, and Catherine Grant for the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College. Listeners/readers made 71 videos as part of the assignment! All of the videos can be found here.

  • The first call for video essays to be added to what would become the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist was published in the newsletter on June 12, 2020. The playlist, co-curated by Cydnii Wilde Harris, Kevin B. Lee, and myself, is comprised of more than 100 audiovisual works. We have interviewed creators on the list and discussed the playlist at academic conferences and film festivals, and the playlist was named the best video essay project of 2020 by the editors of Sight & Sound. More here.

  • In July, the podcast partnered with Charlotte Crofts and the Cary Comes Home Festival to present “The Journeys of Cary Grant: An Audiovisual Celebration.” We put out a call for video essays and held a live screening and panel discussion during the festival. Watch the live event and essays here.

  • Two fantastic guest essays: “Payne’s Constraint: On Matt Payne’s ‘Who Ever Heard…?’” by Alan O’Leary and “The Ethics of Audiovisual Citation: Notes on Remixing Catherine Grant” by Ian Garwood

  • Finally, this newsletter has given me a chance to share some of my own work!

    • I’ve chronicled the making of one of my current video essay projects, “princess [GRACE] kelly,” here in the newsletter, including a cut of the essay I recently presented at BAFTSS.

    • And it was here that I launchedRio Bravo Diary,” a project in which I am watching Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo over the course of one year and chronicling the journey via Twitter. The Twitter feed has also turned into videographic adaptations, the second of which I just recently published:

Well, there it is! One year! I apologize in advance if I’ve missed anything. Thank you so much, again, to everyone who reads this newsletter and makes it possible each week! I really appreciate it, and here’s to year two!


NEW EPISODE: Monographs - On Your Screen

The second episode of On Your Screen is dedicated to Monographs, a video essay series on Asian cinema commissioned by the Asian Film Archive. Will sits down with Thong Kay Wee and Viknesh Kobinathan, who are programmers at the Asian Film Archive and the coordinators of Monographs, to discuss the series. Monographs will screen alongside Kevin B. Lee’s video essay "Explosive Paradox" online via the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art until May 2, 2021. Stream the program here. To learn more about the program, and to get in touch with Viknesh and Kay Wee about screening Monographs at your festival or venue, visit the Asian Film Archive website.


News & Notes

  • On April 19, [in]Transition published their latest issue, 8.1. Watch here.

  • Quarta Parete - Venezia presented an event with Catherine Grant and Kevin B. Lee on the video essay: “This event aims to push back against any preconceived definitions and asks a simple question: what can a video essay be?” Watch the video here.

  • The AHRC-funded conference “Worldmaking around the world: rethinking the intersections of popular media, translation and LGBTQ+ activism across cultures” which will be held at the University of Exeter, 21st-22nd May, 2021, is hosting a video essay competition on queer media. More here.

  • CFP: Make Film History and the Essay Film Festival — In association with Birkbeck’s Essay Film Festival, the Make Film History team are currently looking for 12 participants for an archive-based filmmaking workshop. Application deadline: May 20. Details here via Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies.

  • Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies is looking for contributions to their website’s next wave of research and resources: films, audiovisual essays, interviews, toolkits, articles/essays. The deadline is September 1, 2021. More here.

  • D-NORMAL/V-ESSAY has put out a call for video essays. Essays shortlisted in their competition will be exhibited in their video zine and winners will receive cash prizes. More here. (h/t Kevin B. Lee)


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