Volume 2, Issue 8: A Fresh Start

Some Changes to Notes on Videographic Criticism and My Patreon Page

Hello! It’s great to be back. Rather than explain why I went on a brief hiatus/vacation during the month of August, I’ll simply share the following:

Too real!

Anyway, I’m feeling rejuvenated and excited to return to this newsletter. I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on how to make this newsletter more useful and focused for you, dear reader, and also more sustainable for me.

If you follow me on social media, you might know that I’ve recently been writing a lot more, particularly over at Film School Rejects, where I write two weekly columns and have started to slowly review films. That, of course, takes up a good amount of my time.

I started this newsletter in part because I missed writing regularly. And now that the itch is being scratched over at FSR, I’ve had less time and energy to write longer essays here. BUT, I have no intention of letting this newsletter go anywhere. So, here’s what you can expect this newsletter to look like going forward.

1. The newsletter will be released every other Sunday. Or at least I’m going to try really, really hard to keep it that way.

2. I’m currently in the process of revamping my Patreon page to include exclusive content for patrons — or at least content that will not be made publicly available for a long time. The first reward for subscribers: every other Monday, patrons at any level will get exclusive access to videographic introductions or “video essay guides” on certain topics. The first, a videographic introduction to Céline Sciamma, is currently available and free to everyone so that you can get a sense of what I have in mind. This is just the first of what I hope will be several benefits to subscribers. Patrons will also get access to early drafts of my current videographic projects.

3. Longer essays on videographic criticism will still remain a part of this newsletter, but they will be written less frequently. Instead, true to the name of this newsletter, I will be publishing literal “notes” on videographic criticism. These might include viewing diaries, thoughts on videos, notes on/reactions to/ideas formed after reading works on videographic criticism, and more. On The Video Essay Podcast, we often talk about how videographic criticism is a way to think through the moving images one works with — remember the Middlebury manta, “make first, think later.” I’d like to use this newsletter to feel through my thoughts on videographic criticism and think of it as a kind of first draft to my other work.

4. Interviews with students will still continue!! Please send me any and all student work that you think would make a good feature in this newsletter.

5. The “News & Notes” section will continue. But, because the newsletter will be less frequent, please be sure to also follow @thevideoessay on Twitter for daily updates.

6. In the past, this newsletter has featured guest essays by Ian Garwood and Alan O’Leary. If there’s some topic related to videographic criticism that you’d like to write about — and you think this newsletter would be a good fit — feel free to get in touch! I’m more than happy to “pass the mic” whenever I can.

7. And finally, like I said, the point of this newsletter is to be a resource for the video essay community. If there’s anything you’d like to see in this newsletter, please feel free to let me know! Thank you all again for your continued support! : )

On Your Screen: @SilentMovieGIFs

On Your Screen is the (relatively) new monthly show about digital film culture. Today's episode features a conversation with Don McHoull, the creator of the popular Twitter account @SilentMovieGIFs. Don and Will discuss the history of the account, Don's curatorial approach, why the GIF is an ideal medium for the sharing of silent film, how content spreads on the internet, and how GIFs are helping to bring silent cinema to new audiences in the 21st century. Don also talks about his Reddit page and the viral compilation videos he has made about silent cinema on YouTube.

News & Notes

Please send news and notes for future newsletters to willdigravio@gmail.com


  • The September 15 deadline for the latest issue of Tecmerin. is fast approaching. More here.

  • Catherine Grant, Liz Greene, and Miklós Kiss will each give talks as part of the public lecture series affiliated with the project Videographic-essayistic Research at Film University Babelsberg. The lectures will be held from September 14 - 16. A roundtable (in German) featuring Johannes Binotto, Frank Geßner, Evelyn Kreutzer, and Kathleen Loock will be held on September 17. More here.

  • The Adelio Ferrero Award is the oldest and most renowned Italian award for young film critics, historically featuring two contests, for essays and reviews in Italian. The deadline for submissions to the video essay section is September 20. (h/t Chiara Grizzaffi)


  • The deadline for Volume 2 of Evelyn Kreutzer and Ariel Avissar’s “Once Upon a Screen” is October 1st. Don’t miss a chance to be a part of the sequel to one of 2020’s best video essay projects. Learn more here. (Any questions may be sent to arielavissar24@gmail.com / e.kreutzer@filmuniversitaet.de.)

  • Attend a free video essay webinar from Máster Universitario en Cine y Televisión, Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays, and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, on October 1st. The event features a star group of video essayists: Catherine Grant, Jaap Kooijman, Ana Mejón, Liz Greene, and Philip Józef Brubaker. Register here.

  • Friend of the show Charlie Shackleton’s new film, The Afterlight, exists as a single 35 mm print, “Further eroding every time it screens, the film is a living document of its life in circulation .” The film screens in London on October 15 & 17. More here.


  • Video essayist and scholar Alan O’Leary will hold an online book launch event and discussion for his work, The Battle of Algiers, on November 5. Register here.

More Notes

  • Many congratulations to the great Kevin B. Lee for his new position as the Locarno Film Festival Professor for the Future of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts at USI Università della Svizzera italiana. Yeah, his new title really is that cool. Watch a presentation with Kevin here.

  • If you have not yet visited Maya Cade’s Black Film Archive, you can (and must) do so here.

  • Filmmaker-scholar Su Friedrich has shared a complete Premiere Pro Tutorial online at YouTube & Vimeo. EVERYONE is free to USE THIS IN THEIR CLASSROOMS & share widely. Access here. (h/t Catherine Grant)

  • An interview on the Watching Classic Movies podcast with friend of the program Terri Francis about her new book, Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism. Listen here.

  • A fantastic talk with Kevin B. Lee on video activism hosted by Media Burn and moderated by Allison de Fren. Watch here.

  • Art & Trash is a source for video essays on underground, avant-garde, psychotronic and outsider media from Stephen Broomer and Hamilton Babylon. Subscribe to their new newsletter here.

  • Ariel Avissar’s brilliant “TV Dictionary” project has grown to thirty-six videos! Watch them all here and consider contributing your own!

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