Now in its fifth edition, the Melbourne International Film Festival Critics Campus is an intensive five-day lab that enables emerging Australian film critics to develop their skills in a live festival setting. Critics Campus will take place during the festival’s 67th edition, 2–19 August 2018.

Underlying the Campus’s ethos is a belief that in a swiftly changing media environment, informed writing on cinema is vital to a strong film culture and industry. Digital media allows for a diversity of voices yet poses challenges for writers seeking employment in the field. The Campus will address these issues and better prepare participants for a successful career in film writing. It also offers them a platform to be heard in the competitive festival environment.

“The experience was transformative. Whenever I sit down to write now, I remember a little lesson [from the Campus] and I'm grateful for each one. My mentor made me feel valued, challenged, positive and proud – especially when she offered me work on the third day. The hot-house environment made me a faster, stronger, more ruthless writer. I wouldn't have achieved such progress without the support of our mentors, the guest speakers and generous MIFF staff” – 2016 Critics Campus alumnus Aimee Knight, now the Small Screens editor at The Big Issue.

"The entire experience of the Critics Campus was invaluable. Every day was challenging, exciting and gave me a first-hand insight into the world of film writing" – 2017 Critics Campus alumna Faith Everard.

"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 mentor. 

Since participating in the lab, alumni have gone on to write for publications including The Age, Senses of Cinema, The Monthly, 4:3, The Saturday Paper, Junkee, Little White Lies, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, ABC, SBS and Cinema Scope among others.

Eight participants will take part in mentoring sessions and panels with key Australian industry and media players, as well as producing their own daily coverage for a variety of outlets. They will have access to festival films, publicity materials, guests and networking opportunities. In return, meals and accommodation will be provided, as well as the invaluable experience of producing a range of pieces daily for publication across a variety of outlets.

Three prominent international critics will visit the festival to participate in the Campus, variously assisting with mentoring, sitting on panels, and as a resource for the participants.

Applications were sought from Australian writers in the beginning stages of their career, with no more than two years experience in film writing.

Applications are now closed. Discover our 2018 Campus participants and mentors.

All Critics Campus enquiries should be directed to criticscampus(at)