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Atomic Blonde

Theron's commanding performance is remarkable because she gives to her character, through her take-no-bull body language and calculating stare, an intelligence that proves she's the…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Sundance's Roger Ebert Scholarship Program

In June, I wrote about the Sundance Institute's plans to establish a scholarship program in Roger's name to send aspiring critics to the Sundance Film Festival. More details about that program have been released:

Applicants must have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate study or no more than two years of experience creating critical and/or journalistic content about movies. They must showcase a demonstrable interest in film criticism and/or film journalism as well as the ability to speak and write fluently in English. Emphasis will be placed on a diversity of voices, backgrounds and cinematic interests.

Applications must include:

  • A one-page resume
  • Three writing samples about film, including film reviews, blog posts, college newspaper clips, podcasts or any other work that demonstrates the applicant’s skills. Academic papers are allowed but not encouraged.
  • A 300-word statement of intent, explaining the applicant’s background and why they would make an ideal candidate for the Fellowship. Applicants should note any particular interests (genres, national cinemas, etc.). Passion, strong writing skills and a deep knowledge of film history matter more than overall professional experience.

Applications must be sent to FilmCriticFellowship@gmail.com by October 31.


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The Sundance Institute is the first organization that has been allowed to attach the Ebert name to a scholarship for film critics. They are doing this in conjunction with IndieWire. Similarly, Film Independent was allowed to use the Ebert name for grants to independent filmmakers. 

In the future, we will be establishing Ebert Awards, but will also permit some film festivals and other organizations to give scholarships in honor of Roger. I'll review each organization on an individual basis. I think that Roger would have been pleased to know that this process of mentoring up and coming writers and filmmakers is continuing. I salute Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute on its upcoming program for Ebert film critic scholars. 

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