Applications are now open for students and emerging professionals to participate in this new immersive workshop that will be held during the 42nd Hawai‘i International Film Festival on Oahu from November 3-13, 2022.
HIFF36 / Roger Ebert Foundation's Young Writers Cohort, 2016

Ten students will participate in an immersive program that will give them industry passes for HIFF42. They will receive free access to film screenings, panels and receptions. In addition, these ten students will participate in 4 mentoring sessions by working critics in the online film journalism community in unique silos: Writing, Podcasting, Video Essays and Vlogging. Here, they will learn the tricks of the trade in their respective fields. Aside from the “nuts and bolts” of their trade, these mentors will also provide insight in logistics, building their brand, sponsorship opportunities and growing their audiences.

The mission of the HIFF ONLINE CREATIVES & CRITICS IMMERSIVE program is to encourage film criticism in Hawai‘i by using the influencer branding strategies to spark career opportunities in the State and not be hampered by oceans, state borders and distance, because geography is no longer a barrier. 



“Print is dead,” or so says this old adage (uttered by Egon Spengler in GHOSTBUSTERS) that is definitely prescient when it comes to the current state of print media and journalism. As newsrooms are dwindling, so is cultural criticism where the likes of Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert are a bygone era. In a world of Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd and social media influencers, film criticism has become truly egalitarian. One does not have to be in the newsroom bullpen but can now produce their own brand as a film critic–from the internet movie geek culture that was spawned in the late ’90s like Aintitcoolnews and IndieWIRE, to video essays and supercuts from Fandor and Criterion, to the rise of millennial torchbearers in the form of vloggers like Chris Stuckmann, RedletterMedia, Screen Junkies, and Slash Film, and the podcast boom with thousands of shows being produced about film and pop culture and listened on Spotify and any platform where you get podcasts. 

Internet film criticism has joined the ranks of mainstream cultural journalism, just and influential and important to the business of Hollywood and global cinema. Online Critics societies are gaining prominence and a seat at the table of fall/winter awards seasons; popular film critics who started in their bedrooms, and still do, are important components to major press junkets. With the onslaught of streaming and over 500 series being produced annually, we now live in a world of TV recaps, STRANGER THINGS reactions, and Zoom interviews with Hollywood’s elite. 

There are no barriers anymore. Nor is geography a factor anymore. The most popular online film critics are not based in NYC or Los Angeles, and rack up hundreds of thousands of views and millions of followers, generating income that no longer makes these endeavors hobbies. In fact, with a good number making it their full-time job. Therefore, HIFF is excited to launch the HIFF ONLINE CREATIVES & CRITICS IMMERSIVE powered by DBEDT and Creative Lab Hawaii.

The Goonies Are Back!! | Reunited Apart with Josh Gad


Apply to Participate

DEADLINE TO APPLY: Wednesday, October 5, 2022
NOTIFICATION: by October 15, 2022


  • Candidates should be 18+ 

  • Either currently enrolled in college/university, OR you consider yourself early career

  • Can demonstrate a strong interest/background in film/internet media

  • Must be in Hawai'i and able to participate in-person activities during November 3-13, 2022

  • Willing to participate in quarterly meetings with cohort throughout 2023 (via Zoom)

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