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The art of film critique - straight from the critic’s mouth

Courtesy, Lisa Kennedy.

David Ansen and Lisa Kennedy are two of the jurors at Aspen Film’s ShortsFest this year. They are veteran critics who will be helping to decide the winners of this year’s festival. Winners become eligible for the Academy Awards.

The art to being a good critic, Ansen said, is to first be a good writer.

“It’s a funny profession because everybody thinks, and everybody is a critic,” said Ansen.

It’s also not so much about paying attention to the quality of acting. It’s about figuring out what the film means to society and culture at large. Is this film what is needed right now.


Kennedy says that judging at a festival is a nice change of pace from her normal critiquing job. For one, she jokes, there is a lot less writing. It is also about deciding which film achieved its goals the best, rather than which is objectively the best.


“I think there’s a little more liberation in the way you think,” said Kennedy.


The duo is part of the jury looking at the short films through the weekend.

Patrick Fort grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, nurturing a love for ice hockey and deli sandwiches. After moving to Colorado in 2010 to attend the University of Colorado to study music, Patrick discovered his love for journalism. In 2013, Patrick created and hosted the award-winning radio program Colorado Stories, a news program that covered CU and the surrounding community. An avid mountain and road cyclist, Patrick also referees youth ice hockey. He loves '60s pop bands and and trying new recipes ranging from milk-braised carnitas to flourless cakes.
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