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Meet the Young Critics

Andrew Lapin 

Andrew is a film critic and writer living in Washington, D.C. His criticism has been published in NPRThe AtlanticThe DissolveTablet and other outlets. He is particularly fond of documentaries, the Coen Brothers and Scrabble.

Cinephiliac Moment

From Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi; Hayao Miyazaki, 2001):

A train stops. Ghosts sit in the car, with their ghost luggage, naturally. The girl climbs on. It pulls away. Water is everywhere. A house rests undisturbed on an island in the distance. A plaintive piano melody plays in the background. Three minutes later, it’s over – the dawn of a new consciousness for one kid in Michigan who can’t stop rewinding his VHS player. Who knows why? I couldn’t tell you what the train means. But something about the way it chugged through Miyazaki’s dreamland made me realize how glad I was to be onboard. 

Top three anticipated FFG Competition Films

  • Still the Water
  • White God
  • Jauja

Fran Hoepfner 

“I am a 23 year old writer and editor based out of Chicago. I grew up on the reviews of Roger Ebert and have always loved the deep love of film Chicago has.”

Cinephiliac Moment

The scene where Dwayne (Paul Dano) discovers he is colorblind in Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, 2006) has stayed with me for years. He pounds and kicks on the doors of the family van, every fiber of his being bursting to come out. When the van is finally pulled over, he sprints into the desert, screaming and sobbing and spitting into the sand. It is shot with unfaltering honesty. It’s such a pure, uncomfortable moment of rage and sadness. Of something that has built up for so long and led to nothing.

Top three anticipated FFG Competition Films

  • Leviathan
  • Turist
  • Jauja

Chris Frieswijk 

“I’m Chris Frieswijk, a 26-year-old film lover from the Netherlands. I juggle my time between watching, writing about, and making films, at least when I’m not making music or am out travelling that is. Come to think of it, I spend most of my time trying to combine all these things I love so much, which I think I’ll be doing at FFG! At least most of them… Should be great!”

Cinephiliac Moment

There is a scene in Alex van Warmerdam’s De Noorderlingen (1992) where young Thomas is being chased through the woods on his bicycle by Fat Willy on a moped. Who Fat Willy is remains a mystery, but he radiates evil, though for some reason he doesn’t seem dangerous at all. At this scene’s climax I felt overwhelmed by this fitting ambiguity; Fat Willy just rides into a pond and that’s it. This event resonates perfectly with the artificiality of the suburban housing development setting and its inhabitants. Everything seems so normal, but completely absurd at the same time… all I could do was laugh and agree.

Top three anticipated FFG Competition Films

  • Reality
  • Leviathan
  • Jauja

Zack Miller

Zack Miller is a software developer moonlighting as a cinephile, although you’d never know that those roles weren’t reversed. He works, writes, and drinks good beer in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has a deep love of sight gags and his second language is subtitles.

Cinephiliac Moment

Are any contemporary filmmakers more suited to the “cinephiliac moment” notion than the Coen brothers? Most any cinephile could pluck from their filmography at least one scene of particular personal resonance. For me, it’s the finale of Blood Simple (1984). It’s my most vivid memory of noticing multiple aspects at play in a film: the purposeful thud of Walsh’s boots as he lumbers forward, an unstoppable yellow Jason Voorhees; beams of illumination exploding through the wall like bullets of light; the control of tone as horror snaps into trademark black comedy; and the inspired closing soundtrack choice of The Four Tops.

Top three anticipated FFG Competition Films

  • Black Coal, Thin Ice
  • Reality
  • Une Nouvelle Amie

Vanity Celis 

“I’m a Belgian graduate in Theatre and Film Studies who dabbles in journalism and film criticism. I’ve probably seen more films than is considered healthy for any human being and love both the old and the new, the classical and the outré. I’m into visionary cinema that dares to cross the boundary between ‘high art’ and cult and kitsch.”

Cinephiliac Moment

I never tire of seeing first love bloom on screen. In Jerzy Skolimowski’s Deep End (1970), a fifteen-year-old boy runs through all the stages of adolescent infatuation: wavering flirtation, idealization, obsession. He makes a move on his dream girl in a film theater. She is there with her fiancé, ushered in for the screening of a blue movie. The boy sneaks up behind them. She notices his emotional turmoil and dangles a sheer-sleeved arm in front of him. He takes the bait. She’s amused by his bravado. They’re children playing games.

Top three anticipated FFG Competition Films

  • Jauja
  • Black Coal, Thin Ice
  • Turist