We invite you to get to know our members in this monthly series about their work and careers. In our first “Meet a Critic”, we are pleased to introduce you to Emily Gagne, Managing Editor, Co-Founder and Critic at Cinefilles.
How long have you been writing about film?
Officially? I guess you could say it’s been about 10 years now? Which is crazy to think about! I could have an anniversary party about now. Romy and Michele would be invited.
How did you start writing about film?
I started writing about film because I was tasked with reviewing Grindhouse (the full version with both movies) for my high school paper. I can’t tell you how much more I enjoyed writing that piece than working my normal beat: school events and features.
What was the first film you ever reviewed/wrote about?
So technically, I wrote my first review when I wrote about my first viewing of Star Wars for a class assignment. I don’t remember what went into writing this, or if it was actually part of my homework, but I would agree with most of my assessments! Princess Leia? Definitely brave!
When did you start Cinefilles, and what prompted you to start it?
I started Cinefilles with my founding partner, Michelle Medford, in 2010, when we were both in the second-last year of the journalism undergraduate program at Ryerson. We started it as less of a political thing and more of a “We want somewhere to write!” thing, with both of us being passionate about film and writing both thoughtful and fun pieces about it. But as we developed the brand, it became about supporting other women with similar passions, especially as we realized that there can be a lack of recognition for women in both the filmmaking and film criticism fields. The site has always been, and will continue to be, run entirely by female-identifying individuals. In the past two years, it has come to also be committed to covering films made by females and members of other underrepresented groups.
What has been the biggest challenge about being an online publisher?
Online publishing is really a labour of unrequited love in that a lot of time even though you’re pouring your heart into it, you might not get the love back, whether that’s in terms of readers, clicks or revenue. It’s especially tough when you’ve got writers who are working hard for you and whom you want to be able to give back to. And we’ve had some really, really wonderful writers contribute to our site and our mission.
As we developed the brand, it became about supporting other women with similar passions, especially as we realized that there can be a lack of recognition for women in both the filmmaking and film criticism fields
What are your goals for the site? How would you like to expand Cinefilles in the future?
At this time, Cinefilles is taking a much-needed break from publishing as we explore options for the future. We’ve made a lot of progress in these past six years, but sometimes even generally successful machines need a reset every once and a while. As we continue to explore what that means for us, I often think of a future where Cinefilles not only supports women in film by writing about them and their work, but also helps them get their films made and seen by wider audiences. True representation, in my opinion, is a combination of talk and action.
In your opinion, what is the best movie ever made?
Of course you throw in the toughest question to ask a movie lover!
I’m tempted to say Beetlejuice, my second favourite movie (first favourite movie was E.T.). My reasoning? It’s entirely rewatchable, not to mention a perfect combination of my favourite genres (horror and comedy) and a true original on a visual and script level. Come to think of it, I guess that’s what a perfect movie is to me: so surprising and enticing in both plot and vision that both the dialogue and imagery stay with you and grow with you. I have seen that movie I don’t know how many times since I was a toddler and I still get chills up and down my spine during the exorcism scene, where the Maitlands fall to pieces in front of each other as the room glows. And don’t even get me started on Lydia Deetz.
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