The Video Essay Podcast is an interview show dedicated to discussion of the theory and practice of videographic criticism. Since the show began in August 2019, most episodes have featured interviews with leading practitioners of the form, including critics, scholars, and filmmakers. The podcast is accompanied by a weekly newsletter, Notes on Videographic Criticism, which is free and has been published on SubStack since April 2020. The newsletter features original written essays, links to video essay news and notes, short interviews with creators, and more. In March 2021, the podcast launched On Your Screen, a show highlighting screenings, film festivals, and other works that you can watch ... on your screen.
The term "video essay" is a loosely-defined one. Video essayists come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and artistic traditions. This podcast aims to push back against any preconceived definitions of the video essay and ask a simple question: what can a video essay be? This question has been debated among practitioners of the form for years, and this podcast aims to document those conversations as best as one can. For more information on videographic criticism, or what is sometimes referred to as audiovisual criticism, check out this list made by Professor Ian Garwood of the University of Glasgow.
Named the favorite new Film & Moving Image Studies Podcast in 2019 by Film Studies for Free (edited by Catherine Grant)
April - July: The show regularly facilitates the making of videographic criticism by assigning "homework" to viewers. Listeners were assigned the videographic exercises developed for the Scholarship in Sound & Image Workshop at Middlebury College. Listeners made a combined 60+ videos, all of which are collected here.
June - October: After the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Kevin B. Lee, Cydnii Wilde Harris, and Will DiGravio began curating the Black Lives Matter Video Essay Playlist, a collection of more than 100 audiovisual works that reappropriate existing media to critically examine race, systemic racism, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and other pertinent topics. Selections from the playlist have screened at festivals and academic conferences. The podcast website hosts the playlist, which can be accessed here. The playlist was named the best video essay project of 2020 by the editors of Sight & Sound.
November: The podcast partnered with the Cary Comes Homes Festival to present, "The Journeys of Cary Grant: An Audiovisual Celebration." Listeners and the general public were invited to create and submit video essays to be screened at the festival and published online. The projected culminated in a live screening and discussion with seven of the creators.