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.