Gen Z Critics is dedicated to diversity and equal opportunity. We celebrate difference and the way it lends itself to rich, nuanced, and powerful writing. Every year, we push ourselves to publish a more diverse group of young critics than the last, so we strongly encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups in media and entertainment to join us in our effort to do so.

All applicants must be 24 years old or younger. Finalists from previous years may not participate.

Your application must include the following:

  • 1 document including the following (this document should not contain any identifying information):
    • 1 review of a film ​that has transported you out of the quarantine/COVID-19 era. Your review must have a creative title. While it is preferred that you submit a review that has not already been published elsewhere, it is not required. ​A​ ​list of films released in 2021​ ​is provided as a source of inspiration; however, due to the state of the pandemic, applicants may write about a film from any period.
    • 1 essay response to the prompt: “How can we increase interest in film criticism among young people?” This essay must also have a creative title.
  • 1 document with the following:
    • The full name you would like to be attached to your ​author’s profile, year in school, email, and the city where you’re based
    • Name of school, if currently attending
    • A short personal bio
    • Your self-identified race/ethnicity
      • While disclosing this information is optional, it would truly help Gen Z Critics in our ongoing commitment to represent a diverse group of young critics.
    • Your self-identified gender and/or pronouns
      • While disclosing this information is optional, it would truly help Gen Z Critics in our ongoing commitment to represent a diverse group of young critics.
  • A headshot (should you choose to publish reviews on our website, this will be posted, along with your personal bio, on our 2022 members page).

Each part of the application must be written in Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, on a Word document. The review and essay are each limited to two pages (single-spaced); your application, in its entirety, should be formatted like this sample. You can submit your application by emailing it to [email protected].

Upon submitting your application, you will immediately become a member of Gen Z Critics.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 17, 2021, 11:59 PM EST. Five finalists will be determined by professional film critics from organizations such as the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics. All applicants will be contacted with the results via email by mid-March.

Contest winners will be selected to participate in an online round table discussion moderated by a professional film critic. Their work will be published on the Gen Z Critics website, and they will also receive an all-access pass to the National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

Still not sure if you want to apply? Watch this video and reconsider.

Suggested films

The Dig
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
Malcolm & Marie
Judas and the Black Messiah
To All The Boys: Always And Forever
I Care a Lot
The Father
Tom & Jerry
Coming 2 America
Raya and the Last Dragon
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Godzilla vs. Kong
Concrete Cowboy
Mortal Kombat
In The Earth
Wrath of Man
Spiral: From the Book of Saw
The Woman in the Window
Army Of The Dead
A Quiet Place Part II
The Sparks Brothers
In the Heights
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Bad Education
The Boss Baby: Family Business
The Forever Purge
Black Widow
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Space Jam: A New Legacy
Last Night in Soho
The Green Knight
Jungle Cruise
The Suicide Squad
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The Card Counter
Summer of Love
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Nightmare Alley
The Many Saints of Newark
The French Dispatch
Halloween Kills
The Last Duel