Education Program

2016 Ebert Young Writers Program for the Arts

The EBERT YOUNG WRITERS PROGRAM FOR THE ARTS is currently on hiatus and will return in 2018! Below is the information for the 2016 program.

For the 36th annual Hawaii International Film Festival presented by Halekulani (or HIFF 2016), we kick off the second annual EBERT YOUNG WRITERS PROGRAM FOR THE ARTS in Hawaii. In a swiftly changing media environment, informed writing and criticism on cinema is vital to a strong film culture and industry. This program’s mandate is to broaden and strengthen film criticism culture in Hawaii and teach young writers classical, as well as current methods and tasks in critical thinking and writing by reviewing films and interviewing filmmakers in a live film festival setting.

In an age of Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes, TV episode recaps and unboxing videos on YouTube, critical reporting has morphed in a culture where everyone has an opinion. Digital media allows for a diversity of voices yet poses challenges for writers seeking employment in the field. HIFF’s will address these issues and better prepare participants for a successful career in writing in digital and print media.

The mentor for the 2016 workshop is film critic, arts writer and actress, Sheila O’Malley.

Sheila O’Malley got an MFA in acting from the Actors Studio MFA program. She is a regular film critic for, and her work has also appeared in Film Comment, The Dissolve, Masters of Cinema, Movie Mezzanine, Flavorwire, Capital New York, Fandor, Press Play, and Bright Wall/Dark Room.  She has contributed video and print essays for various releases from The Criterion Collection. She wrote the narration (read by Angelina Jolie) for the 2016 Governor Awards tribute to legendary actress Gena Rowlands, who was receiving a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. A short film she wrote, “July and Half of August,” premiered at the 2016 Albuquerque Film and Music Experience. O’Malley writes about actors, movies, and Elvis Presley at her personal site, The Sheila Variations.

The 2016 Ebert Foundation Young Writers for the Arts Participants

HIFF 2016 Film Reviews:

“Student short films were not short on entertainment” by Coe Snyder

“Makoto Shinkai’s YOUR NAME is the dream you never want to wake up from” by Ken Reyes

“Hollywood’s Hawaiian Dream” by Veerle van Wijk

“TIES THAT BIND: Luckily, there are more fish-films in the sea” by Veerle van Wijk

“The island cries: POISONING PARADISE + ISLAND EARTH” by Veerle van Wijk

“Rape, corruption and the real cake of Vanuatu” by Veerle van Wijk

“MOONLIGHT casts a dark shadow” by Veerle van Wijk

“Bobbing heads prove the blues work” by Laura Garber

“THINGS TO COME: An unassuming yet provocative take on freedom and transition” by Ken Reyes

“Behind every successful man, there is a great woman: THE PATRIARCH” by Nicole Lockwood

“FINDING KUKAN: Shadows of a lost story and a lost filmmaker” by Veerle van Wijk

“TONI ERDMANN Highlights Anxiety and Humor in This Years Darkest Comedy” by Laura Garber

“95 AND 6 TO GO: To walk in the footsteps of my grandfather” by Josh Lee

“You can’t choose your family, but you can choose to be happy: DESPERATE SUNFLOWERS” by Nicole Lockwood

“PATERSON: Stubbornly ready to burst in to flame” by Kristin Ann Rivera

“WHAT A WONDERFUL FAMILY! – A Hilarious Take on Divorce, Values, and Relationships” by Ariel Ushijima

“SEOUL STATION: The Horror Is Alive” by Kristin Ann Rivera

“AFTER THE STORM: Success in life for a late bloomer” by Nicole Lockwood

“An Informative Journey of Tsukiji” by Coe Snyder

“KIVALINA: The told and the untold of an arctic village” by Veerle van Wijk

2015 Film Reviews Archive | Read the 2015 Recap

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