Uniqueness in the Age of Global Aesthetics – Katia Shannon (Guest Post)

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Filmmakers are encouraged to develop a distinguishable aesthetic to pierce through the clutter. But it might be harder than ever to achieve. Where you are from and what your films should look like, are not interdependant anymore. That’s exciting, but the globalization of aesthetics is both a brilliant opportunity and a trap.

If you look back in history, artistic movements refer to a specific aesthetic practice, at a time and place. Pre-Raphaelite, Impressionist, Fauvist, Abstract Expressionist aesthetics all evoke a particular period in history as well as a centre of power where artists could converge to exchange ideas and aesthetics. In film, think of the ‘French New Wave’, ‘German Expressionism’ or ‘Direct Cinema’… The filmmaker’s place defined the style of the art and films people expected.

If a filmmaker’s voice is born out of their world view, what happens when everyone is looking through the lens of an algorithmic curation of similar things?
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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).