This seems a propitious moment for a transition. After forty-two years of teaching in the English Department and editing Film Criticism for nearly all that time, 1 retired from the faculty in September 2014. As academic journals continue to upgrade their websites and publish online articles, I have lagged behind in guiding FC into the twenty-first century. As the production and distribution of visual narratives has also changed, my personal preference has remained the study of films (including those shot with digital cameras or in front of blue screens) intended for projection in front of communal audiences. I am confident that Film Criticism's new editor will retain the high scholarly standards and attention to publication details that I hope I have brought to the job, while generating new ideas by adding to our editorial board and expanding the journal's accessibility. Both innovations are important. Any journal needs to replenish its intellectual resources in order to remain vital; most of the current board members have been helping me for more than twenty years. And while Film Criticism remains extremely proud of maintaining a steady, on time production for those forty years, we have done so at the cost of distribution, being without the resources to advertise, sell at bookstores, participate in book fairs, or otherwise promote our work. My task has always been focused on turning out the next issue.
To do so, I have relied on a handful of great friends. Everyone on the editorial board has contributed to the success of Film Criticism by carefully evaluating manuscripts, occasionally editing guest issues or contributing articles, by lending their scholarly prestige to the journal, and simply by reinforcing my faith in the project. I would like to single out two persons for special praise. Dudley Andrew guest edited a special NEH-sponsored double issue on film theory in our third year that helped to establish Film Criticism as a viable academic resource. He has remained a loyal supporter ever since, including his splendid introduction to the issue on the Cahiers critics in Arts magazine that began Volume 39. Walter Metz has been, for the last decade, the journal's virtual associate editor. He has certainly read more manuscripts that anyone else on the board, and very few articles we have published have not undergone his scrutiny.
Harry Kloman, who was my student at Allegheny and one of the first editorial assistants for Film Criticism, has been the book review editor for the past decade. He has done a marvelous job. I have been able to count on him for 12-20 pages of cleanly edited copy (he has long served as a journalism instructor and faculty adviser for the daily student newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh) for every issue since 2005. Mary Michaels has designed the covers for Film Criticism for the past twenty years. Perhaps more than anything, 1 will miss the artistry of those designs as we move to the digital format. Thank you to both these (unpaid) friends who have contributed so much to FC's style and substance.
I also need to acknowledge the enormous help of the two people responsible for the actual production of Film Criticism almost from its beginning. Don Thompson, of Commercial Printing in Butler, PA, has been printing the journal since its inception, always at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest of care. He works closely with Mary on the cover designs and frequently with me on last-minute corrections--always with patience and concern. No less than for the rest of us, his has been a labor of love. I am equally grateful to Roxanne Free, composer in the print shop at Allegheny. For about thirty years--ever since we stopped cutting-and-pasting with Exacto knives in the student newspaper office--she has been responsible for preparing final copy, fitting in Film Criticism while performing numerous other tasks for the college. Several times during the past forty years I have been approached by commercial publishers with the idea of expanding our circulation and revenues by contracting with them to put out the journal. I always resisted because without the flexibility, personal attention, and care shown to me by Don and Roxanne, 1 could never have edited FC while continuing to fulfill my teaching and administrative duties.
When Lucy Bohne and Chris Dubbs asked me to join them to publish a film journal in 1976, I saw an opportunity to connect with the field of cinema studies that seemed far away. Back then, I would regularly travel to Pittsburgh or Cleveland, both about 90 miles away, simply to see the movies that interested me. With a doctorate in American literature and no formal course work in film, I had no colleagues in what was then an emerging discipline, my only resources being Film Quarterly and Literature/Film Quarterly, whose editors, Ernest Callenbach and Jim Welsh, both helped me in those early days. Editing Film Criticism, very simply, changed my professional life. Although I continued, quite happily, to teach the majority of my courses in literature, I became, through the journal, a film scholar. At the end of a career that has included four books and four years as Allegheny's chief academic officer, editing Film Criticism remains my proudest intellectual achievement. Thanks to all who helped along the way, and best wishes to Joe Tompkins as he introduces a re-booted FC to many more new readers around the world.
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|Title Annotation:||Film Criticism to become online, open access journal|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2015|
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