Four years ago today, I sent an email to a handful of friends from whom I’d been geographically displaced and a few film-loving strangers who I followed on social media to announce that I wanted to start a film discussion blog.
That e-mail was the genesis of Audiences Everywhere.
Today, I’m writing to all of you as friends to let you know that the Audiences Everywhere journey has reached its end. It’s a bittersweet day, but there are reasons here to both celebrate and look ahead with excitement.
On January 1st, 2014, I did not know anything about blogging. Or Film Twitter. Or website development. I hadn’t even written about film since my junior year of college, with my The Truman Show analysis submitted as my Film As Literature term paper. I had no idea what I was doing on that New Year’s Day. At the time, I just missed getting drunk and talking about movies with my friends.
Realizing now just how ill equipped I was at the onset and how much I had to learn as I went makes it all the more surreal to measure where this site has taken me. AE has provided me the opportunity to speak to some of my favorite filmmakers, to extend the boundaries of mythology of one of my favorite films of all time, and to correspond with established critics for whom I’ve long held a great deal of admiration.
But that’s just my specifically personal takeaway and says nothing about the real importance of what our team, past and present, has accomplished. And what I’m most proud of is the Audiences Everywhere team and its accomplishments, that I was able to meet, befriend, publish, and elevate the voices of some of my favorite film criticism writers, some of whom, in spite of their immense talent, were struggling to find a platform anywhere before they found ours. I’m most proud of having given them a microphone and an audience.
Because our team, which, lead by the best editing crew in the business anywhere, grew quickly to adopt and promote a mission statement of celebration and thoughtfulness, put a noticeable bend in a 2010s film criticism trajectory that has been shifting violently toward the cynical, self-righteous, and reactionary.
In our warm corner of the internet, we tried to do things better, to set an example, and to give readers a place to talk about film with the respect and celebration that the art form deserves from us and we deserve as fans from each other, all the while pursuing inclusiveness and accepting perspectives that were so infrequently celebrated elsewhere.
One thing I’ve learned from our most loyal readers is that there is still a place for all of that, that there’s still a need to work on fostering a more inclusive, intelligent, and benevolent film discussion space. And while we may be pulling the curtain on a brand, the spirited attitude and resilient but intelligent passion that defined Audiences Everywhere can not be curtained.
In fact, a handful of Audiences Everywhere contributors and editors have already started working on a new project that will carry the work, mission statement, and voices forward. (Please keep following AE’s social media spaces to learn more as this new project unveils itself.)
Audiences Everywhere is and always will be an extended family held together by a shared loved of film, a family that includes not just writers and editors, but all of its readers and everyone who engaged with us on social media. And the film world hasn’t heard the last (or the best) from this family. I’m sure of it.
But for right now, I just want to say thank you all so much for the opportunity to have turned my silly idea into a family who I will always love and for whom I will always carry an immense pride.
David Shreve, Jr.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, AudiencesEverywhere.net