Film Guide Submissions

Cinegogía publishes a variety of film guides (in English and/or Spanish) for frequently taught films from our database. We invited you to submit a film guide, using the following template and guidelines, for publication on the website. Before you begin, please search the collection to make sure a guide does not already exist for your selected film. 

Guidelines & Best Practices

1) As you watch the film, take notes on film techniques, 2-3 important scenes, historical and sociopolitical context, and broader themes. These notes will be the foundation for your discussion questions. 

2) After you watch the film, search your institution's library catalog for two film reviews (one in Spanish, if possible) and two peer-reviewed critical essays about the selected film. Take note of interesting observations, questions, and quotes from the reviews and the articles. You should use these notes as the basis for some of your questions. Add the citation information for the reviews and the articles to the section called "Suggested Readings" on the Film Guide.

3) Write the first draft of your film guide, using the template provided here. Your questions should be open-ended and invite the viewer to return to the film to craft their response. Aim to include a variety of opinion, critical thinking and factual questions in your film guide. Stay away from simple "yes/no" questions that do not invite discussion or analysis. You should have at least one question each in the following categories:

  • specific film technique(s) (e.g. "The handheld shot is used throughout the film. What does this technique convey within the film? What does the prominent use of this technique tell you about the film’s production? Are there any parallels with other Argentine movies made during this time?" - El Bonaerense, #6)
  • important scene(s) or character(s) (e.g. "Rewatch one of the car scenes. Why do you think many of the shots taken in/near the car are from unexpected angles or places, for example, from the back seat? How does this relate to the film’s overall theme?" - La mujer sin cabeza, #3)
  • social, historical or political context (e.g. "What is the historical context for this Ecuadorian film produced in 1989?" - Zulay, #1)
  • theme(s) ("¿Qué quiere decir la película sobre la búsqueda de la riqueza? ¿Es una advertencia? ¿Cómo interpreta el tema central de Pájaros de verano?" - Pájaros de verano, #10 

Other kinds of questions can include:

  • compare and contrast with a different film or related work of literature (e.g. "Compare and contrast how Afro-Latina women are depicted in U.S. films versus Dominican cinema, like Miriam miente." - Miriam miente, #10)
  • relevance to a contemporary issue or current events (e.g. "After watching La dictadura perfecta, has your understanding and/or trust of the news media and other media outlets changed? Why or why not? Do the issues raised in this film resonate with similar issues in the United States?" - La dictadura perfecta, #8)
  • a quote from one of the reviews or scholarly articles, with a follow-up question (e.g. "Haseenah Ebrahim writes about gender inequality in the article 'Race and Cuban Cinema.' Where do you see instances of this issue in the film? - De cierta manera, #3)
  • direct quote from one of the characters or the narrator, with a related question ("Al principio de la película, Guzmán comenta, 'Para muchos, el tema de la memoria es un tema cerrado' (00:04:54). ¿Por qué la memoria es tan poderosa e importante ¿Qué papel juega la memoria en esta película?" - Chile, la memoria obstinada, #1)

4) Search Cinegogía's Film Database for the information about technical details (director, screenplay, production companies, duration). You can find any missing information by searching in the relevant national database or cinemateca

5) Spell/grammar check and review the final draft of your film guide, making any changes and corrections. We highly recommend asking a fellow student or professor to peer-review the guide before submission. Include your full name and institutional affiliation. 

6) Submit the film guide to Cinegogía for review. You will hear back from the Editorial Board within 3-5 days of submission. 

Helpful Resources for Writing about Film

  • Cineglos: Spanish-language film glossary with examples of techniques from Latin American and Spanish cinema. 
  • Columbia Film Language Glossary: features key terms in film studies selected by Columbia faculty and illustrated with detailed explanations, film clips, and visual annotations.
  • Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. 9th ed. Pearson, 2015.

Advice & Tips from Other Students

"Something I found helpful was reading the articles before I watched the film. This allowed me to enter the film with context and an already critical eye. When particular scenes that I had read about were playing, I was able to reflect and create deeper questions on my film guide." - Kate Beckerman (Creator of film guide for Pelo malo)

"What I have found really helpful is making a schedule and sticking with it. I plan to watch the film on Mondays, work on research and reading Tuesday-Wednesday, and write the film guide Thursday-Friday. If it’s an especially busy week, I schedule out set hours each day to work on the project and it ensures I get everything done on time with less stress!" - Katherine O'Malley (Creator of film guide for XXY)

"Be flexible and try different approaches with your guides. For example, research the film prior to viewing; you'll be on the lookout for details you may not have noticed otherwise." - Charlie Ryan (Creator of film guide for El abrazo de la serpiente)

"Each film is a piece of art so its important to take into account all the intricacies that make it what it is. The daunting task is made a lot easier once you have a process to analyze each individual aspect. Only then can you truly appreciate a film for what it is." - Christian Bachez (Creator of film guide for La libertad)

"Writing the film guide in two sessions makes it easier to write more diverse questions. Sitting down and trying to write it all at once often takes more time and my questions end up being similar to other guides and not as good as when I step away from the guide and come back later." - Katherine O'Malley (Creator of film guide for La Yuma)