Melissa Anderson

film editor and critic

MA, Media Studies, 1998

Melissa Anderson is the film editor of 4Columns, where she is also a regular contributor. From November 2015 until September 2017, she was the senior film critic for the Village Voice. She writes frequently for Artforum and Bookforum.


Where are you from and when did you graduate?

I was raised in Pennsylvania but had been living in Washington, D.C., for five years by the time I arrived at the New School in 1996. I graduated in 1998.

Why did you choose The New School?

The emphasis on both theory and practice in the Media Studies program greatly appealed to me.

What is unique about the School of Media Studies?

During my time in the program, from 1996 to ’98, I met incredibly talented, interesting, and curious people from all over the world.
How did it help you find your voice?

A course I took with Deirdre Boyle on film criticism was instrumental, as was a class taught by Cecilia Dougherty on experimental video.

What are your skills and values that people in your field notice and value the most, which set you apart, which you acquired at the school?

Undoubtedly the papers I wrote for my Media Studies coursework helped me hone the skills necessary for robust criticism: how to advance an argument, how to place a specific work within a larger context, and how to tell a joke.What is your professional mission?

I always hope to be a better writer with each new piece.

Your biggest professional achievement, the one you are most proud of?

It was a great honor to be asked to serve on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, a position I held from 2009 until 2012.

What is next for you?

One day I hope to write a book, if only to see whether I can face the abject terror I have of writing anything longer than 3,000 words.


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Learn more about our programs

The MA in Media Studies gives students experience in creative media making, critical analysis, and entrepreneurialism. The Media Management MS offers the practical experience you need to succeed in today's media industries. The Documentary Studies Certificate program provides an opportunity to study documentary filmmaking in a small, tightly focused program. The Media Management Certificate Program provides a strong foundation of management principles and leadership skills to find work in the ever-changing global media landscape.