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SXSW Film 2014

Mind the Gap: Diversity Issues in Film Criticism

When Cineaste, one of the premiere film publications in the country, announced their second list of “Film Criticism: The Next Generation,” only two female writers and one person of color were included on their total online list of fifteen critics. As A.O.Scott of the NY Times noted, the list “is either short-sighted or symptomatic."

From the lack of top female critics on Rotten Tomatoes to the lack of full-time female staff writers, film criticism is not immune from the industry-wide issue of diversity gaps (note: there is no data available on film critics of color). In the findings of her 2013 study looking at gender in film criticism, Dr. Martha Lauzen said, “Film critics appear to have become less, not more gender diverse over the last six years.”

This panel will seek to explore solutions to help alleviate the diversity gap. If the internet has democratized film criticism, let's see it reflected in broken gender and racial barriers in the field.

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  1. Why does diversity in film criticism matter? How do we address bias in both the entertainment and journalism worlds?
  2. How can we better connect, encourage, and recognize writers from diverse background (or the "how to break the clubhouse" question)?
  3. Is it better to create separate spaces for feminist film criticism a part from mainstream outlets like "Film Comment" or "Cineaste?"
  4. Should we look at non-traditional media outlets (like special interest outlets) for diversity? Or try to increase diversity in mainstream media?
  5. Does mentorship work? What can professional critics organizations do to help connect nontraditional critics with resources?



Monica Castillo, Film Critic, Freelance

Meta Information:

  • Tags: diversity
  • Event: Film
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Film Criticism
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginning
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