Just as important as who is starring in and making Hollywood films are who has the opportunity to write about them. White male film critics authored over 65% of film reviews in 2017, according to statistics from Women In Hollywood. Now, Time’s Up, an organisation fighting against workplace harassment and discrimination that was created in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is stepping up to change the status quo with the launch of the CRITICAL DATABASE.
If there is only one kind of person given the opportunity to review a film, it will dramatically affect the conversation around it. Reviews, be they positive or negative, help people decide which films are worth seeing in cinemas and spending their money on. Time’s Up wants to make sure all kinds of people have the ability to weigh in on the conversation, and that means they need to be given the opportunity to see the film prior to its release in the first place.
The CRITICAL database is an opt-in database that allows media outlets, studios, networks, talent, film and television critics associations, and representatives to more easily find and contact with entertainment journalists and critics from underrepresented groups, according to the official statement from Time’s Up.
Thus far, multiple film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, Tribeca, Bentonville, Athena, ATX TV Festival, and Toronto, have declared that they will use a portion of their press credentials to those in the CRITICAL database.
“By encouraging industry leaders to be more intentional about who gets invited to their press junkets, screenings, red carpets, and other events, this database is one way they can work to dismantle the systemic barriers for critics of colour and other underrepresented individuals,” said Tina Tchen, president and CEO of TIME’S UP Foundation. “Together, we can ensure these voices are represented and heard.”
Time’s Up isn’t the only organisation committed to changing the often white male perspective on movies. Website CherryPicks curates film reviews from women and non-binary individuals to showcase the films that often underrepresented voices are passionate about. On Refinery29, Anne Cohen takes a look back at films women loved that were skewered by (often male) reviewers with Writing Critics Wrongs.
Ultimately, the goal is for everyone to have a say in the cultural conversation surrounding movies — and Time’s Up is helping make that future a reality.