Pair join Brian Lowry as the paper's top crix

Justin Chang and Peter Debruge have been promoted to senior film critics at Variety.

Chang will be heading up the team of critics at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins Wednesday. As the news org’s top reviewers, he and Debruge will be attending upcoming fests and reviewing pics domestically. Brian Lowry will continue to review films, in addition to his ongoing role as principal TV critic and columnist.

Debruge and Chang have been among the reviewers for the paper in the past few years. In addition to wearing their critics hats, they will continue with other duties, which include managing, assigning and editing the more than 1,200 film reviews, both domestic and international, that Variety runs annually.

Chang, who began at Variety in 2004, has been editing the weekly film review section since late 2006 and is a hands-on copy editor on the news desk. Debruge, who started in 2005, has been working in the features department, currently overseeing such sections as 10 Comics to Watch, the Youth Impact Report and Variety Critics Choice: Europe Now.

Both have also moderated sessions in the Variety Screening Series and participated in panel sessions and seminars since joining. They are members of L.A. Film Critics Assn.

Group editor Timothy Gray said, “For several years, Variety readers have expressed enthusiasm about Peter and Justin’s film knowledge, their intelligence and their style. They bring fresh voices to their writing, with a young and smart perspective — and an understanding of Variety’s readership. The fact that they have other duties at the paper is a great advantage: It helps a critic to have an awareness and perspective on everything that is happening in the industry.”

Variety president Neil Stiles and publisher Brian Gott said in a joint statement, “Justin and Peter bring energy and vitality to their writing. We’re very excited at these promotions, which are good for them and for the paper.”

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