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Variety to Beef Up Review Ranks Led by Trio of Chief Film Critics

Variety has promoted Justin Chang to chief film critic and Peter Debruge to chief international film critic, both sharing the top mantle with Scott Foundas, establishing a dynamic trio of reviewers in the world’s three movie meccas: Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

Chang and Foundas will remain based in L.A. and Gotham, respectively, evaluating the latest studio and independent releases, and maintaining editorial oversight of Variety’s review operations. Underscoring Variety’s commitment to providing the strongest and most comprehensive film coverage around the globe, Debruge will relocate from Los Angeles to Paris to spearhead coverage of new European releases and film festivals abroad.

All three critics will continue to report to Claudia Eller, editor-in-chief, film. Additional staff announcements will be made in weeks to come as Variety ramps up its critical coverage domestically and internationally.

“We are aggressively stepping up our efforts in film criticism, which has been a hallmark of Variety for many decades,” said Jay Penske, chief executive officer of Variety parent Penske Media Corporation. “We will continue to be the dominant force in this significant arena as we expand our voice in every key territory overseas.”

Tipping her hat to Chang, Debruge and Foundas, Eller added, “This team’s individual and collective critical thinking and astuteness about movies and their impact on popular culture is unprecedented.”

Chang joined Variety as a copy editor and critic in 2004, and has been assigning and editing the paper’s film reviews since 2006. He was named senior film critic in 2010. He is the author of “FilmCraft: Editing” (Focal Press, 2011), a book of interviews with 17 of the world’s top film editors. Chang is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and serves as secretary of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. He holds a degree in print journalism from USC, where, like his fellow alum Foundas, he cut his teeth writing for the Daily Trojan. His film reviews and interviews have also appeared in the Orange County Register.

Debruge joined Variety in 2005, after spending four years as an editor for AOL Moviefone, first in New York, then in Los Angeles. He also oversees various Variety feature sections, compiling the magazine’s 10 Actors, Directors and Comics to Watch lists. He was named senior film critic in 2010. He will be Variety’s first chief international film critic. A graduate of the U. of Texas at Austin’s film studies program, Debruge wrote his honors thesis on the aesthetics of movie trailers; he teaches a graduate course in “Evolution of Film Language” at Chapman U. In addition to hundreds of reviews for the Austin Chronicle, Miami Herald and Premiere, his writing on film has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Life, Creative Screenwriting, Backstory and IndieWire.

Before joining Variety as chief film critic in March of this year, Foundas was chief film critic for the Village Voice. From 2010-12, he served as associate program director for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where he was a contributing editor to Film Comment magazine and a member of the New York Film Festival selection committee. He began his career as a regular contributor to Variety in 2000, and is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

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