On Friday morning at the Griffin Club in Los Angeles, the advocacy organization Time’s Up — formed two years ago in the wake of the post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning, amid calls for broader change in the entertainment industry — hosted an event to announce the launch of Time’s Up Critical.
Critical is a database meant to help underrepresented critics (women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people) find a space in mainstream publications and amplify their voices. According to Time’s Up’s analysis, 21% of film reviewers are women, and 17% are people of color. Only 4% of published film critics are women of color.
The creation of the database “really reveals the power of what happens when women gather and make decisions about how to change the landscape of humanity,” said Dr. Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in remarks at the podium.
Mara Nasatir, Time’s Up’s director of initiatives, tells Variety the site is live now and open for registration. Those in the positions to employ critics — whether that’s assigning editors, or publicists looking to invite journalists to a junket — must register as publicists on the site. There is a separate portal for critics to log in.
Time’s Up has been developing the site for more than a year, but Nasatir says they wanted it up and running for the 2020 awards season. Critical is funded by a one-time grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation.
The event was also meant for networking, with Time’s Up Entertainment’s interim director Ngoc Nguyen asking the crowd of nearly 100 to introduce themselves and offer three words that inspire them. Among the attendees were journalists, publicists and those working with Time’s Up, as well as Geena Davis and Madeline Di Nonno, the CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.
Time’s Up staff later offered demonstrations of Critical, in which critics can provide a range of information about themselves, and include links to their work. There are about 400 listings in the database upon launch.
“Hopefully, from here, relationships will have been made, and the first step is making sure people have access to events and opportunities, and try to move on from there,” said Nguyen.
Audrey Yap contributed to this report.