Rotten Tomatoes will expand its efforts to increase diversity among film and TV critics, with the review website announcing on Wednesday that it is renewing its contributions to the Toronto International Film Festival’s Media Inclusion Initiative and the LA Film Critics Association’s scholarship program.
The TIFF Media Inclusion Initiative provides financial support to accredited film critics from underrepresented groups to cover travel costs when attending the Canadian film festival. Rotten Tomatoes says that in a survey it conducted of 350 critics, 92% said travel costs were still a major hurdle preventing them from attending major film festivals, with the majority calling on studios and festivals to make screenings more accessible via hybrid and virtual events.
“Supporting festival inclusion programs remains an important part of Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Outreach and Grant Program and we’re thrilled to be expanding our mentorship initiatives and scholarships for aspiring critics from underrepresented groups,” said Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes Director of Critic Engagement.
In 2018, Rotten Tomatoes established the Critics Outreach and Grant Program to expand the number of women and people of color among the list of critics whose reviews are included on its website. As part of the program, the site’s criteria for approving new critics was changed to focus on individual credentials rather than media outlets.
Under this criteria, Rotten Tomatoes says that among the over 100 new critics it has added to its Tomatometer critics pool over the past year, 74% are from underrepresented groups, 48% are women, 38% are people of color, 76% are freelancers and 34% are from new media platforms, including YouTube, podcasts, and broadcast.