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Rotten Tomatoes expands Critics Outreach and Grant Program

As one of the top review-aggregation websites for film and television, Rotten Tomatoes announced in a press release its renewed donation to the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Media Inclusion Initiative. This contribution solidifies Rotten Tomatoes’ pledge to expand its Critics Outreach and Grant Program to raise inclusion in entertainment criticism.

TIFF’s Media Inclusion Initiative was established to provide financial backing for critics in underrepresented groups. Rotten Tomatoes has donated over $100,00 since the program’s inception.

“According to a recent survey we conducted with 350 Tomatometer-approved critics, 92% contend that the cost of travel and lodging still prohibits them from attending key festivals and conventions,” said Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes Director of Critic Engagement, in a press release.

Picture of the Rotten Tomatoes grant outreach program,
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The survey participants shared the challenges that critics face today as well as the changes they would like to see implemented within the industry. Challenges include maintaining a work-life balance, becoming a full-time critic, and discovering opportunities as a member of a marginalized community. Potential changes revolved around accessibility to screenings, the increase in hybrid/virtual festivals, and the continued growth of a diverse film community.

Founded in 2018, the Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Outreach and Grant Program sought to increase inclusion and support future critics. Through scholarships and inclusion programs, Rotten Tomatoes has donated more than $350,000 to further professional and academic goals, which has aided more than 600 people from underrepresented groups. Plus, over 100 new critics were added this year with 74% coming from underrepresented groups.

“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,” Jediny said.

Rotten Tomatoes also supported the 2022 Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Ruth Batchelor Scholarship in Los Angeles and the “Emerging Critics Grant Program” with the Chicago Film Critics Association. Both programs champion the extension of film criticism from diverse groups in the area.

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