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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Primary gender balance revised

RogerEbert.com Gender Balances Roster of Film Critics to Uplift Diverse Voices

Answering the call for more diverse voices in film criticism and gender equity in Hollywood, Chaz Ebert announces that RogerEbert.com is gender balancing its regular rotation of film critics. Nell Minow, Monica Castillo and Tomris Laffly join Sheila O’Malley and Christy Lemire to round out the website’s roster of female critics to achieve a fifty-fifty split of five women and five men. The site also will publish more frequent contributions by diverse critics, including Castillo and Odie Henderson, who bring valued perspectives from their Cuban- and African-American roots. Minow has also been appointed the website's first female assistant editor.

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For the first time since Women Writer's Week, RogerEbert.com will have reviews and articles by five women critics in its Friday line-up. 

“The #MeToo, #NeverAgain and #BlackLivesMatter movements underscore why diverse, critical voices and lived experiences in the arts not only affect how we see the world but influence how we begin to heal it,” said Chaz Ebert, president of Ebert Digital. “We need a wide spectrum of voices to challenge the male-dominated narrative that drives much of Hollywood and the popular media.”

Ebert will assume the role of editor-in-chief of the premier film criticism site she co-founded with her late husband, beloved film critic Roger Ebert, in 2002. Brian Tallerico, managing editor, will continue to handle day-to-day operations, and Matt Zoller Seitz remains editor-at-large. They will also lead the male critics who will write regular film reviews. Tallerico and Zoller Seitz will be joined by critics Odie Henderson, Simon Abrams and Glenn Kenny

The site will also continue to spotlight other new and returning voices on its non-review content, like Godfrey Cheshire, who is an expert on documentaries, Iranian cinema and other specialty areas, and Peter Sobczynski, whose sense of humor brings freshness to many of his reviews. In fact, the website will maintain a robust roster of contributors including our Far Flung Correspondents like frequent contributor Jana Monji, our Ebert Fellows, and others who have become like a family during these last five years. 

We also take this time to say farewell and congratulations to Susan Wloszczyna who has just accepted a position as Senior Editor at Gold Derby. Chaz Ebert says that "Susan's tenure at our website the last five-and-a-half years was one filled with grace, as she brought her extensive knowledge and experience from her years at USA Today, as well as her warmth, good cheer and professionalism. We will miss her." 

Diversifying film criticism, a cause célèbre for Ebert personally, has been buoyed by the #OscarsSoWhite movement that decried the lack of diverse talent recognized at the Academy Awards, and criticism from actors like Meryl Streep, who described the lack of female critics as infuriating. 

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Ebert has championed the cause by cultivating experiences for young talent. Last year, three African-American males were selected for the distinguished Roger Ebert Fellowship at the Sundance Institute. A year earlier, Ebert chose four young women from diverse backgrounds. She has partnered with civic groups; film festivals, and colleges and universities to provide mentorship and published reviews from diverse students on the website.

Coming soon, RogerEbert.com will host Diversity in the Arts Week showcasing reviews and social commentary by writers of color. Send submissions to managingeditor@ebertdigital.com.

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