GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics Announces
Winners of Crimson Honors College Critics Contest Presented by Rotten Tomatoes
Three queer-identifying students of color, from Berkeley and the University of Central Florida, will receive scholarship funds for their sharp perspectives on film/TV
Wednesday, June 13, 2023 – GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics announced today the winner and two finalists of its inaugural Crimson Honors college film and TV critics scholarship, expressly created for LGBTQ+ women or nonbinary public college and university students who identify as Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian American, or Biracial. The national entertainment journalism contest awards over $6000 in financial assistance provided by Rotten Tomatoes, the go-to source to help entertainment fans decide what movies and TV shows to watch.
Students were asked to submit to GALECA up to 3 reviews or essays relating to film and/or TV, each originally published or posted in 2022 by an official campus media offering (newspaper, magazine, website, radio station, podcast, TV/radio program) or personal blog. In addition, applicants provided a resume and a personal 300-word statement on why they feel entertainment criticism is important. A panel of 10 GALECA members judged the submissions.
“These three students each showed a heartening dedication not just to entertainment writing but also to the foundations of contemporary journalism: collaboration, criticism, curation, transparency, and an absolute ethical obligation to the truth,” said GALECA’s current Vice President, Diane Anderson-Minshall, Editor in Chief of Go! magazine and former CEO and editorial director of Pride Media, the parent company of such revered queer media brands as Out and The Advocate. Added outgoing GALECA Secretary Adriana Gomez-Weston, a freelance film and rock critic, “We are excited to see what’s ahead for each of our finalists and their careers. In America’s current political and media climate, strong critical LGBTQ+ takes are needed more than ever before.”
In addition to Anderson-Minshall and Gomez-Weston, GALECA’s Crimson Honors judging panel included Danielle Broadway, entertainment reporter for Reuters; Danette Chavez, Editor in Chief of Primetimer; Grace Han, critic and reporter for Asian Movie Pulse; Monika Estrella Negra, co-host of Bitches on Comics podcast, Co-editor of QueerSpec and former GALECA president; Maria San Filippo, acclaimed author and Editor in Chief of The New Review of Film and Television Studies ; Kristal Sotomayor, Editor in Chief of cinéSPEAK Journal and co-founder ¡Presente! Media; Abbey White, Associate Editor at The Hollywood Reporter; and Cate Young, producer of Wondery’s Even the Rich podcast as well as co-founder of the Thirty, Flirty + Film newsletter.
The GALECA Crimson Honors $3000 grand prize winner
Asha Pruitt, a staff writer for the University of California at Berkeley’s Daily Californian before graduating last May, submitted reviews of the British Catholic school girls comedy Derry Girls and humorist Nathan Fielder’s The Rehearsal, the unusual HBO docuseries that asks subjects to play out major possible future moments in their lives. GALECA’s judges praised Pruitt for their “strong voice” and how, in reviewing Rehearsal in particular, they “tackled a very dizzying and tangled show with relative ease.” Pruitt, heading into the world with a major in global studies and minors in journalism and French, also impressed with their brief think-piece on gay cowboy imagery in movies and pop music.
“The Crimson Honors award is an incredible honor, and I can’t thank (GALECA) enough,” said Pruitt, who in early June started working for Salt Lake City’s SLUG Magazine, a venerable free independent monthly founded in 1988. The job “aligns with my goals to amplify local art scenes and underrepresented communities. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for me, but I know I’ll always be following my passion for arts and entertainment journalism.”
Pruitt, proud graduate.
The two finalists, each receiving $1500
Taila Lee, an incoming senior at the University of California Berkeley, impressed GALECA’s judges with her “well-expressed passion for the importance of a watchful eye on media,” the “wit and stylish sophistication” of her writing, and her “thoughtful” and “succinctly and fairly conveyed” criticism in several pieces as an arts and entertainment editor for campus outlet The Daily Californian. Surveying Lee’s reviews of movies such as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, one panelist praised Lee for an “ability to dig into what makes a movie work and why, and how that relates to the culture it was released into.”
“I fell in love with storytelling back in high school, around the same time I was beginning to navigate my identity as queer,” said Lee, who is working toward a B.A. in media studies with a concentration on global culture. Critiquing movies and TV shows at Berkeley “has helped me better understand not only the art I consume, but also better understand myself and connect with others. Receiving this award from an organization that champions the arts and inclusivity means the world to me.”
Lee, backstage with press pass!
Ariana Martinez, a film major with a minor in women and gender studies at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, was singled out for “approaching daunting societal themes in film and TV with humor, flair and perspective” in videos on their own YouTube channel. Martinez’s review of Thor: Love and Thunder was deemed “edifying, entertaining and thought-provoking,” and their discussion of Natalie Portman’s pink-haired heroine in Closer was found to be “enjoyable and instructive.” Meanwhile, a story for UCF’s website NSM focused on several a cappella groups preparing for a Pitch Perfect-style competition, was “deceptively breezy, actually pointed.”
Said Martinez, an incoming senior: “Receiving this award is incredibly surreal, and I am deeply grateful to be reassured and reminded that words so personal and special to me are also considered articulate and impactful, especially by the communities I try to honor most.”
All three winners will also receive $100 Fandango and VUDU gift cards to watch movies in theaters or at home, and a complimentary year-long GALECA membership, with opportunities to meet editors and Advisory Board members in the group.
Rotten Tomatoes’ support of GALECA’s Crimson Honors scholarship is the latest initiative in the brand’s Grants and Scholarships program, established in 2018 to increase inclusion in entertainment criticism and support the next generation of critics through donations to educational programs, film festivals’ inclusion initiatives, and other industry efforts.
Martinez, helping keep Florida pink. (Photo by Victorious McLeod)
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