The Los Angeles Times, which recently installed Marc Bernardin as its new Film Editor, has made another big move by hiring critic Justin Chang away from Variety. Chang, whose most recently title at Variety was Senior Film Critic, has been editing and assigning reviews for the trade since 2006. He will start his new position at the LA Times on April 25.
Just a few months ago, at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s awards dinner, Chang was singled out by “Creed” director Ryan Coogler as a critic whose writing had a profound effect on him. And Coogler used Chang’s example to issue a challenge, too: “Reach back into the community and find the next Justin Chang,” Coogler said. “Find the diversity. Find those voices that are in places that you might not think to look. Because it would be amazing to see the next generation of you guys, and to have more of them… look like me and [Michael B. Jordan], and more of them look like Justin.”
The LA Times hasn’t found the next Justin Chang, but they’ve got the genuine article.
Here’s the memo from LAT’s John Corrigan to staff, via The Wrap.
I’m thrilled to report that Justin Chang, chief film critic for Variety, will be joining The Times as a film critic.
Justin is one of the rising stars of film criticism – respected by colleagues, competitors and filmmakers alike. He was awarded the inaugural Roger Ebert Award for diversity in film journalism in 2014, and has also been recognized by the Los Angeles Press Club for his reviews and commentary.
Following his graduation from USC in 2004, Justin worked in various capacities at Variety. He was promoted to senior film critic in 2010 and chief film critic in 2013. He is a frequent guest critic on KPCC’s “FilmWeek” and NPR’s “Fresh Air Weekend,” and the author of “FilmCraft: Editing,” a 2011 book of interviews with some of the world’s top film editors. He serves as chair of the National Society of Film Critics and secretary of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
He lives with his wife, Lameese, in Pasadena, and his non-movie-related interests include detective fiction, long-distance running and Korean food.
Justin starts April 25 and will report to film editor Marc Bernardin. Justin has long wanted to work at The Times alongside Ken Turan (one of Justin’s biggest fans), and here is what he has to say about the opportunity.
Whether they’re casual moviegoers or hardcore cinephiles, readers look to the Times’ film reviews for more than a mere recommendation. They look for an understanding of the art, business and politics of filmmaking; a wide-ranging love for the medium informed by a deep knowledge of film history; a healthy skepticism toward gimmickry and formula; and a genuine passion for those treasurable cinematic experiences that move, stimulate and break new ground.
Well said, Justin. Welcome aboard.