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Cléo Journal Addresses ‘Woeful Lack of Feminist Perspectives’ in Film Criticism

Founded by TIFF programmer Kiva Reardon, the journal is raising money to better compensate writers and print a compendium.

cleo journal

With essays ranging from A Love Letter to Jennifer Coolidge and The Gender-Fluid Fantasy of Adventure Time to interviews with Kirsten Johnson, Ana Lily Amirpour, and Claire Denis, the Canadian-based journal cléo is an essential source for smart, fresh, and feminist perspectives on film and media.

Film critic and programming associate with the Toronto International Film Festival, Kiva Reardon, who penned an impassioned essay about the lack of female film critics last month, founded cléo in 2013. The journal publishes online three times a year. Each issue is built around a theme, such as “camp,” “risk,” or “boob tube.” Now, Cléo creators are hoping to raise rates for contributors and editors and publish a print compendium, which is why they are enlisting readers to make a small donation via Patreon.

READ MORE: 2016 Bechdel Test Breakdown: More Than Half of Top Films Pass New Study

According to the cléo founders, the journal was created to address the “woeful lack of feminist perspectives” in film criticism, citing a study by The Wrap that women make up just 18% of reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes, and an Atlantic article that pointed out that women make up less than a quarter of the overall membership in four top film critics’ associations.

“This gender gap doesn’t only impact film criticism, but the entire film ecosystem: fewer women writing about film means coverage of certain films is favoured, which influences box office success, which means we end up seeing the same kind of stories by the same kind of people over and over.”

READ MORE: Film Criticism Continues to Suffer From a Lack of Women’s Voices; Read One Female Critic’s Passionate Plea for Change

The journal takes its name from Agnès Varda’s 1962 film “Cléo From 5 to 7,” a vérité portrait of a singer adrift in Paris which explored existentialism through a feminist lens.

Visit cléo’s Patreon page to support feminist film criticism.

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