Personal Statement Submissions

June 7, 2021 in DOCS, International, MOVIES, TV

In keeping with our governing bylaws, voting will open a week from today to determine the nine members of the Critics Choice Association Board of Directors.  The voting period will end on June 17 and the results will be announced on June 23.

Below the Statements, there is a comments section where members may post comments about the Board candidates and the election.

 

HILLARY ATKIN


You know the saying, “I’ve seen this movie before.” None of us have seen this movie before, the one where the Critics Choice Association rises to new levels of influence, prestige and increased exposure to new audiences during this turbulent time in the industry, especially in the wake of the wreckage of the HFPA. 

It’s been exciting to watch our organization develop important new programs like the Celebration of Black Cinema, the Documentary Awards, the Super Awards and the Real TV Awards, all of them successful enterprises, spurred on by the efforts of our Board of Directors.

I’ve been privileged to be a CCA member for coming up on a decade now. Throughout that time, I have been actively involved by regularly participating in judging panels for the CCAs and the Documentary Awards and on the marketing and promotion committee run by Shawn Edwards.

Last year, during the depths of the pandemic, I was proud to play a key role in the second outing of the Real TV Awards by bringing on the host, reality TV star NeNe Leakes and writing the script for her. NeNe hosted from Atlanta, where she was then a high-profile Real Housewives cast member. The virtual show, with its pre-taped segments of winners including James Corden, Phil Rosenthal, Ann Curry and Jason Hehir was as good as any of the others done during that time.

As a board member, you can count on me to work hard to build upon what we’ve achieved in recent years, especially highlighting the diversity of our membership. I would remain open to hearing new concepts and ideas from our membership across all channels and platforms as what would possibly best serve them.

Here are several of the ideas I would bring to the boardroom table and work to implement:

  • Develop corporate and branding partnerships around all of our shows. My idea of the ideal corporate partner is AMC Theaters, the current darling meme stock. I’d also like to see us forge deals with airlines, automakers, hotel chains and other media, like Vanity Fair, one of the entertainment trades and BET, for example.
  • An idea I conceived during the pandemic in between watching screeners is to further utilize the Critics Choice YouTube channel to showcase work of members, which could even bring in revenue to the organization if certain viewership levels are met. Should we go on TikTok? Perhaps, and we could definitely put more effort into our various social media platforms. One such idea is to run a weekly movie trivia contest on Instagram and/or Twitter, with movie passes, studio tours and posters and the like as the prizes.
  • Invite the studios and streamers to hold screenings and news conferences just for us. Hey, they did this for the HFPA, whose current demise leaves a huge void that is ripe to fill with such opportunities that benefit our membership and thus serve our viewers, listeners and readers.

The HFPA situation is a whole separate topic that I’m sure most of you would be interested to discuss but I feel like until its recent implosion, we were treated like second-class citizens compared to them, when our group is everything they are not: qualified and diverse. We need to utilize this unique moment in history to up our game.

I would really value the opportunity to be part of the leadership of this organization as a board member and respectfully ask for your vote. Thank you very much – and see you at the movies!

 

PAULETTE COHN


For those of you who do not know me, I have been a member of the Critics Choice Association for several years now, joining initially as a member of Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA). During that time, I have been an active member, serving as chairman of the Limited Series and Movies nominating committee for the past three years, and also serving as a nomcom member for the Real TV Awards, as well as making sure to publicize the events as much as possible on Parade.com.

I was honored to be invited to run for the Board, and as a Board member, I would be able to expand my efforts on behalf of CCA and help build on the success of the past several years, which has seen the addition of the Real TV Awards, the Documentary Awards and the Super Awards.

The Board could definitely use more women’s voices, but also more members whose specialty is TV, since so many of the current members come from the film side. You could count on me to work hard to expand the goals of the organization and look for new ideas and ways to increase our esteem as a group.

We also need vision for the future to help grow a strong but also respected organization. We are off to a good start with our close to 500 diverse members, and now may be the time to get more recognition for the Critic Choice Awards, which have more substance to them than the Golden Globes. Out voting membership is larger, more respected, more thoughtful, and more diverse, so  this could be the time for a step up.

If elected to our Board of Directors, I will bring with me my 20-years of experience writing extensively on the entertainment industry, covering TV and films for Parade.com, Monsters & Critics, FOX411, Biography.com, TV Insider, Paste, ETonline, and more. Much of my time has been spent freelance, so I have also had to develop a sense for business as well.

Prior to that, I worked as a publicist at independent PR firms representing film and TV clients, and spent five years as the publicist for Days of our Lives, even co-authoring Cooking with Days of our Lives. My experience as a publicist will be of benefit as a Board member in the CCA’s coordination with networks, studios, and independent publicists as I understand how they think!

In closing, if you vote for me, I will do my best to live up to the endorsement from Joey Berlin, Ed Martin and the current Board members, who saw fit to back my nomination.

 

JACQUELINE COLEY


As Jay-z would say, allow me to re-introduce myself. My name is Jacqueline Coley, and I would like to take a moment to ask for your support in my candidacy as a new Board member with the Critics Choice Association. I hope many of you have seen me before at various press events or film festivals, perhaps you saw me in our Celebration of Black Cinema, or maybe you have read my work at Rotten Tomatoes. However, if you are unfamiliar with me, let me take a moment to give you some background and career highpoints and what you can expect from me if voted on to the Board. Though a relatively new CCA member, I have been working as a professional journalist for several years. As many of you have been working journalists for decades, this may seem a short period of time, but it is not a boast to say though I joined this profession a bit late, I have made the most of it in just a few years.

After I began work with Rotten Tomatoes in 2017, I have worked diligently to carve out space for myself and the brand in avenues previously unexplored despite its more than 20-year history.  I made the commitment and spearheaded our awards coverage, and in just a few years, our profile and accomplishments in that space have risen to new heights. The heights I have achieved at RT include moderating for the Academy (AMPAS), SAG, and American Cinematheque FYC presentations as well as site partnerships with all of the major studios and PR agencies and, of course, my membership in the CCA. This all is in addition to attending premiere film festivals, regular appearances on Access Hollywood, Today, E!, Sky Cinema, and the BBC, just to name a few. The celebration of storytelling has always been my passion, and I’m eternally grateful that that passion and general obsessive nerdiness has allowed me to do these incredible things and carve out my niche as a new voice in entertainment journalism. 
You may be asking, “What could you expect from me as a Board member?”. My hopes for what I can do on the CCA board break down into three main tenets: Commitment, Integrity, and Innovation.

First, if the membership selects me to be a board member, I will commit to raising our profile and standard of excellence in any way possible. Everything I am a part of I commit to fully, and I will be an advocate and advisor to anyone who asks. The second thing you can expect is integrity. Integrity in my work is a given, but more so, it is a part of who I strive to be in all walks of life. Maybe it is my Southern upbringing or just how I keep my peace of mind, but I will always be honest. I may not be able to acquiesce to every request but rest assured my word is my bond, and I will not compromise that for anyone. Finally, if you vote me in as a CCA Board member, you can expect innovation. In my previous career, I was a Tech Project Manager and those years gave me a skill set not often seen in our profession. My ability to work creatively with an eye for business has always served me well, and I will look to bring those skills to the CCA. Using my connections and business acumen, I will always strive to find a new avenue, and I will never accept the status quo.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about me and why I think I would be a stellar addition to the CCA Board. In the end, I just fervently hope to live up to the endorsement Joey and the current Board members bestowed upon me and make you all proud.

Best Wishes and Regards,
Jacqueline

 

CLAYTON DAVIS


Hollywood and media are changing. We’ve been witnessing that trend for more than two decades. As an outspoken and passionate advocate for diversity and representation, one of my goals has been to continuously combat the old school mindset that see opportunity as “tokenism.” 

As a fierce advocate, I have often used the metaphor of a baseball game: we’re not asking for an automatic win of the game because we’re minorities. We’re asking for that same opportunity to go up to bat that everyone else receives. If I strike out, hit multiple foul balls, or ground out to first, that’s on us. We just want a chance to see if we can hit a homerun.

I have been a member of the Critics Choice Association since 2011. This year will mark a decade of my membership and I’ve been grateful for the opportunity and recognition. While CCA has brought about wonderful moments and memories, there are still too often blunders and easy wins that could be orchestrated with a couple of fresh perspectives.  

I believe in democracy. I believe in fairness. I believe paying your dues. While I appreciate the sentiment that the CCA Board has shown in a need for more diverse voices, the method of appointment now, vote later goes against the very fabric of the argument I have made throughout my career against bigoted, close-minded people who have been in power in this industry for far too long.  

Only after the HFPA started to go down in a blaze of shame, did the Board decide to poll the membership to get a sense of our makeup. This is a year of opportunity for the CCA to take the mantle that the Golden Globes have held for no good reason for 78 years, but we must do it with thoughtful, and sincere actions. The Board must be transparent in its decisions and voting practices. CCA has been long scrutinized for being a “predictor” for the Academy Awards, and I have found myself defending the integrity of not just the organization, but my own as one of its members. That shouldn’t be the case. We should all be proud for what we do and how we do it. Transparency is of the utmost importance. I want to bring that sense of pride to the CCA. 

I’m not here for cultural wallpaper for the organization. I’m here to work, to reform, to advocate for change. That’s why I want to be part of the board. I want to work with all the board members, have them learn from all members’ experiences, and how we can better engage our community. 

That’s why I’m running. I’m the Film Awards Editor at Variety, and see the inner workings of studio executives, publicists, and industry professional’s day after day. We all have to ready to take this mantle, but we need the full trust of everyone to do it. 

 

GRAE DRAKE


My fellow critics–it’s been an honor to spend time with you on set, in hotel hallways, and in sparkly gowns eating froYo for almost the last decade. I am beyond excited to throw my (pink?) hat in the ring for a position as board member in one of the most respected professional groups of film and TV lovers the industry has to offer.

I am the former Senior Editor of Rotten Tomatoes and was also Miss Moviefone, and currently can be seen on Los Angeles Fox 11 and heard on radio stations across the country. I started my career in podcasting, which makes the whole of my experience uniquely broadcast and digitally minded, which I have found useful in this ever-changing media landscape. 

I am very passionate about amplifying the CCA’s voice as a year-round resource for entertainment lovers. I believe with a concerted effort to ramp up our social media presence, share our vast expertise and spotlight our impressive membership, as well as continue to foster critical voices of the future, we will create a conversation that engages a larger audience. 

In the short term, every week, we can offer recommendations, share our phenomenal members’ content, and share our profiles to give people all over the world a sense of familiarity and affinity for our group. With everyone’s support and shares, think how far each post would reach!

In the long term, it’s imperative we continue our scholarship program and inspire and support our future members. For existing members, I’d love to see more exclusive CCA events with talent and creators, as well as educational offerings so we can round out our skill sets. 

We’re like the bundle of sticks in “The Straight Story”–much stronger together than apart. With your support, I would be honored to bring my experience and passion to the board to help share our organizations’ love of entertainment with a wider audience.

 

SHAWN EDWARDS


I am proud to have served on the board the past two years. It has been an honor, a privilege and a pleasure. Being on the board has allowed me to continue to push for diversity and inclusion not only with the membership but with the organization’s programming and award recognition. I began this push long before I was appointed to the board. As a 20 year member of the organization I have continually worked to make the CCA better. I am extremely proud of the work I have done as the head of the Marketing and Promotions committee. Working with the extremely talented and dedicated members of the committee has been a thrill. We’ve been able to bring ideas to life to help promote various CCA programming — sometimes without a budget. I look forward to serving another two-years on the board as I help to cultivate our growing existing events, create new ideas which will expand the organization’s footprint and continue to ensure that our membership reflects the population at large. Thanks for your consideration.

 

MARÍA ESTÉVEZ


My name is María Estévez, correspondent for Metro in Los Angeles, and I’m very excited to run for a seat on the Board in the Critics Choice Association.

Born in Madrid, Spain, and a former resident of London, New York, Mexico and, for the past 17 years, Los Angeles, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from the University Complutense in Madrid in Communications and received my MFA from the UNED (Universidad a Distancia)

I have published two novels, with a third coming later this year, and as a journalist have attended major film festivals, TV events and award ceremonies. In doing so, I have seen, first-hand, how latinx journalists must probe harder, working in two languages to excel in our field. If elected, I hope to work with the board to bring a greater voice to latinx journalists as well as the latinx community.

Our current President, Joey Berlin, has done an outstanding job and I hope to learn from him as well as current board members. Among my priorities will be increasing development opportunities for the Latinx community within the BFCA while also promoting Latinx projects. I currently host a Spanish-language podcast through which I frequently interact with actors, producers, executives, administration, and represent the industry at several events (presentations, premieres). As such, it has afforded me behind-the-scenes experience that I feel qualifies me for the position.

Currently I serve as a judge for the annual writing competition in Spanish of the California Union of Public Schools, and have years of leadership/service experience. In addition, I am familiar with the departments of the Instituto Cervantes where I worked in New York and have worked with the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED).

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you in the future. 

If elected, I will serve in this position to the best of my ability.

María Estevez
@mariateAm
+1 8186457248

 

JIM FERGUSON


As an original BFCA Board member, I sincerely hope to continue using my experience serving as a member of the CCA Board of Directors.

There are many reasons why I am proud of the accomplishments that I have shared and seen with this Board and with Joey Berlin as President and John DeSimo as Vice President. With Joey’s guidance we have continued to grow in many ways, such as, adding several significant Award Shows, along with our very successful CCA Awards.

Of course, Joey and the Board have always placed the best interest of our membership first. 

I also want to make a point of how much I have enjoyed contacting every member directly in the weeks leading up to the CCA to encourage their promotion of our big show over the years. One of my Board roles that meant a great deal to me was being the eyes and ears on the junket circuit, which became an important part of the careers of many of our members. I’m hoping this will continue in the near future.

Finally, there is so much more to the CCA that I am proud of such as our many contributions to various charities. With our student scholarship program, which Sara Voorhees has spent many years helping young student critics, and our support and contributions to many Film Festivals throughout the country, it’s easy to understand why I want to continue using my experience supporting Joey, the Board, and the entire CCA.

It was not long after the BFCA first Board of Directors were assembled that we started to discuss and make recommendations for new Board members. One of the best decisions I ever made was to highly recommend a young critic from Albuquerque N.M., Sara Voorhees, who we all know and respect. Sara and I have worked together on the Board as a team for many years.

While on the junket circuit I made friends with several critics from Canada, like Bonnie Laufer, Mose Persico, Terry Milligan, and a special mention to Anne Brodie, who Did a remarkable job of Chairing a BFCA Film Festival Committee, which I was assigned to oversee. Thanks to Annie’s hard work, that committee was extremely successful. Historically, and personally one of my best actions as a Board member was to make a Motion to allow Canadian critics to become full Members of the BFCA. Therefore, I more than welcome my Canadian friends who are running in this years election and I thank them for toasting me and making me an honorary Canadian.

Thank You,
Jim Ferguson

 

DAN GUTIERREZ


My name is Dan Gutierrez; I would like to be considered for the Broadcast Film Critics Association board. I will bring to the table my extensive experience in radio, television, print, new media, and social media that could help guide this organization into a modern world. I am not saying the organization is doing anything wrong; I feel technology and new media can help grow our organization into something bigger and reach more people globally. 

Since I’ve been a member of the BFCA (10 years), I have noticed we have been overlooking the usage of our social media accounts. Here’s a quick reminder of how powerful we are, and I believe we can only go up from here. The Critics Choice Awards Facebook page has over 111,000 followers. The Critics Choice Instagram page has over 92,000 followers. The Critics Choice Twitter account has over 90,000 followers. These numbers sound significant, but it’s nothing compared to the collective of our entire membership’s following. Yet, this number is much more significant than the ratings of a mid-market news program. As for members, I bet we have a few who have followings that can easily trump the numbers of the CCA social media accounts alone. 

If elected, my goal is to put these platforms and the many more platforms we don’t have a presence on (Twitch, Tik-Tok, etc.) into the hands of our celebrities. No, I don’t mean the stars we celebrate for our annual award show. I mean the celebrities that make up the membership of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Yes, I feel we have forgotten that our members are celebrities in their own right. Each week they go on their local TV, Radio, or other platform stations and do what they do best, broadcast. Many have also garnered a social media following that makes them social media influencers within their communities. I believe we should be utilizing their talents right here on our very own social media channels. We have the talent at our fingertips; why aren’t we using it? I would like to see us program our social media accounts, much like a TV producer would program a television network. I believe our members would be willing to produce content for this audience if given the opportunity. 

Just imagine the CCA website and social media pages being the hub for movie critics from across the country to highlight the best content they’re already producing or have produced for our sites. During covid, I have noticed organizations or individuals going live and using their platforms to entertain their social media audiences instead of just advertising their products. We can do the same, if not better. Scroll through the current Social Media pages of CCA, and you’ll see a majority of the content is either promotional or advertising. The content is not very engaging or entertaining, it gets the job done, and that’s it. Unfortunately, that’s a pitfall many businesses do. But we’re better than that. I know our members can produce a scope of content that our following would love. Our sites can host anything from highly polished full-length programs, short segments, one-minute rants, comedy bits, interviews with A-list to unknown celebrities, informal live chats, video podcasts, and much more. These segments can be programed, weekly, daily, monthly, or one-off. The benefit of social media is that our members can decide to do their featured piece live or schedule something fully produced. If it’s a requirement for our members to be broadcast professionals, why don’t we have the confidence to utilize these talents on our platforms? Members should be able to provide content to our pages, and in return, they will get the promotion right back to the member’s projects, podcasts, social media accounts, programs, etc. Then the member will be encouraged to promote their segments on their own social media accounts and platforms to promote their feature on our sites. Thus a relationship between members and CCA pages will only cause a snowball effect; CCA social media accounts will garner more followers. The featured BFCA member who provided content to our social media accounts will also grow. As promotion will go both ways. 

This idea is only the tip of the iceberg of ideas I have for the CCA. Here’s a quick rundown of other suggestions I have; supply CCA marketing materials to members so they can air these spots during clearance and unsold inventory locations on their stations or platforms to help promote our award shows. Constantly providing video packages, b-roll, interviews, and media tools for members to produce their packages for their platforms. Increased communications between studios and members for screenings, interviews, PR releases, and giveaways for the member’s stations/platforms. Scheduling BFCA member-only satellite media tours with PR firms so BFCA members can get exclusive interviews for their platforms. Creating mentorship programs between veterans and newer members for guidance and support. Idea or content pooling for content creation between members in markets that don’t have as much access to content and members that have an overflow. Ways for members to utilize other members as special guests in their markets on their platforms or podcasts. Encouraging cross-promotions between broadcasters within their market on different mediums (i.e., radio to tv) or promotions between BFCA members in different markets. Production resources, training, or workshops so broadcasters can understand other broadcast mediums or enhance their knowledge. Corporate networking for job enhancement, announcements, and market needs, and much more. 

If I become a board member, I will always keep my eyes open and ears to the ground for any new social media platforms, apps, formats, and technologies to help keep the BFCA aligned with trends and a much larger audience. I will also do my best to encourage innovative ways to enhance CCA’s marketing endeavors to support their award shows, social media, and promoting its members. Finally, find ways to strengthen the network and communication between members and studios to help the Broadcast Film Critics become better broadcasters.

 

TERI HART


HI, I’m Teri Hart and I’m thrilled to be running for a seat on the board of the Critics Choice Association. Our organization currently sits at 479 members, close to 500 people, who not only have the best jobs in the world but also help shape pop culture and influence the financial success of movies and tv shows throughout North America. During my tenure as a member of the CCA there has never been a more exciting time to make an impact on our industry.  Studios, publicists and talent have said loud and clear that they don’t want to work with the HFPA, for a variety of reasons. Now is the time to prove to our partners that we, the Critics Choice Association, is who they should work with because we embrace and champion diversity, transparency and integrity.

I have been in the business for over 25 years as a critic and pop culture correspondent in Canadian TV and radio. I have incredibly strong relationships with all of the broadcasters in Canada and I have already been working with Joey to secure a Canadian broadcaster for the Critics Choice Awards. My longevity and connections are a result of hard work, strong relationships and understanding the business of show, all qualities that would make me a valuable addition to the board of the Critics Choice Association. Our relationship with our viewers and listeners is based on trust, a value I hold near and dear. I hope you trust me to help shepherd in a new dawn for our organization that is reflective of the changes in our industry. 

 

LISA JOHNSON MANDELL


Opportunity.

That’s the key word in in the CCA timeline, and I’m all over it.

Opportunity to further diversify our membership and leadership so they more accurately reflect who we truly are.

Opportunity to step into a new level of visibility and accountability, with a real shot at filling the void left in the wake of the Golden Globes debacle.

Opportunity to update and enrich our organization with initiatives like greatly enhanced social media outreach and the creation of a riveting podcast. Also to increase member benefits and mandate consistent, informative messaging from leadership, so that members can choose their ongoing involvement. Your voice needs to be heard!

Opportunity to strengthen and enrich the TV branch by allowing more qualified members of the Film branch to join. Why? Because as one of the original, devoted members of the TV branch and as a leader in the nominations process, I know that the expertise of those film critics who also cover TV is a great asset.

Many of you know me as an advocate for the inclusion of a diverse and talented professional base. I’ve recruited numerous members who have made positive contributions and reflect the diversity of our organization.

As a 16-year member, I’ve consistently presented feedback from many of you, conveying your needs, opinions and contributions to the leadership. 

I’ve taken advantage of opportunities to promote the CCA on USC panels and numerous industry events, going to great lengths to strengthen CCA relationships with studios, press, publicists, sponsors, talent, members and the public in general.

We now have the opportunity to propel the CCA to new levels of visibility, recognition and stature. To do that, we’ll need energetic board members who are tuned in to the dramatic cultural and digital landscape. And who won’t be afraid to advocate for a bold agenda.

You have the opportunity to vote for nine board members. I encourage you to vote for me and the other candidates who accurately reflect who we are, and who fearlessly support what we can become.

Lisa Johnson Mandell
Cumulus/BBC Radio 
ReallyRather.comAtHomeInHollywood.com

 

ED MARTIN


Hello everyone.  As many of you know, I have been a member of the Critics Choice Association since 2012. I became Chair of the Limited Series and TV Movies NomCom immediately after joining and was invited to participate in the Comedy and Drama committees, as well. I continued to Chair committees and participate for several years.

In 2017 I was asked by Joey Berlin and John De Simio to expand my role at CCA by taking on the newly created position of President of the TV Branch. I was subsequently reelected and two years after that I was nominated for a position on the Board which I have held until now.

During that time, I have also been involved with the creation and launch of the Critics Choice Real TV Awards and the Critics Choice Super Awards. I have continued to oversee the organizing of all CCA TV-related NomComs and the execution of all nominee debates for all three events. Throughout, I have identified qualified critics and journalists who specialize in television content and have invited them to join our organization.

In tandem with the current Board, I have been involved in all business decisions for CCA, including the recent decisions to add additional members to the Board, to expand our scope into the international film and television area and to explore new ways of expanding the Critics Choice brand.

I hope to continue doing all of the above, and more, as a member of the Board.

Thank you.

 

JENNIFER MERIN


Greetings Esteemed CCA Colleagues,
 
I’m very happy to see the CCA Board of Directors nomination and election process opened up for new candidates. This is an opportunity for our organization’s leadership to embrace fresh ideas and for all of us to benefit from the recognition of the diverse perspectives and wide range of expertise represented in our membership.

As we enter the upcoming two year term for those elected to serve as Board members, CCA has extraordinary opportunities to attain even greater success and recognition for our awards shows and our cinema celebrations. However, in the wake of the HFPA implosion, our influential organization also faces challenges, pressing demands and close scrutiny that we show greater diversity and inclusivity in CCA’s leadership and membership.

Joey and John have clearly articulated these goals, and I heartily endorse their intentions — especially with regard to the addition of three women to the Board of Directors to fill two newly created Board seats, and the seat that Sara is vacating after years of honorable and highly appreciated service.

I’d like to point out that the membership-wide open election — or, if the current Board’s pre-election endorsements — of three women candidates prevails, the Board will still have a huge gender disparity of twice as many men as there are women. This is the time to change that. This open election can and should achieve results that better serve our constituent membership and present a better CCA image not only to the rapidly evolving entertainment industry, but also to the CCA membership’s wide and varied audiences.
 
With that in mind, I’d like to announce my candidacy for a seat on the Board. If elected, I will bring unique and valuable assets to my service to our organization.
 
As a proactive CCA member, I have worked closely with Joey. John, David Freedman and Chris Campbell to establish, structure and garner recognition for the Documentary Awards show, adding to the shows success and stature by getting documentary luminaries to attend the live events when they were staged in Brooklyn.
 
I have served as Chair, co-Chair and ‘pod’ leader on the nominating committees for the Documentary Awards and Reality Awards shows.  (Please note that mention here of my nomcomm participation is strictly confidential to voting CCA members, as nomcomm members are mandated to remain anonymous to the world at large, and I abide by that rule).
 
I have had very positive and productive discussions with Joey about establishing a ‘CCA Celebrates Women in Film’ event (similar to our Celebration of Black Cinema event) and will work on that project to make it a reality.
  
Additionally, as you may know, parallel to my membership in CCA, as president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, I have for the past 15 years grown AWFJ into an influential force — one that has been fundamental to initiating the current movement towards gender parity, diversity and inclusion. I built and continue to helm AWFJ.org, which is an ongoing, highly esteemed and sought after media platform that amplifies the recognition of women film critics and women filmmakers. Under my leadership, AWFJ is about to launch our online screening series, AWFJ Presents, boosting female-directed films and amplifying the voices of female critics who’ve served as AWFJ Presents curators.

I can proudly report that 31 currently active 93 AWFJ members are also members of the CCA and another 14 women film critics who are currently CCA members previously benefited from AWFJ affiliation. 

The CCA Documentary show, our Reality show and the recognition of diverse women film critics and filmmakers are three of CCA’s major current and ongoing endeavors with which I have direct and effective experience. If elected to our Board of Directors, I will bring that experience to my service to the CCA and to all of you. In seeking your vote, I promise that if elected, I will energetically and loyally serve the CCA and will always be open to members’ suggestions.

Thank you for reading my candidate’s statement and for your consideration. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. And, please vote for me to be a member of the CCA Board of Directors.

Jennifer Merin
[email protected]
949-307-8797

 

SEAN O’CONNELL


My name is Sean O’Connell. I’m the Managing Editor for CinemaBlend, and a proud CCA Board Member since 2007. 

Since 2007, I have worked beyond my membership and sought ways to actively enhance the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s standing in the film community, increasing our impact in the realm of film criticism. My role at the BFCA started as a founding member of the organization’s Film Festival Committee (alongside Jim Ferguson), but I quickly found a strong niche as a Content Producer and social media manager for the BFCA’s official Website (back when it went by the name ReelRave, and hosted several review and interview clips that many of you submitted for us to use… thank you!) Over the years, I managed CriticsChoice.com with Webmaster Lisa Waters, populated the titles that were part of our Weekly Voting system, and built the forums that members used to track screeners each Awards season.

There’s a good chance that our paths crossed if you volunteered to help me in our extensive social media efforts at the Critics Choice Awards program. Thanks to the gracious contributions of countless CCA members, I have been able to lead the social media coverage on the red carpet, on the awards-show floor, and backstage from the CCAs, increasing the show’s reach and boosting our exposure by sharing exclusive photos and videos with audience members watching from home — factors that helped to secure an extended deal with our network partners. 

This past year, at Joey Berlin’s urging, I stepped up and assumed a leadership role for our inaugural SUPER Awards, which were focused on films from popular genres including Animation, Horror, Sci-Fi and Superhero movies. This included running point on the various nomination committees (thank you ALL who volunteered to run a NomCom, or serve on one), as well as working with studios to make sure their eligible films were properly considered. It’s my hope that the SUPER Awards continue to evolve in years to come. 

In the four years I have served on the CCA Board, I’ve also worked closely with Sara Voorhees and Mark Ramsey to fine tune the current metrics used to measure potential members from the Digital and New Media space, helping the CCA to recognize and attract viable candidates who conduct reviews on Websites, podcasts and large YouTube channels. I think it’s extremely important that CCA continues to monitor and grow this next generation of film critics who are using cutting-edge channels to reach larger audiences, keeping our organization relevant as our industry explores new directions. I’d like to continue being the voice on the Board for online press, while also increasing and improving on the work we’ve done regarding social media exposure around the annual CCAs.

 

MOSE PERSICO


Greetings from Montreal, Canada!

Dear CCA Board of Directors,

I have received several emails from Members of the CCA nominating me to serve on your Board of Directors.

Needless to say,  I was humbled by these emails. It was nice to know that thru the years, some Members have taken notice of my skills and professionalism.

Therefore, I would like to declare myself as a candidate for Membership towards your Board of Directors.

Briefly, I have been a BFCA/ CCA  full time member for 30 years now. I guess this classifies me as one of the Founders of our great organization.  

What I would love to bring to The Board and the CCA Membership is a concerted effort to get out Award shows broadcast on Canadian television. It’s time for our organization to sign a Canadian  simulcast Broadcast rights Agreement  with one of the major networks here in Canada. 

In addition to being an on air personality and Reporter for my station, CTV MONTREAL for 37 years and counting,  I have also served as Executive Producer  for several prime time radio and  television shows which were produced here in our city. This experience has given me ample knowledge in dealing with Corporate sponsorships, Network Executives and ofcourse a complete understanding of what makes a great radio and  television show.

I welcome the opportunity of joining our Board of Directors. Respect, Honesty, Dignity, Family and yes, plenty of humor, are words that make up my modus operandi!  

Thank-you

Sincerely,
Mose Persico.

 

MARK RAMSEY


Serving on the board of directors of CCA has been a genuine highlight of my life. The opportunity to help build this organization and advance the goals of its members has been a call to service and an enormous pleasure for which I shall always be grateful.

When I began reviewing movies it was the Wild West of the Internet. My platform was a movie satire site that began with no readers and organically grew to capture the attention of thousands of subscribers and many of America’s best known critics, including the late legends Joel Siegel (who was always quick to generously debate my point of view) and Roger Ebert, who selected my site as one of the top 20 movie review sites on the web at the time, #2 in the category he called “Online Outlaws” (behind the notorious Harry Knowles).

That led to my introduction to a very young Broadcast Film Critics Association and its almost-as-young leader, Joey Berlin.

From the beginning I took an active interest in generating and executing new ideas for what is now CCA and working with the organization to thoughtfully advise on strategy.

The initiative to merge the TV and movie shows into one was something I strongly lobbied for.

The recent introduction of the SUPER Awards came directly from my initial outline.

I was central in bringing our webmaster, Lisa Waters, to CCA and have been working with her closely on digital matters from the beginning of her run to the present. That includes all versions of the website – plus a revamp that is coming in 2022.

I have counseled the board on a wide variety of strategic matters.

I worked closely with our membership team to develop digital standards for new members, a critical process that helps maintain the quality and the prestige of the CCA as we grow.

I have worked with David Freedman to develop a digital-only CCA video series which will launch in 2022.

Until the recent expansion of the board, I was the only board member with regular experience in radio, digital, blog, and podcasting.

I have launched and moderated discussion threads at awards show time and handled any member issues surrounding that process.

In podcasting specifically, I have created, written, narrated and/or produced some of the most popular movie-oriented podcasts in the history of the medium. The INSIDE series for Wondery (Inside JAWS, Inside Psycho, Inside The Exorcist, Inside Star Wars) debuted in the top 10 overall at Apple Podcasts, and several series peaked at #2. Right now I’m producing a series with David Arquette and have a scripted series launching this summer on iHeartRadio that stars David Harbour, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Sarah Wayne Callies. With millions of downloads, I’m proud to bring an unparalleled level of podcasting expertise to CCA.

So what about the future?

The future means more CCA awards show spinoffs aimed at more important niches in the film and TV space. Those must be conceptualized, developed, monetized, published, publicized, and perhaps even aired on broadcast and/or digital.

The future means more CCA members and more communal influence throughout the world of entertainment thanks to continued high membership standards.

The future means more digital-first initiatives from CCA and its members to keep our brand and our shows and our members top-of-mind no matter what season of the year we’re in. What will our digital video series be? What about podcasts? Those are on the drawing board now.

The future means a higher profile for the CCA brand and, I hope, a new name for the award itself.

All in all, I am very proud to be a long-time member of CCA and an almost-as-long-time member of the CCA board.

Thanks for your ongoing support. I will always give you my best as the universe of entertainment continues to evolve and transform. Nothing is more important than staying up with those trends and, where possible, getting ahead of them.

Today, the CCA has the opportunity to become the organization HFPA never was and produce the show the Golden Globes never will be again. I couldn’t be more excited about the challenges that await.

Thanks for your ongoing trust and support.

 

CARLA RENATA


Those who know me can tell you –  I say what I mean and I mean what I say, so let’s get right into it shall we?  I’m Carla Renata aka The Curvy Film Critic shooting my shot in hopes of becoming your most esteemed and honored Board member for the Critic’s Choice Association.  

For me, it’s a simple explanation.  Cinema is like a painting which thousands view, yet, will interpret it a million different ways making each perspective unique.  I thrive at being unique as 

it is that perspective allowing me to navigate within a variety of lanes becoming a cherished, respected and trusted member of our cinematic family, while opening up plethora of possibilities regarding the manner in which cinema was being discussed, reviewed and distributed within our community.  

As a graduate of Howard University, my vital relevance and passion regarding all aspects of filmmaking has presented opportunities to write for Variety, Ebert.com, EUR Web, Shadow and Act and voice my opinion on platforms like Turner Classic Movies, NPR, Good Day LA, KTLA 5, Fox 11 LA, Film Independent, Bentonville Film Festival, American Cinematheque and more.

Being a former corporate and entertainment publicist provides an insight most journalists are not privy to.  Just like an athlete garners an insider knowledge commentating on a game, my years of acting on screen and stage gives me an extremely unique perspective into performances that no other board member can attest to.    

Plus, we can always use some curves to round out the rough edges by using my numerous insider connections with talent and producers above and below the line.   Coupled with years as a fresh voice in digital journalism, it is my intention to inject a plethora of ideas providing CCA with a majorly deserved presence year-round and not just when the Academy Awards become the center of attention.  Yes, it will require hard work, dedication and a Teflon spirit for all those times we don’t prevail.  However, it is through those moments that growth and strength are tested and polished.  Here’s hoping that a good portion of the membership will take a chance on a sista’ to assist in accomplishing exactly that.  

 

SAM RUBIN


I have been a very active member of the “Critics Choice Association” board of directors and would like to continue my advocacy on your behalf.

In 2021 I was personally able to secure broadcast dates on top TV stations all across the country for our “Celebration of Black Cinema.” In the case of the Celebration of Black Cinema, the idea originated from another Critics Choice Association member, Shawn Edwards; but through my connections and experience; I was able to help take his idea to the next level, to the benefit of our entire group. I have worked very hard to make sure that all Critics Choice Association members who want to broadcast live in advance of our big annual “Critics Choice Awards” are able to do so. I have also originated and implemented our fantastic “night before” event, which will return in 2022. These are wonderful and important jobs that we have, and as cliche as it may sound, we are definitely stronger together. I intend to work hard on the return of “in-person” junkets, and improving our relationships with streaming services. More than ever our most important mission, curation, really matters. Audiences are overwhelmed with new material from everywhere and look to our expertise to help them sort out the countless choices. I know how much our audiences value what we do, it is also important to make sure our employers value what we do too. I appreciate your support.  

 

SAMMI TURANO


Hello, my name is Sammi Turano and I am the owner and editor in chief of TVGrapevine. I have been a member of the CCA since 2012 and served on several committees for the Real Awards, Critics Choice Awards and more. I would like to submit my personal statement to be a part of the Board.

I am a 37 year old woman who has been working in the journalism field for the past thirteen years. It was a long, tough road, but one filled with hard work and determination. I came from humble beginnings, and am slowly but surely working my way to the next level of my career.

Being on the Board would be an incredible honor because I not only represent the women in the field, but I also represent the underdogs who have worked hard to get to where they are today. We all have different stories, and I think mine is one of inspiration and hope.

I hope you will consider me for a position on your Board and I look forward to working with you!

Sammi Turano
Owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels
Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi on Facebook Live and YouTube
Alt email: [email protected]

 

KATHIA WOODS


My name is Kathia Woods, and I’m running for a position on the Board of Directors.

I’ve been covering the entertainment industry for over ten years. I started in this field before the internet, when hip hop was still in its infancy, covering it. Due to financial constraints, I took a regular job but continued to write on the side.

I began covering movies and television six years ago by chance. I’m running because there’s a lot of discussion about diversity, but our Board doesn’t reflect that. The presence of two African Americans does not scream true diversity. Having women on the Board is similar, but it does not solve the issue of representation. The other issue is that our industry is evolving. Full-time art and entertainment jobs are hard to come by, and when they do, it’s not for people of color. Our industry is thriving thanks to entrepreneurship, or small to medium-sized websites that have sprung up to fill the need. These websites frequently feature marginalized people, such as me. I established my website eight years ago because I was fed up with advocating for Black/Latinx talent and pleading for our stories to be shared. It’s not easy work, but it’s allowed me to tell many stories that might otherwise have gone unheard.

 In terms of leadership experience, I’ve been running my site for eight years, and we’ve grown from a few hundred visitors to 52K last month. I’m pleased to report that our audience is multinational, which corresponds to my professional history. I previously worked as a Bank Manager in a regional office where I managed a team of 25 people and generated $2 million in monthly deposits. At Vanguard (Business Development) and Bank of NY Mellon (Retirement), I also oversaw multimillion-dollar accounts. After assisting my clients through the 2008 financial crisis, I have demonstrated my ability to lead and handle crises.

Critics’ Choice is expanding its membership and expanding internationally; nonetheless, several ethnicities are lacking from the Board. Many of the members are also multifaceted. Their identities are intertwined. For example, I am Afro-Latina. Even though we are America’s fastest-growing community, this group has never had a Latinx board member.

Members of color, the majority of whom are freelancers, confront unique challenges, and many lack the support they require at various sources.

Diversity isn’t simply about filling quotas; it’s also about acting. We have the members, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have more individuals of color on the Board, to bring the organization into the modern era. I recognize that for this organization to thrive, we must do a better job of recruiting younger members and aiding young people who want to be mentored into this field.

Because of my atypical experience, I am more aware of the requirements of many of our new members face than of the incumbent Board members who have spent more than a decade working in traditional venues.

I’d like to see us improve our communication with the membership.

Our industry is already being tested, and we will no longer be able to do the bare minimum after the events of 2020.

I’ve only been a member of CCA for two years, but throughout that time I’ve assisted with the nomination of CCA Documentary Awards and Super Awards. At our most recent in-person awards show, I also worked the red carpet/green room for CCA social media.

I’ve been the coordinator of AAFCA roundtables for over a year as an AAFCA member. I’ll fight as hard for each member as I do for myself and those who look like me. I’m passionate about our group and believe we have a chance to create the change that our business so desperately needs.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

[email protected]
Kathia Woods
610-564-0159

 

22 responses to Personal Statement Submissions

  1. I support Jennifer Merin, I had a conversation with her and I believe she could be an incredibly valuable asset for the BFCA Board.

  2. Hi folks, just wanted to throw my support between two candidates I know well — Lisa Johnson Mandell and Hillary Atkin. I don’t support them just because I consider them friends, but because I’ve had many discussions with them about the current state of the organization and heard their ideas for moving it forward (which you can read in their statements).

    Let me just highlight Lisa Johnson Mandell here, because I’ve had more extensive conversations with her on this topic than I have with anyone else — and I’m also one of the “diverse” members she mentions recruiting, so I’m proof she puts her money where her mouth is.

    Something else about Lisa I hope many of you have had the chance to experience directly — she believes in involving membership in the big decisions, as is evident in her championing of nomination committees for the awards. She has run many of these committees and worked to make sure everyone on them is heard. Her leadership style is light, even-handed, constructive and inclusive. It’s proof she doesn’t believe in ruling by fiat; she genuinely wants our input. She has pushed for committees in the film nominations as well because she understands our value as an organization is in our expertise — as a group of professionals with well-informed opinions.

    I think she should not only be on the board, but be running the thing. Please check out her statement. Thanks for reading this one.

  3. I just want to say that say that It’s very disturbing to see members in leadership positions backing existing board members. Everyone is free to support whom they like however this is not how fair elections operate. I just want to point out that certain folks have been in leadership positions for quite some time. I am not going to include myself for a second but point out that many of the people running are that aren’t on the board are class A candidates and deserve your attention. Just because they aren’t endorsed by the Board doesn’t mean you would be getting lesser leadership. So you have the opportunity today to take CCA in a new direction so don’t feel you have to go with the old because the leaders are backing each other. I am personally disappointed that leadership took that avenue and so are many of my fellow CCA members.

  4. I will be voting for Clayton Davis. I believe his experience and goals for the organization would be a tremendous asset to the CCA.

    • I am voting for Jennifer as well. In addition for voting for Shawn Edwards, I would love to see Clayton Davis, Lisa Johnson Mandell and Carla Renata get a shot on the Board.

  5. Thank you Terri I appreciate your support. Have a a great day

  6. Exactly this isn’t communism we are not obligated to go with the establishment. We are an organization of journalist and are all capable of researching and deciding for ourselves whom we should vote for.

  7. Thanks most sincerely to all who’ve expressed their support for me in this thread of comments, and to all who’ve sent emails and/or called with support and suggestions. I am honored by your consideration and your confidence in me.

    This is an important election in which crucial issues are being considered. CCA derives its strength, relevance and significance from its members. Please encourage everyone to vote for the candidates who will carry through with the representation and responsiveness that all of the CCA members demand and deserve.

    When the votes are in, I do hope to be one of your Board of Directors so that I can serve you well.

  8. I support Clayton Davis, Jennifer Merin and Ed Martin- three competent people. I voted for more but felt these three needed a special shoutout for their overarching experience and professionalism.

  9. I’m glad Kathia said something. I found that rather curious that existing board members were allowed to Email the membership to support their own candidates.

    • H there… I just wanted to clarify that ALL Members running for a Board seat were given access to the Member email database to use for their campaign.

  10. I also hope when the results are revealed we see a tally of the votes. That’s how it’s with all elections.

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