AWFJ Welcomes Ten New Members in 2020 – Jennifer Merin reports

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is welcoming ten outstanding female film journalists as new members, starting in January 2020. They are film critics, commentators and reporters who hail from around the world and represent a wide range of media platforms, including popular and erudite publications, daily newspapers and other print journals, broadcast and online outlets.

AWFJ accepts very few new members each year. Congrats to those who are joining us in 2020, and sincerest apologies to the many highly qualified women whose applications we could not accommodate this year.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the 2020 new members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists:

JESSICA KIANG is a Berlin-based freelance film critic with regular bylines in Variety, Sight & Sound and The Playlist, where she was also Features Editor for the five years it was part of Indiewire. She is a veteran of festival juries from Iceland to Cairo to Toronto, and regularly attends all the major European and Asian film festivals.
TARA McNAMARA has carved out a niche as a movie journalist with expertise in family films, including serving as the Fandango’s Film Mom and a Common Sense Media movie critic. She led the recurring Reel Moms segment on Today, was Variety‘s news anchor on Sirius Radio and a regular contributor to The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and Inside Edition. She currently runs and co-hosts the ’80s Movies: A Guide to What’s Wrong with Your Parents podcast.
APRIL NEALE is an entertainment writer and television critic. Neale has read her work both on NPR and ‘Spoken Interludes’, and has previously written for various industry trades and entertainment websites. Neale has written for Monsters and Critics since 2003, and is an editor and main contributor to the TV, Film and Culture (formerly Lifestyle) sections.
LYNNETTE NICHOLAS graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in English Literature with an emphasis on Theater Studies and Africana Studies. Lynnette reviews films for Common Sense Media and other outlets. She has several years of experience as an educator, and works as a NYC-based freelance writer covering entertainment, culture, women, black women, faith and millennial parenting.
SHERIN NICOLE is the chief creative & chief marketing officer [read: agent provocateur] at idobi Network, where she is also the executive editor and writes film/television reviews. Her musings on film have appeared on The and Additionally, Sherin is a frequent contributor to several radio shows on which she gets nerdy about film and entertainment. This is includes Geek Girl Riot, the radio show she created and produces.
CARLA RENATA is the creator and host of The Curvy Critic, which streams live on Sundays. A member of CCA and AAFCA, her commentaries are also on Black Film Live and she’s a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. Carla is a graduate of Howard University, where she obtained a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Multi-talented, she’s also an actress and singer with an impressive list of credits on stage and screen.
JULIA SWIFT can be seen weekly reviewing movies on on FOX44/ABC22 and read on Rotten Tomatoes. After writing for network television and directing award winning shorts, she realized her favorite part of working in media was talking about film with people as obsessed as she is, and made the switch to reviewing. She is also an assistant professor at Champlain College in Vermont.
JAZZ TANGCAY grew up with a love for film. Her early recollections include Kramer V Kramer, The King and I and Sleeping Beauty. She started writing for So So Gay in the UK. When she moved to LA, Jazz wrote for Awards Daily, covering interviews, awards season and writing FYC pieces. Jazz recently joined Variety where she is Artisans Editor.
SHARRONDA WILLIAMS is the creator of and creator, host, and producer of YouTube Channel Pay or Wait. She’s an approved critic and co-hosts The B-Roll podcast about film and television. She’s appeared on radio shows to discuss film and television and served on Rotten Tomatoes’ Your Opinion Sucks panels at film festivals. She’s a member of Critics Choice Association, African American Film Critics Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, and Georgia Film Critics Association.

KATHIA WOODS is a movie critic/entertainment journalist out of Philadelphia, PA. She’s the creator of CupofSoulShow, an online outlet that covers minority creatives in film, television, and music. She’s a contributor to Mark and Denise in The Morning on 860 A.M WWDBAM.Com, and has covered Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and Philadelphia Film Festivals. Kathia was born in Munic,h Germany but is of Brazilian descent. She is fluent in five languages and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).