The Critics Choice Association (CCA) Women’s Committee is pleased to announce that “Emily” (Bleecker Street), “Harlem” (Amazon Prime Video) and “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” (Disney Channel, Disney+) will receive the Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment. Called the “SOFEE,” the Seal recognizes outstanding new films and television series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.
Written and directed by Frances O’Connor, “Emily” is a haunting and powerful imagination of Emily Brontë’s life, exploring the challenges and expectations Brontë faced as a woman of that era, repressed by society but striving toward artistic freedom. “Emily” is visually stunning, with cinematographer Nanu Segal capturing the gothic atmosphere that so richly inspired Brontë’s legendary novel “Wuthering Heights,” and many more works that followed. In addition to telling the powerful story of one of the most important authors in history, star Emma Mackey brilliantly portrays Brontë’s arduous path to discover herself and her sexuality, which reflects many struggles women can relate to today. “Emily” expands to wide release in theaters today.
“I think it’s wonderful that things like the SOFEE exist,” said O’Connor. “It’s important and necessary to find ways to help women filmmakers be recognized and find their voice!”
“Harlem” is a female-led scripted comedy series following four ambitious best friends as they navigate life in New York City. Created and written by Tracy Oliver with a majority of female writers and directors, the diverse cast features Meagan Good, Jerrie Johnson, Grace Byers, and Shoniqua Shandai as NYU grads now in their 30s. These women are trying to balance their careers, love lives, and the ups and downs of life in Harlem. The show offers the different perspectives of each woman, while highlighting the bonds they have with each other. Every character is relatable with fun, bold, and educational storylines exploring such topics as racism, family dynamics, identity, and self care. The Season 2 finale of “Harlem” premieres today on Prime Video.
“It’s so exciting to see ‘Harlem’ honored in this way by the Critics Choice Association’s Women’s Committee, alongside the other films and television series that highlight female-driven stories,” said Oliver. “This season we aimed to showcase Black joy and our leading ladies learning to accept their version of womanhood, whatever form that takes, even if it’s outside of what society dictates. Working with such a strong, creative group of women both in front of and behind the camera allows ‘Harlem’ to be authentic in the female perspective, and this is something that really resonates with our audience. It is our hope that the presence of this show sparks further conversations about the importance of female-centric narratives and accurate portrayals that bring more of our voices to the table.”
Based on the popular Marvel comic books of the same name, “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” follows 13-year-old supergenius Lunella Lafayette, voiced by Diamond White. Together with her 10-ton T-Rex she accidentally brought into present-day New York City, they work to protect the Lower East Side from danger. Lunella offers a refreshing presence in the Marvel universe, a Black girl whose only superpower is her brain. Centered on supportive familial relationships and female friendship, the stories give girls of color a chance to see themselves reflected on-screen as powerful contributors to their community. With an appealing and original animation style that utilizes luminescent and vibrant color, the series serves as inspiration for young viewers to enhance their skills in the STEM field. The series is streaming on Disney+ and new episodes premiere on Disney Channel on Saturday mornings.
“Our entire team is deeply humbled by this meaningful recognition,” said “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” executive producers Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and Steve Loter. “From the beginning, our passion for promoting female, family, and ethnic diversity has been a driving force behind bringing this special show to life. It’s important to us that all children feel like they are seen, that they matter, and that their life experience is valued and limitless.”
All three projects received a perfect score in the numerical formula that is used to determine if new titles, nominated by CCA Women’s Committee members, are eligible for a SOFEE. Qualifying projects will have a prominent female character arc, give female characters at least equal screen time to male characters, have female leaders behind the scenes, and pass elements highlighted in the Bechdel test. To be considered, new film and television releases must possess an artistic and storytelling value and exceptionality, and score at least 7 out of a possible 10 points in the SOFEE rubric, which can be found at CriticsChoice.com. There are no limits or quotas governing the number of SOFEE seals the CCA may grant.
The Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment is issued by the CCA Women’s Committee. Members include Tara McNamara (Chair), Hillary Atkin, Semira Ben-Amor, Christina Birro, Lauren Bradshaw, Jamie Broadnax, TJ Callahan, Catalina Combs, Natasha Gargiulo, Toni Gonzales, Teri Hart, Susan Kamyab, Destiny Jackson, Louisa Moore, Gayl Murphy, Mary Murphy, Patricia Puentes, Amanda Salas, Rachel Smith, Sammi Turano, and Lynn Venhaus, Lauren Veneziani, as well as CCA board member Paulette Cohn.