The Los Angeles Film Critics Association congratulates Kristen Huizar and Alci Rengifo as the 2019 recipients of the LAFCA Ruth Batchelor Scholarship, supported by Rotten Tomatoes.

The award was established in honor of the organization’s founder Ruth Batchelor to encourage and support aspiring film critics. This year, thanks to the generous backing of Rotten Tomatoes, LAFCA is presenting two scholarships: one to a woman and another to a person from an underrepresented group or groups.

Kristen Huizar, aka La Virgen, is a part-time artist, student, and worker based out of Los Angeles who commutes via biking and trains. When she isn’t at work, she dedicates time to watching as many films as possible, even if she’s already seen them several times. On her daily commute to work, she draws or reads on the train to pass the time. As a result of taking a film class a couple of years ago, she became inspired to continue writing about film and sharing reviews on social media and through the Philly-based podcast collective Cinepunx. The lack of diversity among professional film critics motivates her to write and provide her perspective as a working-class woman of color in order to provide a broader perspective in film discussion. When she isn’t discussing film, working, or going to school, she travels with her friends, partner, and pup on road trips.

The son of immigrants from Colombia and El Salvador, Alci Rengifo discovered his passion for film and writing at a very young age. When at the age of 13 he was first given by his parents one of the late Roger Ebert’s massive review collections, he became entranced with the art of criticism and has pursued that passion ever since. While studying film and journalism at Santa Monica College, he has also served as the campus school newspaper editor, which in turn led to his first forays into the world of freelance criticism. While pursuing his academic studies, he has been published in such outlets as the Los Angeles Review of Books and currently freelances for the emerging publications Entertainment Voice and Riot Material, which has given him the opportunity to interview major industry figures and review films of every voice and genre.

Huizar and Rengifo will receive their $3,000 awards, plus Fandango and FandangoNOW gift cards, at the 45th annual LAFCA awards ceremony on Saturday, January 11, 2019, at the InterContinental, Los Angeles.