Critical Crop Top Media is a production company based out of Atlanta, Georgia that develops and produces films, web content, and live events that amplify the stories of women and Atlanta artists whose voices are typically not represented in mainstream television and film. Critical Crop Top Media uses its platform to elevate women's stories beyond the typical tropes of the sacrificial, supportive sister/wife/daughter or the "strong female character", to create multidimensional female characters that echo the diverse and complex experiences of real women. We believe it's vital to create space in the film industry for women and non-binary creators and to hire them in key leadership positions.
Critical Crop Top was formed in 2016 by Nicole Kemper, Hillary R. Heath, and Sarah Alison Hodges with the goal of producing content from an intersectional feminist perspective and to create opportunities for women and other underrepresented voices to provide social commentary in a comedic light. In their first three years, Nicole, Hillary, and Sarah produced and released comedy shorts and web series written and directed by women, including Vera’s Workplace Sensitivity Training, Dick Pic Professional, 80s Dating Video Remix, and PYTs Webshow. Nicole, Hillary, and Sarah also hosted a weekly podcast, The Feminine Mistake, which took a critical and comedic look at how women have been portrayed in film and ran for three seasons.
In October 2016, Critical Crop Top produced its first live comedy show - a program comprised of sketches written in a collaborative effort between eight artists, and which also included performances by spoken words artists and guest musical performers. More live shows followed, including Artificially Intelligent, Critical Crop Top Does Real Theatre, Afterlife, Feminine AF, Critical Crop Top Enters the Multiverse, and Critical Crop Top Saves America. Each show was written and developed by the ensemble and showcased a diverse cast of socially conscious comedians, actors, writers, and directors. Sketches from these shows were performed at The Melting Pot Show at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, The Good Gracious Variety Show, and Mark Kendall’s Cool Cool Cool Comedy Show. We were honored to be recipients of a grant from the Puffin Foundation in 2018.
Critical Crop Top Today
Now overseen by writer/executive producer, Nicole Kemper, Critical Crop Top Media continues its mission to create space for new and exciting voices. In 2020, our sketch comedy web series, Critical Crop Top’s Sketch Comedy Web Show, was written by an ensemble of five writer/director/performers and featured a diverse cast of some of our favorite Atlanta actors. Due to Covid-19, everything was shot virtually with some additional footage being shot by actors or our prop master in their homes. Nicole and Sarah continue to examine the portrayal of women in popular media on The Feminine Mistake Podcast and co-host The Adam and Andy Podcast, an irreverent look at fame and fandom focusing on the filmographies of Adam Driver and Andy Samberg.
Critical Crop Top today has a renewed focus on developing and producing films and series through our film producing entity Critical Crop Top Films. Our short film, The Parts That Stay completed a successful festival run in 2022, winning Best Comedy Short Film and Best Georgia Short Film at the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival in 2021. Our latest short film, Could This Have Been An Email, about three coworkers terrified by the possibility of talking to a customer on the phone, is currently touring the festival circuit. We wrapped production on the short film A Grim Diagnosis in 2022, and we are in post-production. We are also in development on a series, Mr. Pleasure, and the feature film, The Legend of Bog Man.
Could This Have Been An Email premiered in From Atlanta With Love at the historic Plaza Theater in July 2022. The hour-long showcase featured some of the best of the Georgia film community with a program celebrating women and LGBTQ+ creatives. The event was a co-production between Critical Crop Top Films and Studio Vosges. Organizers Nicole and Ava Davis look forward to producing similar events in the future.
On producing an event that highlights the Atlanta film community, writer/executive producer Nicole Kemper says, “Georgia has been a big destination for filming but I don’t know if Hollywood sees the immense talent that is here writing, directing, creating - we really wanted to celebrate that. The work that’s coming out of this community is really exciting.”
Photo credit: Seth Tatum, Julie Jones Ivey