The Molly Holtzinger Aspiring Filmmaker Award

In memory of Molly Michaela Holtzinger and her tenacious, fierce, empowering drive to make the world a better, more accessible place for female (and all underrepresented) creators to live and work in, her family and friends organized a memorial fund on her behalf to benefit the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Every day of Molly’s life was an active and intentional work of art to her. She filmed everything she did. She wrote down every thought, she wrote songs, she wrote movies, she wrote TV shows, she made podcasts. In fact, Geena Davis was often referred to as the “patron saint” of Molly’s podcast, The Lady Parts, because all the things that mattered to Geena and to the institute mattered deeply to Molly. She was able to recognize, understand, and harness the philosophy that we are all tellers of our own stories. She told her stories and the stories of those she loved constantly and passionately, and though we miss the one she was telling, we hope that her memory can live as a beacon of inspiration for those who wish to tell their own.

Molly Michaela Holtzinger

With the continuation of The Molly Holtzinger Aspiring Filmmaker Award program at the 2023 Bentonville Film Festival, young women filmmakers will be able to have their work seen. They will be inspired to write their stories and to tell their truths. They will know that their voices are important. What Molly believed above all is that we individually mattered: the things we said, the things we did, and the art we made out of all of it. These filmmakers will know that they matter.

Molly’s legacy will live on in all those she touched with her talent, her joy, her light, her love, and now, with our shared hope for a future Molly would want us all to live in: one where women are seen, heard, believed, supported, and celebrated.

The Molly Holtzinger Aspiring Filmmaker Award program at the 2023 Bentonville Film Festival will allow for a dedicated space where young women can feel empowered to write stories about themselves and the people, places, and events that matter to them. During the 9th annual BFF, this program will encourage and spotlight young women filmmakers nationally. Submissions for the program will open November 14, 2022 films will be selected for screening at the festival and the winner will be announced after the program.

Submitter Requirements:

  • Must identify as a woman that is enrolled in a high school or college in the United States, ages 16-26
  • Film must be a short documentary project no more than 10 minutes long.
  • No film production experience or training is required; the project can be filmed on a smartphone
  • Prompts for the film:
  • “What inspires you to be a filmmaker? It could be a place where you have traveled, something in nature, a special relationship with a change maker or mentor, a significant life event, etc. Let your story reflect your personality in telling how your subject affected you.”

Submit Your Films Here!


November 14, 2022 – Submissions Open

March 7, 2023 – Submissions Close

May 1, 2022 – Notification Date

June 2022 – Screening of Program at BFF 2022 and Award Announcement