Bentonville Film Festival Foundation and the Coca-Cola Foundation have announced the “See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship,” an annual fellowship designed to offer expansive developmental support for filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities. Eight Bentonville Film Festival Alumni have been selected for the inaugural program, which will include professional support from peers, entertainment industry leaders and major corporate changemakers, in addition to financial backing.

“The See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship was born from the belief that major change will occur only when passion has the opportunity to align with both platform and purpose,” said Wendy Guerrero, President of Programming for the Bentonville Film Festival.“With this fellowship, we aim to further opportunities for storytellers to achieve success by opening ports of access historically closed to women, people with disabilities, people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities. This cohort of filmmakers has been selected because of their distinct voices and because they are ready to take the next steps in shaping their own narratives.”

“Only four percent of the top one-hundred grossing films are from female filmmakers—and this statistic has not changed in over a decade,” said Geena Davis, co-founder of the Bentonville Film Festival and founder and chair of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. When the images we see in our daily lives do not accurately reflect the world in which we live a powerful and unconscious bias is perpetuated. Together with the Coca Cola Foundation, the

Bentonville Film Festival Foundation is prepared and proud to accelerate movements of change by amplifying female voices, addressing pipeline issues and providing support that is both creative and financial.”

At Coca-Cola Foundation, our mission is to distribute grants to people who play a critical role in projects and initiatives that help bring change and improvements to communities, said Helen Smith Price, Vice President, Global Community Affairs, The Coca-Cola Company and President, Coca Cola Foundation. “We feel that by supporting these Bentonville Film Festival artists, we are funding a program that helps to elevate the community and beyond.”

The 2020 fellows are Amber McGinnis (International Falls), McKenzie Chinn (Olympia), Emily Ting (Go Back To China), Dawn Valadez (The Pushouts), Jenna Laurenzo (Lez Bomb), Ursula Taherian (The Brownlist), Fanny Veliz (Our Quinceañera) and Diane Paragas (Yellow Rose). The filmmakers will be recognized at the 2020 Bentonville Film Festival, April 29-May 2, in Bentonville Arkansas, and throughout the year at the BFF Monday Movie program with Visit Bentonville.

About the Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please visit