$45,000 Awarded From Mars Through The M&M’S For All Funkind Grant, and the See It, Be It, Make it Filmmaker Grant presented by NBC Universal

10th Annual Bentonville Film Festival to take place from June 10-16, 2024

BENTONVILLE, AR (March 19, 2024) – Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Foundation (BFFoundation), announced the second annual beneficiaries of their two filmmaking grants totaling $45,000. A BFF alumni shorts filmmaker, Gabrielle Roberts, was awarded the M&M’S For All Funkind Grant totaling $20,000 and the team behind the upcoming indie feature Nuked received a $25,000 grant for the  See It, Be It, Make It Filmmaker Grant presented by NBCUniversal. The BFFoundation is a non-profit organization focused year-round on promoting underrepresented voices of women and diverse storytellers of the Bentonville Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary from June 10-16, 2024.

“BFFoundation is thrilled to be furthering its mission supporting the production of inclusive content by awarding funding that directly aids these emerging filmmakers,” said Drea Clark, newly appointed Artistic Director of Bentonville Film Festival. “It’s incredibly rewarding to see our valued partnerships with these global brands continue to impact creators, and we look forward to growing our annual grant programs and initiatives as we prepare for the festival’s 10th anniversary this June.”

The M&M’S For All Funkind Grant, was given to Gabrielle Roberts, whose previous short screened as part of the 2022 Bentonville Film Festival. That film, To Go To the Moon U.S.A. follows a young woman rescuing the Apollo 8 mission from the life-threatening error NASA said would never happen, was based on a true story. The award includes a $20,000 production grant for her new short film Level Up, with the film premiering upon completion at a future Bentonville Film Festival. Additionally, Roberts will be given the opportunity to work with the M&M’S team on a project for the iconic brand, focused on championing fun to help everyone feel included.

“The M&M’S brand is committed to creating a world where everyone feels they belong, a world that is for all funkind,” said Jane Hwang, General Manager Global M&M’S. “We’re thrilled to be able to help more people feel connected through the power of entertainment, by spotlighting up-and-coming filmmakers and creators.”

The See It, Be It, Make It Filmmaker Grant, in partnership with NBCUniversal, was presented to the filmmaking team behind upcoming indie Nuked: producers Julie Christeas and Daryl Freimark, along with Deena Kashper in her feature directorial debut. Currently in post-production and filmed in its entirety in Bentonville, Nuked received a $25,000 unrestricted grant and the opportunity to screen at a future Bentonville Film Festival. Starring Anna Camp, Justin Bartha, Lucy Punch, George Young, Ignacio Serricchio, Tawny Newsome, Maulik Pancholy, Stephen Guarino and Natasha Leggero, the film follows several couples convening for a cannabis-fueled birthday dinner at a lavish estate, when alerts suddenly sound of a nuclear missile headed their way.

In addition to award-winning short films, commercials and branded entertainment, Deena Kashper directed and executive produced acclaimed pilot, Baby Love (SXSW). Producer Julia Christeas’ recent films include Black Bear (starring Aubrey Plaza) and The Surrogate (SXSW). Daryl Freimark is a Film Independent Spirit Award nominated Producer for two-part feature A Bread Factory, and also recently produced Giving Birth to a Butterfly, and Neil LaBute’s House of Darkness.

“NBCUniversal has been a proud sponsor of the See It, Be It, Make It Filmmaker Grant, since 2022, which was established to recognize and support up-and-coming filmmakers and their unique and diverse perspectives”, said Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal. “Congratulations to the team behind Nuked for this honor, and to Geena, Wendy and the entire team at The Bentonville Film Festival for an incredible decade of impact on the industry.”


BFFoundation is a non-profit organization focused on promoting underrepresented voices of diverse storytellers. The core mission is to champion female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, API, and persons with disabilities’ voices in entertainment and media, through research, education, and supporting the production and distribution of inclusive content.

The foundation believes that by taking real action with content creators, talent, influencers, advertisers, and content distributors, we can accurately reflect the gender balance and diversity of our country. Our goal is to create a seismic change in how media inspires young minds to do great things.

Along with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the foundation also partners with schools and community institutions to educate the challenging effects of stereotyping, unconscious bias, and representation imbalance of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and persons with disabilities. We also utilize media-based tools and content to build positive association and equality-based learning models.

BFFoundation is focused on working with its partners to foster inclusivity in media and entertainment to produce a positive influence in the community at large.

For more information, visit bentonvillefilm.org.