Bentonville Film Fest and Coca-Cola Fund Female Filmmakers – Betsy Bozdech reports

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Bentonville Film Festival and the Coca-Cola Foundation are partnering to support female filmmakers with the brand-new “See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship.” The program is specifically intended to support filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities and is fully aligned with the BFF’s “Include” approach to diversifying film from the ground up.

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 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.

We were lucky enough to interview two of the first group of fellows — Amber McGinnis and Dawn Valadez at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival.

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Betsy Bozdech

Betsy Bozdech is the Executive Editor of Common Sense, for which she also reviews films. Her film reviews and commentaries also appear on and