I’ve always been passionate about telling stories the world needs to hear. That’s one of many reasons I chose to partner with the Bentonville Film Festival—because I believe in their mission: to champion women and diverse voices in media.
Together, we are solving into a Hollywood epidemic: the lack of inclusion and diversity in mainstream media and the cultural call for more.
In front of the camera, only 31% of speaking characters in top-grossing films are female and only 13% of leading characters in films are people of color. Behind the camera, minorities represent only 12% of directors and 7.6% of writers.
It’s an enormous feat to take on, but here are three ways BFF is changing the game:
- BFF has created a powerful platform for filmmakers and content creators to share their rich, unique stories. In media, who is telling the story is just as important as the story being told. BFF is celebrating inclusion and producing career opportunities for all of the creative storytellers who don’t feel seen or heard. BFF isn’t just acknowledging women and diverse voices – they are championing them, bringing us closer to the marginalized voices absent from mainstream media.
- BFF is the ONLY film festival that guarantees distribution. By joining forces with broadcast and distribution partners like Lifetime, Starz, Walmart, and VUDU, BFF offers broad distribution packages to the winning films. This means that more types of films and TV shows are being delivered to a mass audience, giving greater visibility to diverse stories.
- BFF is leveraging research to measure, learn and change the current storytelling system. In order to respond to the cultural call for more inclusive media, we must first understand the current media landscape. With the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, BFF is using research to educate the industry and audiences. BFF is actively working to create better solutions to today’s diversity issues in media in order to better reflect the world we live in for today’s and future generations.
We all crave stories that resonate on a deeper level. We all want to see our world and our experiences reflected in the media we consume – it reminds us we’re not alone.
The stories we see and hear matter. If you can see it, you can be it.