Bentonville Film Festival Review – Highlighting the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Media

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 20: Panlelists Janina Gavankar (L-R) Colman Domingo, Anika Noni Rose and Jay Ellis attend the second annual Cocktails and Conversation event presented by the Bentonville Film Festival and Google at the DirecTV Lodge presented by AT&T during Sundance Film Festival 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival)
Panlelists Janina Gavankar (L-R) Colman Domingo, Anika Noni Rose and Jay Ellis attend the second annual Cocktails and Conversation event presented by the Bentonville Film Festival and Google at the DirecTV Lodge presented by AT&T during Sundance Film Festival 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival)

Recently Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, BFF, returned to the Sundance Film Festival for much needed cocktails and conversation. BFF strives to champion diverse voices in media, and this event proved to strengthen its mission. Presented by AT&T and in partnership with Google, BFF held their second annual Cocktails and Conversation event right on Main Street.

Elizabeth Wagmeister moderates a panel at the second annual Cocktails and Conversation event presented by the Bentonville Film Festival and Google at the DirecTV Lodge presented by AT&T during Sundance Film Festival 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival)

The powerful panel discussion covering the importance of diversity and inclusion, especially the need for more female and diverse characters on-screen and how that influences society off-screen included talent participation from Colman Domingo, Jay Ellis, Janina Gavankarand was moderated by Variety/Page Six’s Elizabeth Wagmeister.

Over the years women and minorities in film have been a major underrepresentation and unfortunately the conversation is more relevant today than ever.

Jay Ellis (L) listens as Anika Noni Rose speaks at the second annual Cocktails and Conversation event presented by the Bentonville Film Festival and Google at the DirecTV Lodge presented by AT&T during Sundance Film Festival 2018 on January 20, 2018 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival)

“We all spend money the same, (and) the amount of time I have seen a movie without anyone that doesn’t look like me – is hilarious,” stated Anika Noni Rose. “If our money is paying for a ticket, we deserve to be able to see ourselves in the film.” Added Gavankar,  it’s time to “tell the stories you wish were told to you.”

(Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival)

Jay Ellis’ showed his support at the event and touched on sexual harassment in the work place. “We need to call each other out more rather than continue to do it,” stated Ellis. “In the long haul we have to teach our young men and women to respect. We need to call it out now,” continued Domingo.

Guests in attendance enjoyed cocktails, light bites from Craig’s, and glam touch-ups courtesy of sponsor EcoTools Makeup Brushes.

BFF continues to shed light on pressing issues while hoping to bridge the gap with diversity and inclusion in media and all walks of life.

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