The 12th Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, which celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of storytellers, unveiled America Ferrera (“Superstore”), Mariska Hargitay (“Law & Order: SVU”), Chrissy Metz (2017 Emmy® Award nominee for “This Is Us”) and Lena Waithe (2017 Emmy® Award nominee for “Master of None”) as its first-ever ambassadors. The ambassadors will serve as advocates for the festival and join the judging panel of talent and NBC executives who will determine the festival’s award winners for Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Comedy and Outstanding Director, among others. Included in this year’s diverse group of producers, writers, actors and executives on the judging panel are NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe, Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Just Wright), Sakina Jaffrey (“Timeless,” “The Mindy Project”), Allen Maldonado (“Black-ish,” “Survivor’s Remorse”), Victor Turpin (“Shades of Blue”) and Masi Oka (“Hawaii Five-0,” “Heroes”).
The festival also named its nine finalist shorts: Akashi, Audible Static, Couples: Movie Night, Cul-De-Sac, Emergency, Groundhog Day for a Black Man, Lost Dogs, Misery Loves Company: Pussy and Pop Rox. The finalist shorts set a new festival record for female and Asian-American representation; six of the nine finalist shorts were either written or directed by women and six of the films feature Asian-American stories or writer-directors. The finalist shorts were selected from among 16 semi-finalists shorts that were showcased at public screenings in New York last month.
“We are incredibly honored to have such high caliber talent as our inaugural festival ambassadors. America, Mariska, Chrissy and Lena along with our amazing judging panel embody the spirit of our Short Film Festival. Their commitment to and advocacy of underrepresented storytellers complement our festival’s mission to shine a spotlight on diverse filmmakers and inclusive stories that best represent the world in which we live,” said Karen Horne, SVP of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “We are also thrilled with our nine finalist shorts. These compelling stories present unique viewpoints on the universal themes of identity, love and acceptance. We are excited to celebrate them and the filmmakers behind them at the finale event.”
The films and filmmakers will be recognized at the finale screening and awards ceremony on October 18, 2017 at the Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets can be reserved at the festival website.