UAPB Students Behind the Scenes at 2024 Bentonville Film Fest

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For the second consecutive year, four students from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) were selected to apprentice at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) as part of the BET- Paramount Content for Change initiative. Wendy Guerrero, President of the BFF Foundation and Bentonville Film Festival, extended this unique opportunity to foster diverse storytelling and provide hands-on experience in the film production industry.

The selected UAPB students were Kaionta Dabney, a junior majoring in Visual Arts; Nicholas Norfolk, Jr., a junior majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing; Braylin Perkins, a senior Visual Arts major and Paramount Content for Change alumnus from the 2023 BFF Festival; and Jada Tolbert, a sophomore majoring in Multimedia Communications.

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These aspiring professionals spent a week in Bentonville, Arkansas, at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival, engaging with industry experts and exploring opportunities to champion more inclusive narratives in media.  Chaired by Academy Award® winner Geena Davis (pictured left), the Bentonville Film Festival is an annual event promoting inclusion in all media. The BFFoundation, a 501c3, produces the festival in partnership with founding partner Walmart and presenting partner Coca-Cola. Held annually in Bentonville, Arkansas, and online, BFF remains a beacon for diversity and representation in the entertainment industry.

“Through the Content for Change initiative, UAPB students are empowered to think about how they can dismantle societal narratives that perpetuate racism and hate,” said Frank D. Dorsey, II, UAPB Dean for Student Involvement & Leadership. “We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and the BFF Foundation to provide these exceptional students with the platform to influence the future of media and storytelling.”

In response to the nationwide anti-racism and social justice protests that erupted throughout the summer of 2020, BET launched the Content for Change initiative, a groundbreaking campaign driven by the belief that media holds the power to shape cultural and community values. Today, the entire Paramount family is joining forces to support and amplify this vital work, starting within their organization to ignite systemic change throughout the industry.

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Paramount’s Content for Change is a global, company-wide, cross-brand initiative that seeks to harness the power of content to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes, and all forms of hate. Informed and inspired by BET’s groundbreaking campaign, Content for Change applies scientific research, rigor, and data to transform the entire creative ecosystem across three pillars – the content the company produces, the creative supply chain that powers it, and the culture that underpins everything Paramount does.