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Bushwick Film Festival Founder Kweighbaye Kotee Recognized By Lucy Liu For Groundbreaking Work In Film & Entertainment

Kotee has been selected by Lucy Liu to receive the Jane Walker IFundWomen's First Women Grant.

Bushwick Film Festival Founder Kweighbaye Kotee Recognized By Lucy Liu For Groundbreaking Work In Film & Entertainment

This Womxn's History Month, Bushwick Film Festival has announced that founder Kweighbaye Kotee has been selected by Lucy Liu to receive the Jane Walker • IFundWomen's First Women Grant. The grant program, created by Jane Walker (by Johnnie Walker) in partnership with IFundWomen and a network of 10 powerful icons including Lucy Liu, Halle Berry and Billie Jean King, celebrates the achievements of women and their boundary-breaking moments on their journey towards a monumental first. Kotee and the Bushwick Film Festival in particular are recognized for their groundbreaking work in film and entertainment, paving the way for underrepresented creators through its first-of-its-kind platform in Brooklyn, NY.

To match this grant the BFF has launched a fundraising campaign on IFundWomen's platform to support their 2021 season. Contributions can be made at https://ifundwomen.com/projects/bushwick-film-festival.

"It is an honor to join a network of trailblazing First Women! After losing a considerable amount of income due to the pandemic, we needed support to keep our business going. Not only did this grant help with our payroll costs, but being recognized by Lucy Liu, Jane Walker and IFundWomen reminded us that our work is so critical." - Kweighbaye Kotee, BFF Founder

The BFF's work is indeed critical. A recent study conducted by The Bushwick Film Festival in partnership with Pace University students, found that less than 10% of U.S. festivals are owned by women of color. With festivals becoming the new gatekeeper for creators to make connections to networks, producers and distributors, owners must also be diverse in order for new perspectives and diverse voices to rise.

"Representation matters, being a part of something that initiates change or inspires other people, that to me is important," says Lucy Liu.

"Marking and championing moments of progress for women is such an important part of pushing forward towards gender equality," commented Sophie Kelly, Senior Vice President of Whiskies at Diageo North America. "This year, we celebrated the anniversary of women's right to vote and honored those who fought for us to have a voice, so it's critical that we continue to stand with and support women. We hope our First Women program can be a spark that helps inspire more firsts, seconds, and thirds for women ahead."

For nearly 14 years, the Bushwick Film Festival has become an industry staple for new talent and a premiere voice for independent cinema in Brooklyn. Before the Pandemic, the annual festival attracted over 3500 attendees, as well as more than 1500 film submissions from 60 countries around the world, contributing to the Borough's cultural and economic growth. In 2020, the festival successfully pivoted to a virtual festival by building a streaming platform watch.bushwickfilmfestival.com; producing a virtual weekend movie industry conference on Zoom; producing an opening night show and an awards ceremony that aired on Facebook Live; and hosting filmmaker Q&As on Facebook Live.

The Bushwick Film Festival's IFundWomen campaign ends on March 31. To support the festival and for more information please visit: https://ifundwomen.com/projects/bushwick-film-festival



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