HIstoric Win for Chicago's McKenzie Chinn

HIstoric Win for Chicago's McKenzie Chinn

It's a historic win for a Chicago filmmaker. Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Foundation (BFFoundation) has selected Chicago's McKenzie Chinn as the inaugural recipient of a $25,000 grant to fund her short film, A REAL ONE, from NBCUniversal. This continues BFFoundation’s mission of inclusivity through research, education and supporting the production and distribution of inclusive content.

"To feel joy in these times is strange and dissonant but I think embracing our joy is how we keep the candle lit," Chinn said on her instagram today. "Grateful grateful grateful, for all of it, and for my champions, especially the excellent folks at Bentonville Film Festival, NBCUniversal, and Coca-Cola who believe in what I have to say."

What's Next for McKenzie

This grant will serve as a catalyst for production of Chinn's short film A REAL ONE, which will be her narrative directorial debut. In it, two teenage best friends living on Chicago’s south side face consequences after an illicit secret is discovered. After the short, Chinn and her team plan to develop the story into a feature.

"A REAL ONE speaks to the ways in which many of our youth, especially young women, are not granted the social support structures that should protect them and allow them to reach their greatest potential," Chinn told SCREEN. "When we aren’t given what we need to thrive, we find ways to cultivate it - for better or for worse - within our communities and friendships. The teen girls in A REAL ONE do just that. It’s a microcosmic story about survival and the saving grace of friendship."

More from Geena Davis and the Bentonville Film Foundation

Chinn was selected earlier this year as one of eight BFFoundation alumni chosen for the first-ever annual "See It, Be It" Filmmaker Fellowship which provides broad developmental support for filmmakers from historically underrepresented communities. In partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation, fellows receive professional support from peers, entertainment industry leaders, and major corporate changemakers, in addition to financial backing.

“Alongside NBCUniversal, we are absolutely honored to provide McKenzie Chinn with this support as she carries out the tremendous vision for her short film, A REAL ONE,” said Geena Davis, co-founder of the BFFoundation. “McKenzie’s voice is strong and uncompromised. She is an artist with the power to impact not only the culture of the entertainment industry but, at this critical moment in time, our society’s culture-at-large as well. We cannot wait to see what’s next for her.”

Check back with SCREEN for updates as McKenzie continues her journey with the Bentonville Film Foundation and heads into production on her directorial debut, A REAL ONE.