Comedian Kym Whitley poses for a photo backstage during the 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Comedian Kym Whitley poses for a photo backstage during the 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

*The 12th annual NBCUniversal Short Film Festival finale goes down Wednesday, Oct. 18 at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood, and Kym Whitley has been tapped to host the festivities.

“This Is Us” actor Chris Sullivan (“Toby”) and members of the “Pitch Perfect 3” cast are slated as presenters, according to Deadline.

The festival celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of story-tellers. Admission to the screening and awards is free and open to the public, but requires a ticket that can be obtained at the festival web site, nbcushortsfest.com.

Awards in eight categories will be presented to winning filmmakers by Essence Atkins (Marlon), Stephen Bishop (Imposters, Being Mary Jane), Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect 3), Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect 3), Akbar Gbajabiamila (American Ninja Warrior), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jameela Jamil (The Good Place), Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect 3, Love Beats Rhymes), Allen Maldonado (Black-ish, The Last O.G.), Nico Santos (Superstore, Crazy Rich Asians), Victor Turpin (Shades of Blue) and Kelvin Yu (Master of None).

The festival has also partnered with America Ferrera’s advocacy organization Harness for the “Harness Social Impact Award,” to be given to the short that best represents a social issue.

“The passionate response from artists such as Kym and our amazing presenters, organizations like Harness and respected journalists to be part of our festival signifies how widespread the desire is to increase representation in entertainment,” said Karen Horne, SVP of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “We are proud that our short film festival is not only a platform for diverse stories, but also a place to develop up and coming storytellers who are already creating work that reflects our society.”

The festival will also award filmmakers in the Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Writer, Outstanding Actor and the Audience Award categories.

The awards will be determined by the festival’s first-ever ambassadors, including Ferrera (Superstore), Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us) and Lena Waithe (Master of None), as well as a judging panel. That panel includes 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).