NBCUniversal’s 12th annual Short Film Festival celebrating diversity in storytelling has named America Ferrera, Mariska Hargitay, Chrissy Metz and Lena Waithe as its first ambassadors. They’ll serve as advocates for the festival and join the judging panel determining award winners.

Others on the judging panel include NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, Universal Television President Pearlena Igbokwe, Debra Martin Chase, Sakina Jaffrey, Allen Maldonado, Victor Turpin and Masi Oka.

Also today, the festival named 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 roster of finalists sets a festival record for female and Asian-American representation, with six either written or directed by women and six featuring Asian-American stories or writer-directors.

The films and filmmakers will be recognized at the finale screening and awards ceremony on October 18 at the DGA headquarters in Hollywood.