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Festivals 0

Bentonville Film Festival Set for May 1-6

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For the fourth straight year, the stars will be coming out during the first week of May in Bentonville. That’s because the annual Bentonville Film Festival, the event founded by actor Geena Davis with the stated mission to help champion women and diversity in film, is set for May 1-6 at various locations around town.

As always, this year’s event will include a host of star-studded feature films, documentaries, shorts, and panel discussions, as well as live music, celebrity events, and more.

The event will kick off on Tuesday night at 21C Hotel with a screening of The Honor List, a new film starring Meghan Rienks, Sasha Pieterse, Karrueche Tran, and Arden Cho.


Bentonville Film Festival / Courtesy

From there, the six-day event will include 42 Competition Films, 13 episodic content presentations, showcase screenings of top festival films, anniversary screenings of classics, outdoor screenings of family-focused and animated films, and more playing at locations all over the city. Some of the highlights include the Sundance hit, Blindspotting, the locally produced family film F.R.E.D.I., and others. In all, 10 new features will make their debut at the festival.

In addition to the films, this year’s event will also include musical performances by legendary rock band Los Lobos and indie folk act Run River North at around 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 in the festival’s “Diversity Drive” just north of the Bentonville Square. General admission to the concert is free, and some VIP tickets will be available to purchase for festival pass holders.

Music is also scheduled at Meteor Guitar Gallery throughout the fest, where headliner Martina McBride, singers Lauren Alaina and Carly Pearce, songwriter group Song Suffragettes, and others will perform.


Los Lobos / Courtesy

Also during the event, Actor Meg Ryan will be honored with the festival’s first Legacy Award, and Natalie Morales will be honored with the festival’s See It Be It Award.

There’s a festival bike ride. There are free family films at the Outdoor Theatre at Lawrence Plaza. There’s almost too much to do at this year’s event.

All of the festivities of the event will work toward the festival’s goal of celebrating diversity and “championing inclusion in all types of media.”

“This year’s edition of the Bentonville Film Festival truly exemplifies our mission,” said festival co-founder Geena Davis. “We are thrilled to honor industry pioneers, while at the same time recognizing current trendsetters and changemakers, and showcasing a new class of inclusive storytellers. To be able to bring them all together in one place to enact change – that is what BFF is all about.”

A full schedule of events, including all of the film screenings, industry film panel discussions, and other activities is available at the festival website. You could also download the official festival app.

Daily passes for the festival are on sale for $65, and weekly passes are $275. In addition to the paid events, there are several free public events associated with the festival as well.

To purchase, or for more information, visit bentonvillefilmfestival.com

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Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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