The Bentonville Film Festival will return to Northwest Arkansas for its fifth year this spring.
The annual event, founded by actor Geena Davis with the stated mission to help champion women and diversity in film, is set for May 8-11 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 at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8 with a screening of Solace, a film in this year’s narrative competition at Skylight Cinema, located at 350 SW A Street in downtown Bentonville.
After that, the four-day event will feature screenings of 15 competition narrative films, 14 competition documentaries, 23 competition shorts, 4 competition episodics, 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.
“This year’s lineup of films truly exemplifies our mission and we are thrilled to highlight the work of female filmmakers, people of color, LGBTQ+, filmmakers and talent with disabilities, etc. – everyone,” said BFF co-founder Geena Davis. “Connecting those filmmakers with audiences, providing a platform for them to tell their stories, and offering opportunities for each one of us to see a reflection of ourselves onscreen is such an essential step to help them build their careers and ensure that we all can enrich ourselves with entertainment options that match the diversity we see in our day-to-day lives.”
Some of the highlights include a screening of Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché , a film narrated by Jodie Foster (Narrator) and featuring Evan Rachel Wood, Peter Farrelly, and others that tells the story of the first female filmmaker, who was also one of the first filmmakers to create a narrative film.
Another spotlight film to be screened is Brian Banks, starring Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Sherri Shepherd, and others, that tells the story of the USC football commit who finds his life upended when he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.
Four films with Arkansas connections will be screened at the festival, including Saint Frances, featuring writer/actor, and AR native, Kelly O’Sullivan in the lead role; Well Groomed, a film featuring Arkansas-based, champion dog groomer Angela Kumpe; and To the Stars and Sweet Inspirations, two films involving Fayetteville-based studio Rockhill Studios. Sweet Inspirations, in fact, stars a host of local talent and was filmed almost entirely in Fayetteville.