The third annual Bentonville Film Festival, which champions women and diverse voices in media, brought together filmmakers, talent, industry leaders, and film fans May 2-7 in celebration of its mission in Bentonville, Arkansas. Celeb festival-goers in attendance included William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, Aisha Tyler, Terry Crews, Jewel, and Jane Seymour.
Festivities began with opening ceremonies at the famed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where Festival Co-Founders Geena Davis and Trevor Drinkwater welcomed filmmakers and special guests. The festival’s opening night film was “3 Generations.” Additional films that screened at the Festival include “STEP,” Judy Greer’s directorial debut film “A Happening of Monumental Proportions,” and “MULLY,” among others.
Highlights from the festival included a panel titled “In Control of Her Own Destiny” that featured actors Geena Davis, Meg Ryan, Jewel, Emme, and Pam Kaufman discussing gender disparity and lack of diversity in media and how they have navigated their careers. A special panel was held on the new superhero film “Wonder Woman” with Director Patty Jenkins and Producers, Chuck Roven and Deborah Snyder in which they shared never before seen clips of the film. Guests also enjoyed nightly concerts by musical guests Jewel, Jake Owen, and Siedah Garrett who performed her original song “Man in the Mirror” to a singing crowd.
The Bentonville Film Festival featured 70 competition films with 33 competition features, 14 spotlights, 19 shorts and four episodic showings. With the help of founding sponsor Walmart, presenting sponsor Coca-Cola and distribution partners AMC Theatres, Lifetime, and Starz, the Bentonville Film Festival remains the only festival to offer guaranteed distribution to the winning festival films for Audience, Best Family Film, and Jury Awards.