Bentonville Film Festival leaders welcomed filmmakers, sponsors and other friends of the festival for an opening reception Aug. 4 at Blake Street House in Bentonville.
Geena Davis, festival founder and chairwoman, greeted guests, saying how pleased she's been at how welcoming and receptive Bentonville and all of Northwest Arkansas have been from the beginning of the annual festival in 2015. She added she considers Bentonville her "adopted hometown."
The Bentonville Film Festival is "an annual festival and globally recognized platform amplifying female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and people with disabilities' voices in entertainment. The weeklong festival, presented by the Bentonville Film Foundation, in partnership with founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, is known for its dedication to championing marginalized and underrepresented voices in film with 65 percent of the competition titles directed by women."
This year's festival, which ran Aug. 2-8, featured screenings, exhibitions and an awards ceremony on Aug. 7 to announce winners of this year's competition. Organizers presented BFF Honors to Marlee Matlin and Lisa Lu. Matlin was the recipient of the "Rising to the Challenge Award," which is an inaugural award for BFF meant to encompass a filmmaker or producer that got a project made "against all odds." Lu was given the "See It, Be It Award" for years of trailblazing and influential work in the industry, "opening doors for women like them on and off the screen."
Narrative Competition Film:
"7 Days" from director Roshan Sethi -- Jury Award for Best Competition Narrative Feature Film
"Waikiki" from director Christopher Kahunahana --Honorable Mention Jury Award for Competition Narrative Feature Film
Documentary Competition Film
"Kili Big" world premiere from director Ida Rodríguez Joglar -- Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature
"Youth V Gov" from director Christi Cooper -- Honorable Mention Jury Award for Competition Documentary Feature Film
Shorts Competition Film
"Americanized" from director Erica Eng-- Jury Award for Best Short Film
"Nahjum" from directors Manuel Del Valle and Sebastian Torres Greene -- Honorable Mention Jury Award for Competition Short Film
Episodic Competition Film
"NOW with Fiona" from director Fiona Dawson -- Jury Award for Best Episodic Film
Those joining Geena to mark the opening of the festival included Shelley and Doug McMillon, Louis Martin, Sue and Charles Redfield, Tony Waller, Sandy Edwards, Jill Wagar, Ashley Edwards, Wendy Gurerro, Andrea Albright, Christina Ruggiero, Andres Mejia, Pamela Stewart, Joseph Vizcarra, Julie Reilman, Dan Grover, Sally Hargis, Tyler Buttle (from left), Curtis Stewart, Kathleen Gonzalez, Tom Pickert, Brittany Dunlap, Candice Chang and Deana Bishop.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Who: Bentonville Film Festival
What: Organizers welcomed filmmakers, sponsors and other friends of the festival.
When: Aug. 4
Where: The Blake Street House in Bentonville