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Bentonville foundation launches film production company

by Mary Jordan | September 1, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
FILE -- Geena Davis, Bentonville Film Festival festival chairwoman (center), with Ashley Edwards (left), Bentonville Film Festival director of programming and Wendy Guerrero, Bentonville Film Festival and Foundation president stand for a photo at a blue carpet event before the festival's opening reception Aug. 4. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

BENTONVILLE -- The Bentonville Film Foundation on Tuesday announced forming a new production company.

Bentonville Way Entertainment will continue the nonprofit foundation's long-standing mission to champion women and inclusive voices in filmmaking and will provide artist support and resources to historically underrepresented communities, according to the release.

The company will also offer local production resources to further bolster the foundation's footprint in the state's creative economy, as supported films will be produced in Arkansas when possible, according to the release.

"We are excited that we can further the outcome of our mission by not only amplifying these voices through the festival each year, but also by supporting the production and distribution of inclusive content," said Geena Davis, Bentonville Film Festival chairwoman. "This will help create pathways for change in the industry for our alumni."

The foundation produces the annual festival. The seventh festival ran Aug. 2-8 with 78 in-person and online films focused on underrepresented voices of diverse storytellers.

Bentonville Way Entertainment will feature "Buddy," "Has Been Beauty Queen" and "Dealing With Dad" as its inaugural films, according to the release. All are being created by past festival participants.

"Buddy" is written by Luke Thomas and will be directed by Amber McGinnis, according to the release. The film will tell the story of an elderly father who accidentally contributes to a man's death and covers it up in an effort to maintain custody of his adult son with Down syndrome.

The film will be produced in partnership with Sanjay M. Sharma and Milan Chakraborty of Marginal MediaWorks.

"Has Been Beauty Queen" was written by Jennifer Gerber and Samuel Brett Williams and will be directed by Gerber, according to the release. The film will be a semi-autobiographical telling of Gerber's experiences growing up in Hot Springs as a teen beauty queen with a bipolar mother.

The film will be produced in partnership with Summer Shelton, an independent producer, and will be filmed in Arkansas, according to the release.

"Dealing with Dad" was written and will be directed by Tom Huang, according to the release. The comedic drama will be centered on an Asian American family figuring out what to do about the newfound realization their elderly father is suddenly struggling with depression.

The film will be produced by Tanner Kling, Alan Pao and Brian Yang with Effie Brown executive producing. It's filming in Los Angeles, according to the release.

"We're thrilled to introduce BWE as a way to continue BF Foundations' vision for artist support beyond the established festival and year-round programs," said Wendy Guerrero, foundation and film festival president. "We're creating a tangible pipeline for filmmakers, giving them the resources and opportunities needed to bring their stories to life."

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Source: Bentonville Way Entertainment

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