Opinion

OPINION | Carin Schoppmeyer: BFF announces festival plans, SoNA benefits from Spring Gala

Spring Gala boosts SoNA

Lynn and Lee Moore (from left), Marti and Kelly Sudduth, Debbie and Tim Ogg and Martha and Drew Frits gather at the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas' Spring Gala on May 11 at Heroncrest in Springdale. The Sudduths were this year's Gala Honorees.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Lynn and Lee Moore (from left), Marti and Kelly Sudduth, Debbie and Tim Ogg and Martha and Drew Frits gather at the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas' Spring Gala on May 11 at Heroncrest in Springdale. The Sudduths were this year's Gala Honorees. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)


Bentonville Film Festival and BFFoundation leaders, with founding partner Walmart and presenting partner Coca-Cola, revealed this year's film lineup May 9 at a Program Reveal Happy Hour at the group's headquarters in Bentonville. The ninth annual film competition, the vision of Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, is set to run in person June 13-18, with streaming available through June 25.

"Opening night of the festival will feature the world premiere of 'A Great Divide,' the feature directorial debut of Emmy-winning commercial and short-film director, Jean Shim, starring Ken Jeong, Jae Suh Park and Emerson Min. The screenplay, written by Shim, Jeff Yang, and Martina Nagel, tackles the anti-Asian hate that sprang up in America in the wake of covid-19," according to a news release.

Wendy Guerrero, president of Bentonville Film Festival and BFFoundation, told those gathered: "We were the first festival to introduce statistics to show that we are highly diverse and we represent our planet, which is 51 percent women."

According to Guerrero, "more than 75% of the competition program is comprised of women or gender non-conforming content creators; 60% are BIPOC, Asian, or Pacific Islander industry professionals; 55% are part of the LGBTQIA+ community; 15% of creators are over 50 years old; and over 30% of the program is comprised of creators with disabilities. Additionally, over 65% of onscreen leads are women/gender non-conforming; BIPOC actors make up 60% of leading roles; 40% are part of the LGBTQ+ community; and 25% represent talent with disabilities."

Coca Cola President, Al Dominguez, added, "we're not only proud to be sponsors, we are celebrating another major milestone. This is the 25th year of our Refreshing Films program, which highlights the work of students at our partner schools as filmmakers and as storytellers, to bring their films and be displayed here on the stage as you would any other film. For 25 years the Coca-Cola Company has supported the passion of aspiring filmmakers and this year, we're going to bring two incredible storytellers from Boise (Idaho) to participate in the event."

SoNA

Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) patrons gathered May 11 at Heroncrest in Springdale for the Spring Gala benefit. The group lauded patrons Marti and Kelly Sudduth "for their extraordinary contributions to SoNA and the arts in Northwest Arkansas." Proceeds from the benefit will support SoNA's classical mainstage, SoNA Mentors music education program, and the SoNA Beyond series, organizers say.

SoNA Beyond "showcases the vast spectrum of possibilities for classical music to reach audiences in new and innovative ways. SoNA Beyond presents a variety of concerts, programs and other creative arts experiences that go beyond the symphony's annual mainstage season of concerts."

Through SoNA Mentors, the nonprofit organization's musicians visit area schools to "enrich our communities' students with performances, sectionals, masterclasses, private lessons and pre-college career guidance and more."

Performances that evening featured the world premiere of "Risk (to blossom)," by D. Riley Nicholson, SoNA executive director, and the SoNA String Quartet and SoNA Singers.

Those gathering in support of the symphony included Terrye and Patric Brosh, Ellen and Malcolm Hayward, Becky and Bob Alexander, Joyce and Bill Feldman, Helena Gadison, Peggy and Terry Hicks, Shawna and Calvin Jarrett, Linda and Bob Kelly, Brittany and Steve Adair, Melanie and Thad Beck, Joyce Stafford, Lynn and Lou Moore, Margaret Whillock, Debbie and Tim Ogg, Gaye Cypert and Celia and Ken Shireman.

For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].

  photo  Coca-Cola President, Alberto Dominguez and Wendy Guerrero, president of Bentonville Film Festival and BFFoundation, stand for a photo at the program reveal on May 9 at the festival's headquarters in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Coca-Cola President, Alberto Dominguez and Wendy Guerrero, president of Bentonville Film Festival and BFFoundation, stand for a photo at the program reveal on May 9 at the festival's headquarters in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Joyce and Bill Feldman (from left), Linda and Bob Kelly and Ellen and Malcolm Hayward visit at the SoNA Spring Gala on May 11. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Calvin and Shawna Jarrett (from left) and Thad and Melanie Beck enjoy the SoNA Spring Gala. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Damon Epps (from left), Clint Schaff and Tom Hoehn attend the BFF reveal on May 9. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Becky and Bob Alexander help support SoNA at the Spring Gala on May 11 at Heroncrest in Springdale. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Lynn Moore (from left), Martha Fritts, Margaret Whillock and Debbie Ogg visit at the Spring Gala. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Terrye Brosh (from left), Brittany Adair and Mary Storey help support the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
 
  photo  Ashley Edwards, BFF director of programming (from left); Krista Bradley, filmmaker and Wendy Guerrero, president of Bentonville Film Festival and BFFoundation, stand for a photo at the program reveal on May 9 at the festival's headquarters in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
 
At a Glance - Program reveal

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Who: Bentonville Film Festival

What: Organizers of the ninth annual film competition revealed this years film premier lineup.

When: May 9

Where: Bentonville Film Festival headquarters in Bentonville

Next:BFF will run in person June 13-18, with streaming available through June 25.

Information: bentonvillefilm.org

Spring Gala

Who: Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA)

What: The group lauded patrons Marti and Kelly Sudduth as this years Gala Honorees.

When: May 11

Where: Heroncrest in Springdale

Next: SoNA Beyond and Crystal Bridges present "I Paint What I See, June 30 and Fireworks Spectacular at the Walmart AMP, July 4

Information: (479) 521-4166 or sonamusic.org

 


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