Third Annual Bentonville Film Festival Continues Promoting Diversity

Rebecca Johnson, Writer

The Bentonville Film Festival, BFF, that was in May of 2017 was a hit.  ARC Entertainment CEO Trevor Drinkwater and Geena Davis founded the festival originally in May of 2015 and now it’s an annual event.   Co- founder, Geena Davis, has a yearly showing of “A League of Their Own”.  To accommodate film appreciation and gender(and overall) equality the town square was taken over by traveling theaters, free samples, and equality campaigns.

The festival, just three years ago, was created to promote equality and diversity.  Davis pushes diversity and feels strongly about showing more of it in film industries.  As an older actress she sees how it’s harder for older women to get acting roles in new films.  This is the reason the BFF debuted “3 Generations”, starring Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon, this was appealing by starring an older female actress. The film shows the lives of 3 generations of women, one of which is a transgender teen that Fanning portrayed.  The BFF is a way to spread on-screen diversity throughout movies in our society.


“I know that there isn’t as many black actors, but i don’t like how we show support for certain races of actors. We need to start supporting actors for their talent not their race,” Senior James Kinkade said.


The film festival helps films, if they receive an award, distribute their movie into AMC theaters, stores and in media such as television and Vudu.  There are three major categories: best family film, best narrative and audience award.  There are other assorted awards films may receive as well.  The films awarded with these honors get their movie into multiple outlets where it can be viewed and purchased.

Companies came and handed out free samples in support for the film festival’s efforts.  Coca-Cola,a BFF sponsor, contributed to the festival.  They had a station to personalize Coca-Colas and even provided a Sound Stage with some fun music for the event.  Their was a variety of companies that sponsored.  Some makeup companies such as: Elf, Hard Candy, and other companies gave makeovers!  They helped make the event happen and make a more exciting experience.


“It was really crowded and everyone wanted free things and they fought for them, but it was still a really fun experience,” Junior Breanna Welden said.


Other companies put on campaigns as well. There was a wall dedicated to placing the names of the people who inspire you and people could post a picture with the hashtag “#WeSeeEqual” to get a swag bag from the sponsors and support equality. The campaign was to raise support for women and other minorities in films in the hopes to promote overall equality in our society.


“The We See Equal campaign is really cool and it’s good that the film festival is promoting change in films and everyday life,” Sophomore Sydney Carr said.


The third annual Bentonville Film Festival was a success.  People all around Northwest Arkansas came to the BFF and got to experience the Bentonville square filled with all the campaigns, sponsors, and film showings.  Don’t miss the film festival as it comes around next May in 2018.