Bentonville Film Festival takes hybrid approach with virtual and in-person events

KNWA

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The 7th annual Bentonville Film Festival kicks off Monday bringing cinema lovers to Northwest Arkansas.

The festival is all about celebrating diverse and unique voices and stories. Folks can expect to see a lineup that amplifies inclusion on screen and behind the camera.

This year it will be structured as a hybrid affair with virtual and in-person events because of the pandemic. Organizers tell us they are expecting a lot of folks to come out.

Director of Programming, Ashley Edwards tells us there will capacity limits for indoor events, masks and social distancing will be encouraged and are highly recommended. They are also partnering with Walmart to host a pop-up vaccination clinic during the festival.

The Bentonville film festival is focused on promoting underrepresented voices featuring work by women, black and indigenous people of color, and those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

“Simply by programming those films with filmmakers that are women, people of color, people with disabilities, not just in front of the camera but behind the camera. This whole film festival started because Geena Davis didn’t see people on screen that looked like her daughter… that her daughter could see and say that’s me. Behind the camera is the same thing. This year again it’s an amazing schedule of films that highlight that diversity,” said John Wildman.

We spoke to two filmmakers who are presenting their work at the festival for the very first time.

First, Lin Que Ayoung Director, Producer and Writer of Cracked, a coming to age story based on her childhood. She says the film takes a look at first love after surviving trauma.

“I just want to bring people back to a time that innocence was in their lives or the loss of innocence, just bring them back to some sort of nostalgia moment where they can feel something. That’s the aim for me,” said Ayoung.

Then we have Chandler Evans, Co-director, Producer and Writer of Crutch. A film about renowned artist Bill Shannon who is a breakdancer, a skateboarder and is also on crutches. He says the film challenges what people perceive of those with disabilities.

“We are pretty sure the audience will enjoy bill all inspiring skating and dancing, by the end of the moment we hope that the audience might find that their own perception of disabilities and people, in general, have changed,” said Evans.

“As we enter our 7th year we have an opportunity to further our mission to change the status quo for the types of stories that are told in film. We’re continuing to prove that there is a rich community of not only filmmakers with heartfelt stories to tell, but there are vast audiences hungry for fresh, new narratives that reflect all corners of the world around them,” said Wendy Guerrero, President of Bentonville Film Festival and Foundation.

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary Screening of Thelma and Louise, there will be a conversation with film star Geena Davis and screenwriter, Callie Khouri, of Thelma and Louise. The festival will include dozens of films, screenings, documentaries and panels.

The festival runs from Aug 2 – Aug 8.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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