Monday, October 24, 2016
  • Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016
Diversity-Driven Bentonville Film Festival Set For May 2017
In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, actress Geena Davis poses at the 68th Directors Guild of America Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
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The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) has announced the dates for the third annual festival, returning to Bentonville, Arkansas May 2-7, 2017.  Co-founded by Academy Award winner Geena Davis and ARC Entertainment CEO Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival champions women and diverse voices in all forms of media.  Along with founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, and partners AMC Theatres, Lifetime and Starz, BFF is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners in the following categories: Best Family Film, Audience Award and Best Narrative Selected by Jury.
“We are so very proud of the progress we’ve made and the response we are getting in support of the mission of BFF.  Now moving into our third year, I feel more confident than ever that--with the support of our partners--we will create change in the media our children view so that it will reflect the world they actually live in, which is half female and very diverse,” stated Davis.
Drinkwater added, “One of the goals of BFF is to create an opportunity for films to secure commercial distribution.  This year’s festival marked the second year in a row in which that goal was accomplished for a majority of the films in competition.  In addition, several films locked in distribution agreements with major studios such as Sony Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn, The Orchard, and Broad Green.”
BFF 2017 will expand its short film competitions and add a commercial competition as well.  Attendees will continue to enjoy an inspiring lineup of narrative & documentary film screenings, industry-focused panel discussions, musical performances, celebrity spotlight events and much more.  The annual family favorite/community event, “A League of Their Own” softball game, will also return to celebrate that film’s 25th anniversary.
BFF experienced significant growth in its second year with a 70% increase in attendance, approximately 63,000 seats filled and a 300% increase in earned media for their sponsors. Thirty-three competition filmmakers out of 34 competition films attended, as well as notable guests Meg Ryan, Soledad O’Brien, Nia Vardalos, Kathy Najimy, Bruce Dern, Constance Wu, African American Film Critics Association president Gil Robertson, Robert Townsend, and musicians Joe Walsh and Darius Rucker.  2016 Festival attendees were asked to rate their BFF experience--and 93% said it exceeded expectations. 
The 2017 festival submissions for the BFF Film Competition will open on October 3, 2016.  Films accepted into the festival will be announced March 2017.  To learn more details about the BFF submission guidelines and process visit