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The annual event held in northwest Arkansas will take place June 13 to 18 for its in-person component, with on-demand streaming of selected programming and events through June 25 available on the festival’s virtual platform.
“We can’t wait for our 2023 festival and are so proud to be nearly a decade into formally championing underrepresented visionaries,” said Geena Davis, Bentonville Film Festival chair, in a statement. “BFF is designed to support storytellers from across the globe with opportunities to showcase their unique stories. We are thrilled to be the gathering place for these diverse artists sharing bold work while providing a global platform to give wider access to these artists and their stories.”
The year’s offerings will once again feature competition titles within narrative, documentary, shorts and episodic alongside an expansion that includes additional adventure and animation categories. In a statement, Wendy Guerrero, the president of Bentonville Film Festival, shared her excitement for the festival’s return for an eighth edition, as well as its celebration of “independent film, artists and audiences.”
“With the culturally rich community, accessibility to outdoor adventure and focus on innovative technology, we are excited about the added short film categories in Animation and Adventure at the 2023 festival,” Guerrero added. “By expanding our program in these areas, it will further our mission in championing women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, older persons (50+) and large-bodied individuals in two new categories for 2023.”
Jason Netter, founder and CEO of Kickstart and producer of BFF, added, “We have a robust animation business with studios in multiple countries so we jumped at the opportunity to help create and support a new short category to introduce diverse artists, content creators and audiences into the BFF community. We are honored to provide $20,000 in cash prizes plus studio support for this category.”
The event will also include Q&As and panels — both community and private filmmaker events — that cover challenging industry norms and the importance of independent artists in the art of film, storytelling and technology. Attendees will also have access to curated studio spotlight films with celebrity conversations.
In 2022, BFF also held both in-person and virtual elements, featuring more than 20,000 in-person attendees and over 150,000 viewers engaging with the Bentonville streaming platform, according to the festival. Last year’s festival boasted more than 82 percent of its competition program coming from content creators who identify as female or gender non-conforming; 65 percent who identify as Black, Indigenous, a person of color, Asian or Pacific Islander; 62 percent who identify as LGBTQIA+; 42 percent who are over 50; and 20 percent who identify as a person with disabilities.
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