- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The festival, which has a mission to create a deeper impact for racial and gender equality in media, will screen Bassan Tariq’s directorial fiction feature debut on opening night. Other highlights for the 2021 edition include Oscar winner Marlee Matlin to receive the festival’s Rising to the Challenge Award as her latest movie, the Sundance winner CODA from writer-director Sian Heder, features in the Spotlights program.
And Lisa Lu, star of another Bentonville selection, The Disappearance of Mrs. Wu, is set to receive the festival’s See It Be It Award. Other feature spotlights include directors Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart’s Coast; Ben Lewin’s Falling For Figaro, starring Shazad Latif and Joanna Lumley; and Language Lessons, directed by and co-starring Natalie Morales.
Bentonville also booked a 30th anniversary screening of Thelma and Louise, which starred Davis and Susan Sarandon in the female buddy road crime film, and festival play for Michael Barnett’s Changing The Game; and Jesus Music, a documentary on contemporary Christian music by directors Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin.
The seventh annual Bentonville festival, set to take place in a hybrid format, will also include panel discussions and other virtual industry events for filmmakers. That includes the seventh edition of Geena & Friends, this year featuring Davis joined by Margaret Cho, Yolonda Ross and Shohreh Aghdashloo as they reimagine memorable dialogue from male-dominated movie scenes and deconstruct gender stereotypes.
The festival also plans panels on an upcoming Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media’s research study on Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in family films, another on female-driven content, and an informal conversation between Davis and Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri.
Since 2015, the Bentonville Film Festival has offered a platform that amplifies the creative voices of female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC and people with disabilities in entertainment.
“We are delighted to showcase this year’s festival program to both in-person and virtual audiences come August. We’ve curated a program of groundbreaking works from a broad range of diverse storytellers, and we are honoring two special recipients for their dynamic and notable voices; Marlee Matlin and Lisa Lu with our Rising to the Challenge and See It Be It awards respectively,” Bentonville Film Festival chair Davis said in a statement.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day