Bentonville Film Festival Announces 2018 Film Competition Winners

Bentonville Film Festival
Caitlin Mehner and Jenna Laurenzo in 'Lez Bomb'

Jenna Laurenzo's 'Lez Bomb' took the best narrative film jury award, best documentary honors went to 'Emanuel' from director Brian Ivie and the best short film prize was awarded to Kelly Walker and Ryan Garcia's 'The Brownlist' at the fest, which Geena Davis co-founded.

Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Festival, which champions women and diverse voices in media, on Saturday announced its 2018 award winners.

The ceremony was hosted by The Real’s Loni Love, and presenters included festival co-founders Davis and Trevor Drinkwater and actress Stephanie Beatriz, with performances by Martina McBride and the Latin X Theater Project.

Actor and filmmaker Natalie Morales was presented with the fest's first See It, Be It Award, recognizing her rising and influential voice in the landscape of diversity and inclusion in media.

Jenna Laurenzo's Lez Bomb took the best narrative film jury award, best documentary honors went to Emanuel from director Brian Ivie, and the best short film prize was awarded to Kelly Walker and Ryan Garcia's The Brownlist, which Ursula Taherian wrote, produced and starred in. Ben Strang's Beast was tapped as best episodic, rounding out the jury-given awards. Audience awards were also given out to Miss Arizona and Love Always Mom, among others. 

The six-day fest, which is in its fourth year, concludes Sunday in Bentonville, Arkansas. The event touts Walmart as a founding sponsor and is being presented by Coca-Cola.

See the full list of winners and prizes below. 

Jury Awards:
Best Narrative Film: Lez Bomb, (World Premiere), Director: Jenna Laurenzo; includes guaranteed distribution offer from a BFF distribution partner
Best Documentary Film: Emanuel (World Premiere), Director: Brian Ivie; includes a mentorship prize package from ITVS
Best Short Film: The Brownlist, Directors: Kelly Walker and Ryan Garcia; includes a feature film directing job from MarVista Entertainment
Best Episodic: Beast, Director: Ben Strang; includes a mentorship prize package from SeriesFest

Audience Awards:
Best Narrative Film: Miss Arizona (World Premiere), Director: Autumn McAlpin
Best Documentary Film: Love Always Mom (World Premiere), Directors: Tricia Russo, Craig E. Shapiro
Best Short Film: Laboratory Conditions, Director: Jocelyn Stamat
Best Episodic: Brooklynification, Director: Keith Miller
Best of the Fest: F.R.E.D.I. (World Premiere) Director: Sean Olson

Additional awards:
Big Vision Empty Wallet Fellowship Award: Molly McGlynn, Writer/Director, Mary Goes Round; Big Vision’s focus is on fostering inclusion and developing unexpected content with women, people of color and LGBTQ creators.
Samsung Create Award: Olivia Stumbaugh, Chris Perea & Melanie Teoh, Harbor High School, Springdale, Arkansas

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