Bentonville Film Festival to Open With 'The Honor List'

Claudette Barius/Lionsgate
'The Honor List'

Lea Thompson's 'The Year of Spectacular Men' will serve as the fest's Centerpiece Screening.

Director Elissa Down’s The Honor List will serve as opening night film at the Bentonville Film Festival, which will be held May 1-5 in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The film, a world premiere from Lionsgate’s Studio L, was written by Marilyn Fu from a story by Fu and Meghan Rienks and stars Rienks, Sasha Pieterse, Karrueche Tran, and Arden Cho in a story about former best friends who reunite when tragedy strikes before their graduation. It was produced by sisters Mariel, Zoe, and Cisely Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures, along with PopSugar Films, and had a crew made up of more than 60 percent women.

The festival also unveiled that Lea Thompson’s The Year of Spectacular Men has been selected for its Centerpiece Screening slot. Written by Thompson’s daughter, Madelyn Deutch, who also scored the film, The Year stars Deutch as a woman out of college dealing with the failures of adulthood and the reality of a substandard dating pool as she supports her mother and sister, who are struggling with their own relationship problems. Lea Thompson’s other daughter, Zoey Deutch, and her husband, Howard Deutch, served as the film’s producers, alongside Gordon Gilbertson and Parkside’s Dan Roth and Damiano Tucci. 

The festival also said it will team with founding sponsor Walmart for the world premiere of Tracey Aivaz’s short film The Box, which was commissioned by Walmart to celebrate the art of storytelling. The short will be featured at BFF’s opening night ceremony and will play before every competition film screening. Aivaz will also participate on a Women in Film panel.

"We’re thrilled to be hosting these trailblazing women in the beautiful region of Northwest Arkansas at the fourth installment of BFF,” said Geena Davis, who co-founded the festival with Inclusion Companies CEO Trevor Drinkwater. “This is the Year of the Woman, and BFF is proud to be at the forefront of this seismic change. If they can see it, they can be it!”