Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Fest Pushed Back Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Geena Davis - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 11th Annual Governors Awards - Getty-H 2020
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

The Arkansas event, backed by Walmart and Coca-Cola, will be delayed to August.

Amid ongoing coronavirus concerns, Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Festival is the latest event to push back its dates this year. 

The festival, held in Arkansas and backed by corporate sponsors that include Walmart and Coca-Cola, has been delayed from its original April 29 to May 2 date to later in summer, August 5 to 8. 

“This decision comes after careful consideration and consultation with our partners. Our number one concern is the safety of our content creators and our community of attendees," said Geena Davis, co-founder and chair of the Bentonville Film Festival. 

Davis added, "We are grateful for the support and recommendations we've received and look forward to welcoming everyone to the 6th edition of BFF this August." 

According to the Arkansas Department of Health's status update, as of March 6, there hasn't been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state. However, in the U.S. there have been more than 239 cases and, worldwide, more than 100,000, according to a John Hopkins University research tracker

The festival is one among many that are changing plans amid the spread of the virus globally. In Austin, the annual SXSW festival is continuing as planned on March 13 to 22 but there have been a slew of cancellations among tech and entertainment companies that normally are present.  

In France, Cannes Film Festival (May 12 to 23) has also not yet changed its dates, although television market MIPTV and TV festival (March 30 to April 2) was canceled. (On Friday, Cannes organizers stated that despite fears, "Accreditations continue at an intensive pace as we count so far an increase of 9%.")

In Los Angeles, the TCM Classic Film Festival (April 16 to 19) gave an update on March 5 saying that it is "closely monitoring this evolving situation" but planned to keep its current dates.

Cinequest, which is held annually in San Jose and Redwood City, has decided to reschedule the second week of its Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival, pushing it to  August 16-30. "This will allow Cinequest to provide the joyful and celebratory 30th anniversary edition all deeply deserve," festival co-founders Kathleen J. Powell and Halfdan Hussey shared in a statement.

And CinemaCon, the gathering of Hollywood exhibitors at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, is also keeping its March 30 to April 2 dates but says it will add "enhanced health and sanitation measures."