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Bentonville Film Festival showcases 35 films in 2016

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Geena Davis at the Bentonville Film Festival in 2015.

Geena Davis at the Bentonville Film Festival in 2015.

Geena Davis and the Bentonville Film Festival have announced the 2016 schedule of events for the second year, featuring approximately 35 films from May 3-8 as well as special events in conjunction with the film competition.

In 1999, Davis competed for a semifinals berth in the U.S. Olympic archery team for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. She took up archery was in 1997, two years prior to her tryouts. More than 300 women tried out, and Davis finished 24th, and did not qualify.

In 1999, Davis competed for a semifinals berth in the U.S. Olympic archery team for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. She took up archery was in 1997, two years prior to her tryouts. More than 300 women tried out, and Davis finished 24th, and did not qualify. Here she competes in a uniform from “A League of Their Own.”

The festival is expanding its platform with the addition of a short film competition, three community events and a new Diversity and Inclusion Summit to be held for senior level decision makers from multiple industries. The Bentonville Film Festival is the only festival to offer winning films guaranteed distribution.

The festival is working with VUDU, Walmart’s digital entertainment service, to offer a virtual festival pass to those who cannot attend the festival in person. With this $19.19 pass, festival attendees will be able to access select movies from the festival.

“The inaugural event came together very quickly which did not allow us to execute on many of the great ideas to enhance the commercial viability of the platform,” Davis said in a news release. “This year will showcase some amazing and powerful initiatives to champion women and diverse voices in media. BFF is an inclusive event and we would like to invite everyone to come and screen a film, attend a panel discussion or special event or just enjoy the free events in and around Bentonville Square during the week.”

The winning films in three categories will receive full distribution through Walmart, VUDU and AMC Theaters.

The inaugural festival in 2015 drew an estimated attendance of 35,000 people over five days, according to Kalene Griffith, president and CEO of Visit Bentonville, and brought $300,000 to $400,000 to the community where Walmart was founded and has its corporate headquarters.

Schedule of major events is as follows:

  • May 3: Opening Ceremony at Crystal Bridges (Innovator or Patron Pass only)
  • May 4th: BFF Concert (Ticket Required) “Together, We Make The Music”: Tickets will go on sale later this month for a very special ‘Together, We Make The Music’ concert on May 4, 2016 sponsored by Coca-Cola and My Country Nation featuring a diverse group of well-known artists including Arkansas’s rising star Barrett Baber, a top 3 finalist on NBC’s The Voice.
  • May 5th: “Captain America: Civil War” Special Screening (Ticket Required)
  • May 6th: First Friday (free) includes the “Girls that Grill Competition” along with a full day of free community activity at the Bentonville Square starting with a ‘Girls That Grill’ competition sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal. The competition begins at 4 p.m. and to see who is crowned the queen of BBQ at an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. on the main stage. In addition, the competitors will be showcasing their grill skills with demonstrations and free samples from Noon-2 p.m., featuring music, games and activities for the entire family to enjoy throughout the day.
  • Family Movie Night: “First Friday Family Films.” BFF will partner with Bentonville’s First Friday to showcase great family films brought to you Sony Pictures, KraftHeinz, ConAgra, Mars, Inc. and Mattel. One of the films being featured will be Geena Davis’ in ‘Stuart Little ’ to be shown at the First Baptist Church Bentonville.
  • Ghostbusters: BFF will also feature the original ‘Ghostbusters’ to be shown outside of the 21 C Hotel. Be sure to bring your lawn chairs and be ready to enjoy some family fun.
  • May 7th: Awards Show at Old High Middle School (Innovator or Patron Pass Only)
  • May 8th: A League of their Own Reunion Game at Arvest Ballpark (Ticket Required)
    League of Their Own and KidsFest: BFF will host a repeat of last year’s wildly popular ‘A League Of Their Own’ ball game at Arvest Ballpark, sponsored by Campbell’s and featuring national and local celebrities. The game will begin at Noon, to kick off the BFF KidsFest activities and the first pitch will be thrown at 2 p.m. Tickets will be available closer to the festival at www.nwanaturals.com or in person at the box office.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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