ACADEMY AWARD® WINNING ACTOR GEENA DAVIS AND ARC ENTERTAINMENT LAUNCH BENTONVILLE FILM FESTIVAL WITH FOUNDING SPONSOR WALMART AND PRESENTING SPONSOR COCA-COLA
Unprecedented Film Festival Celebrating Women and Diversity in Film is First to Guarantee Theatrical, Television, Digital and Retail Home Entertainment Distribution for Winning Films
Bentonville, AR / Los Angeles, CA (January 6, 2015) – Academy Award® winning actor Geena Davis and ARC Entertainment today announced the launch of the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF), a one-of-a-kind inaugural event designed to champion women and diversity in film. The Festival, which will take place from May 5 – 9 in Bentonville, Arkansas, will be the first and only film competition in the world to offer guaranteed theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners.
The festival, which is being hosted by ARC Entertainment, Walmart, Coca-Cola and AMC Theatres, will be chaired by Geena Davis and will screen approximately 75 films in competition, ranging from studio premieres to independent features and documentaries. The Festival’s Advisory Board is comprised of entertainment industry leaders and artists including Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Randy Jackson, Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Paula Patton, Natalie Portman, Nina Tassler and Shailene Woodley. While individual activities for each advisory board member will vary, they will include garnering support within the entertainment industry, leading mentorship activities, film selection input, festival jury participation, defining success metrics and measuring effectiveness of programs, and offering broad strategic counsel.
“I have been an advocate for women for most of my adult life,” said Geena Davis. “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is dedicated to improving the representation in gender and diversity of talent, filmmakers, and business leaders by growing awareness through research, education and advocacy. The Bentonville Film Festival is a critical component of how we can directly impact the quantity and quality of females and minorities on screen and behind-the scenes.”
Films that receive the Audience, Jury Selection and Best Family Film awards at the Bentonville Film Festival will receive a distribution agreement with a guaranteed traditional theatrical release on a minimum of 25 screens from AMC Theatres. AMC Theatres will also participate in the film submission and jury selection process.
“I’m honored to collaborate with ARC Entertainment, Walmart, AMC and Coca-Cola to launch this important initiative,” added Davis. “I have been so impressed with the commitment Walmart has made to support Women through their Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, which has as one of its goals to source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the U.S.”
In addition to the film screenings, the Bentonville Film Festival will include a star studded award show hosted by Geena Davis and presented by Kraft Foods Group, multiple panel discussions with celebrities and industry leaders, and family film night events that will be free to the public and held in exciting non-traditional venues.
Following the debut of the event, the Bentonville Film Foundation as part of the Bentonville Film Festival initiative will launch a year-round event calendar to promote women and minority filmmakers, artists, directors, and producers at colleges and universities around the country in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is the official non-profit partner of the festival.
Film submissions for the festival will open on Jan. 15, 2015, with films accepted into competition being announced in March 2015.
For more information on the festival please visit bentonvillefilmfestival.com or email your inquiry to [email protected]
About Geena Davis and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media:
Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “The Accidental Tourist” and earned the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.”
A long-time advocate for women, Davis is now recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the Founder and Chair of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s College, the only research-based
organization working with media and entertainment companies to engage, educate and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a diverse and inclusive range of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under.
Davis was recently appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Davis is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College.
About ARC Entertainment
ARC Entertainment is an independent media company that distributes, produces and acquires content for exploitation on its robust distribution platform. Founded in 2010, ARC Entertainment has achieved exponential growth with releasing over 150 new titles since its founding. The Company has unparalleled relationships with major national retailers and a management team with a history of success in the Entertainment and Consumer Products industries. ARC’s most recent platform expansion includes the launch of My Country Nation, (mycountrynation.com) an over-the-top (OTT) digital channel and web brand formed in partnership with, Brad Paisley, William Morris Agency, Taillight Productions, and Raindance Entertainment.
Trevor Drinkwater, CEO of ARC Entertainment
“We are proud to be associated with this meaningful and groundbreaking initiative. Filmmaking has a measureable impact on society and culture as a whole. The Bentonville Film Festival’s goal is to build a research based, commercially viable platform which will support a full offering of creative endeavors for female and minority content creators representing their perspectives which can often be crowded out in larger, franchise film projects. The BFF is differentiated from other festivals in that it will benefit from the support of the world’s largest retailer and blue chip sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and AMC Theatres. This support enables the BFF to offer groundbreaking, meaningful, and commercially viable prizes and capital to support film making that celebrate women and diversity.”
Nikkole Denson-Randolph, Vice President, Special & Alternative Content, AMC
“In my role of sourcing fresh and diverse independent films for AMC, I am privileged to often experience compelling and engaging films, by talented female and minority storytellers, which all too often aren’t made visible to American audiences. Our partnership with BFF ties in perfectly with AMC’s continued dedication to targeted programming, and I’m thrilled that this film festival will be able to provide these filmmakers and their movies with greater visibility.”
Stephen Quinn, CMO of Walmart
“I am so very proud of our Global Initiatives supporting Women and Diversity. This Festival will give Walmart an opportunity to advance that initiative through our support of the film industry. We are also very proud of the town of Bentonville and look forward to ‘showing it off’ to the world.”
Rob Gehring, President – Global Walmart Team, Coca-Cola North America
“From the cinema to at-home with family and friends, Coca-Cola has always been part of the movie-enjoyment experience. Coca-Cola also is a strong proponent of empowering women and diversity, which is a growing segment in the filmmaking industry. Our sponsorship of the Bentonville Film Festival is an impactful way to support the advancement and development of women and diversity in film, while reinforcing the enduring connection between our brands and the movies.”