May 25, 2023 - Things to Do

What to expect from the 2023 Bentonville Film Festival

Flavio Alves of Best of Fest winner "The Garden Left Behind " speaks at the the filmmaker awards ceremony at the fifth annual Bentonville Film Festival on May 11, 2019, in Bentonville. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival

The annual Bentonville Film Festival is back next month with two new categories and other fresh offerings.

Background: Founded in 2015 by actor Geena Davis, the fest highlights women and other underrepresented groups in film — on and off camera.

The latest: In addition to narrative, documentary, episodic and short-film categories, this year introduces categories for adventure and animation, festival president Wendy Guerrero told Axios. She projects they'll screen more than 100 films.

  • Students from Thaden School in Bentonville programmed the adventure category, selecting the films and arranging a jury, director of programming Ashley Edwards told Axios.
  • Also new to the event this year is a food festival component dubbed Filmmaker Tailgate.

What they're saying: The new offerings hopefully will attract more attendees, Guerrero said. In 2019 — before COVID-19 — the festival magnetized about 65,000 guests. Last year, it climbed back to about 35,000.

Details: This year's festival will feature an exclusive premier of "The Flash" on June 14, two days before the latest DC Comics superhero movie hits theaters, Guerrero said.

  • Disney will celebrate 100 years with screenings of classic fairy tales like "Cinderella." The Bentonville festival will facilitate discussions about unsung women animators who helped create Disney films.

Go to the festival: June 13-18. Get passes from $175-$1,000.


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