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Lingua Franca
Lingua Franca

Bentonville Film Festival announced the jury prize winners for their sixth annual festival, with I​sabel Sandoval’s​ Lingua Franca winning the jury award for Best Narrative Feature. ​In this beguiling drama, an undocumented Filipina immigrant paranoid about deportation works as a caregiver to a Russian-Jewish grandmother in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When the American man she’s secretly paying for a green card marriage backs out, she becomes involved with a slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s transgender.


Alice Gu’s​ The Donut King was awarded Best Documentary, Broken Bird was selected for Best Short Film Narrative and Ava & Bianca won for Short Film Documentary. Lady Liberty and Immigrant Voices of America took the honors in Episodic.

BFF considers this year’s event as their most diverse festival to-date with over 70 films where over 80% were directed by women, 65% BIPOC and 45% LGBTQA+.

Co-founded by Academy Award®-winning actor Geena Davis, this year’s festival was a new hybrid model that paired digital screenings, panels and events alongside select on-the-ground premieres and conversations.

The full list of awards and honorees are below:

Jury Award Winners

Narrative Film Award:​ LINGUA FRANCA,​ Director:​ ​Isabel Sandoval
Documentary Film Award:​ THE DONUT KING​, Director: ​Alice Gu
Short Film Narrative Award: B​ROKEN BIRD​, Director: ​Rachel Harrison Gordon
Short Film Documentary Award​: AVA & BIANCA​, Director: ​Rachel Fleit
Episodic Narrative Award:​ LADY LIBERTY​, Director: ​Taylor Lee Nagel
Episodic Documentary Award: ​IMMIGRANT VOICES OF AMERICA, ​Director: ​Miguel Angel Duran

Special Recognition Awards:

Best First Feature, Narrative: ​FAREWELL​, Director: ​Chris Chalk
Best Performance, Narrative: ​TAKE OUT GIRL​, Director: Hissoni Johnson, Actor: Hedy Wong
Best Editing, Documentary: ​MY DARLING, VIVIAN​, Director: Matt Riddlehoover

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