Bentonville Film Festival announced the jury prize winners for their sixth annual festival, with Isabel 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: BROKEN 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