Linda Perry: Let It Die Here
Linda Perry: Let It Die Here (Tribeca Festival)

Bentonville Film Festival has added more events, panels and programming to this year’s 10th anniversary edition of the festival set for June 10-16 in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis will be honored with Variety’s Creative Impact in Leadership Award on Monday, June 10 at the festival. Variety’s Creative Impact Award is a career recognition highlighting executives and creatives who have made an impact within their industry and continue to elevate marginalized voices and demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and values.

“We are thrilled to see our founder Geena Davis – the true heart of the Bentonville Film Festival – be recognized with Variety’s Creative Impact Award,” said Wendy Guerrero, BFF President. “Geena’s passionate commitment to championing inclusion in entertainment is enlivening, yet it’s her focus on taking real action to accurately reflect gender balance and diversity in media that sets her apart. Her energetic dedication to these principles has already had tremendous influence, and we can’t wait to see where she leads us over the next ten years.”

Additionally Cassandra Freeman, Tika Sumpter and Michaela Watkins will take part in the iconic “Geena & Friends” program presented by the festival, taking place on June 14th at the Thaden Theater in Bentonville, AR.

The program, led by Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis and moderated by “The Hollywood Reporter’s” contributing editor Stacey Wilson Hunt, takes a unique spin on traditional comedic narratives by reimagining them with an all-female or gender non-conforming cast. The result is an evening filled with laughter, camaraderie, and a deep dive into the power of storytelling. This year’s cast includes Cassandra Freeman (“Bel-Air”), Tika Sumpter (“Sonic the Hedgehog”) and Michaela Watkins (“Thanks for Sharing”).

“I am thrilled to lead this program that reimagines all-male film narratives with an all-female/gender non-conforming cast, leading to great humor” said festival chair Geena Davis. “It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase the power of storytelling through laughter and camaraderie. Working alongside such talented individuals as Cassandra Freeman, Tika Sumpter, and Michaela Watkins is truly inspiring. I look forward to sharing this unique and transformative experience with everyone.”

In addition, the festival has announced the below additional events, panels and spotlight screenings to take place throughout the duration of the festival:


Creative Impact Award for Geena Davis
Monday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m. / Blake Street House
Variety’s Creative Impact Award is a career recognition highlighting executives and creatives who have made an impact within their industry and continue to elevate marginalized voices and demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and values.

Pitch-a-Thon Presented by SeriesFest
Friday, June 14 at 3:30 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
Five filmmakers with selections at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival will participate in an exclusive live pitch session with top television, new media and digital professionals in hopes of moving their projects – and careers – forward. Panelists include Lisa Ann Walter (Actor/Producer/Comic), Sarah Minnie (Head of Artist Development + Production, OTV), Erich C. Smith (Agent, TCA), Elias Plagianos (Writer/Director), and moderator Claire Taylor (Director of Programming, SeriesFest). Filmmakers pitching include Sylvester Folks, Set Hernandez, Cynthia Kao, Liann Kaye and Gabriella Moses.

Emerging Storytellers Showcase
Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas
A collection of short films representing the artistic culmination of programs leading the charge in providing access, guidance and resources to emerging filmmakers: mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program, Ghetto Film School, and the Coca-Cola Refreshing Films Program. Following the screening will be an in-depth Q&A with the filmmakers about their experiences crafting their work, and the representatives from the programs detailing the value and impact of mentorship in visual storytelling.

AI in Storytelling (Presented by IBM)
Friday, June 14 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
An interactive panel session aimed at highlighting the cutting-edge advancements in AI film technology. This segment will explore the possibilities and implications of the latest AI-driven tools – including how they can be designed to support filmmakers in their organizational and creative processes – and culminate in a stimulating panel discussion featuring industry leaders in the field.

Breaking Barriers: Finding Your Voice and Paving Your Own Career Path (Presented by Coca-Cola)
Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00 AM / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
An insightful panel discussion with influential women leaders, as they delve into their personal career journeys and defining moments. Learn how they overcame the challenges of finding their voice in the workplace and the importance of staying true to their passions to create their own path. Gain essential advice on self-growth and career development from these accomplished professionals who continue to push the boundaries in their fields.

The Next Generation of Media
Friday, June 14 at 11:00 AM / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
Join us for an insightful discussion on the current landscape of film sales and strategies for recouping your investment in the industry. In partnership with the O’Shaughnessy Foundation, this panel features influential voices from the film sector. Explore topics ranging from fast channels to advertising revenue and more.

If She Can See It, She Can Be It (Presented by Mars Wrigley)
Thursday, June 13 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
A remarkable showcase featuring a distinguished panel of actors, content creators, and executives who have successfully created or worked with women-led content. This annual panel is a beacon of inspiration and empowerment, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of these remarkable individuals. Leading the discussion is the esteemed Madeline Di Nonno, President & CEO of the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, who will bring her expertise and passion for promoting gender equality in the industry. Additionally, we are honored to have Academy Award winner and fearless leader of Bentonville Film Festival, Geena Davis, as one of the panelists.

Impact Over Intent (Presented by Mars Wrigley)
Wednesday, June 12 at 11:30 a.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
True progress results in changing minds, challenging traditions, and creating movements that motivate audiences to act. This panel will highlight the impact of purpose driven campaigns and initiatives that have inspired systemic change from a business practice and creative content production. Our esteemed panel of leaders will share their invaluable insights in how they are successfully implementing corporate initiatives to amplify social issues through their channels.

Navigating Minds: Exploring Mental Health and Media Influence (Presented by Mars Wrigley)
Wednesday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
In today’s digital age, media plays a pivotal role in shaping societal perceptions and attitudes towards mental health. From films and television shows to social media platforms and news outlets, the portrayal of mental health can significantly impact public understanding, stigma, and access to support. Followed by an in-depth presentation of the Geena Davis Institute’s latest research report, “Are the Kids All Right? Portrayals of Mental Health in TV Watched By Children and Teens.” This panel will delve into the complex relationship between mental health and the media, exploring both its potential benefits and pitfalls.

Portray Her 2.0: An Analysis of Women in STEM On-Screen (Presented by Mars Wrigley)
Thursday, June 13 at 11:30 a.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. However, media representations of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) continue to lag behind, often perpetuating stereotypes and overlooking the contributions of female scientists, engineers, and innovators. This panel seeks to explore the critical role of media in shaping perceptions of women in STEM and discuss strategies for improving representation and inspiring the next generation of female leaders in these fields.

The Power of Women Investing in Women (Presented by Mars Wrigley & the Harnisch Foundation)
Tuesday, June 11 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary
A celebration of women entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators in entertainment, media, and corporate brands who are driving positive change by investing in women. By shining a spotlight on these trailblazers, we hope to inspire and motivate others to follow suit, promoting a more inclusive and diverse landscape. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the movement that is breaking down barriers and empowering women to reach new heights of success.

AI in Storytelling Workshop
Thursday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. / Festival HQ at The Momentary
Bringing together technologists, business leaders, media and creative professionals, and filmmakers to explore the intersection of artificial intelligence and storytelling. Led by IBM Client Engineering, this event aims to showcase the potential of AI in transforming the art of storytelling, while also providing a platform for attendees to network, learn, and be inspired.

Geena & Friends
Friday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Thaden Theater

Two-time Academy Award Winning Actor Geena Davis along with an all-star group of equally brilliant actors will re-imagine memorable dialogue from all-male movie scenes through an all-female/gender non-conforming lens. A fun and poignant way to explore how refreshing it can be to expand our vision of who can be cast in roles originally written for men.
Cast: Geena Davis, Cassandra Freeman, Tika Sumpter, Michaela Watkins.

Making an Impact: Breaking Barriers & Challenging Biases (Presented by Paramount)
Wednesday, June 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

Paramount’s Impact Series focuses on supporting gender equity in the workplace by hosting thoughtful conversations with leaders to discuss lessons learned along the way in their career journey. During this discussion, a powerhouse panel of female leaders will share their own personal experiences and dissect how industries are leveling the playing field for all women, from the board room to the writer’s room, on camera and on store shelves.
Moderator: Pam Kaufman, President and CEO of International Markets, Global Consumer Products & Experiences, Paramount Global
Panelists: Julie Barber, EVP, Walmart General Merchandise; Erica Grundish, VP, PepsiCo Sam’s Club; Dawn Norvell, Global Head of Retail Lab, NielsenIQ


Thursday, June 13 at 8:30 PM / Thaden School Performing Arts Center
Linda Perry is one of the most outspoken and recognizable artists of the past 30 years. The hat, tattoos, attitude, and of course, her massive hit single “What’s Up”. In the decades since that song topped the charts, Linda’s been even more successful as a songwriter and producer for artists like Dolly Parton, Christina Aguilera, and Pink. Following the presentation of this documentary, which gives viewers unlimited access to Linda’s life and creative process, there will be an intimate, live musical performance with the artist herself.

Friday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas
(Created by Chad Feehan; Director, Christina Alexandra Voros)
Revealing the untold story of the most legendary lawman in the Old West, LAWMEN: BASS REEVES follows the journey of Reeves (Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi.
Cast: David Oyelowo, Lauren E. Banks, Demi Singleton, Forrest Goodluck, Barry Pepper, Dennis Quaid, Grantham Coleman, Donald Sutherland

Friday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m. /
(Director/Writer, Josh Margolin)
A feisty 93-year-old grandmother gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles, accompanied by an aging friend and his motorized scooter, to reclaim what was taken from her.
Cast: June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, Malcolm McDowell

Thursday, June 13 at 1:15 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas
(Director/Executive Producer, Joachim Rønning; Writer, Jeff Nathanson)
Born in 1905 to immigrant parents in New York City, Trudy Ederle overcame adversity and the animosity of a patriarchal society to rise through the ranks of the Olympic swimming team and complete a staggering achievement – a 21-mile trek from France to England – becoming the first woman to successfully swim the English channel.
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham, Kim Bodnia, Christopher Eccleston, Jeanette Hain, Sian Clifford, Glenn Fleshler

“Continue” (U.S.A.)
Thursday, June 13 at 3:15 p.m.
Skylight Cinemas

A girl suffering from depression is forced to get her life together when she is taken involuntarily to a mental institution after trying to follow in her father’s footsteps but failing in her suicide attempt. She finds unlikely friends, unwavering love, and a life she never imagined possible. All to find out some decisions can’t be undone. You only get one life.
Director/Writer: Nadine Crocker
Cast: Nadine Crocker, Shiloh Fernandez, Lio Tipton, Anthony Caravella, Emily Deschanel

“Unsung Hero” (U.S.A.)
Thursday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m.
Skylight Cinemas

David Smallbone (Joel Smallbone) and his wife Helen (Daisy Betts) move from Down Under to the States, with nothing more than their seven children, suitcases, and their love of music. They ultimately realize the musical prowess in their children, who would go on to become two of the most successful acts in inspirational music history: five-time Grammy Award®-winning artists for King + Country and Rebecca St. James.
Directors/Writers: Joel Smallbone, Richard L. Ramsey; Story by Richard L. Ramsey
Cast: Daisy Betts, Joel Smallbone, Kirrilee Berger, Jonathan Jackson, Lucas Black, Candace Cameron Bure, Terry O’Quinn

Wednesday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Skylight Cinemas

When Julian (Bryce Gheisar) is visited by his grandmother (Helen Mirren) after struggling with adjusting to his new school, he is transformed by her remarkable story of compassion and bravery of her attempts to escape Nazi-occupied France during WWII. From director Marc Forster and based on R.J. Palacio’s graphic novel, White Bird reminds us to be brave and choose kind.
Director: Marc Forster; Writer: Mark Bomback
Cast: Ariella Glaser, Orlando Schwerdt, Bryce Gheisar, Gillian Anderson, Helen Mirren


Carlos Aguilar (Film Journalist)
Betsy Bozdech (Editorial Director, Common Sense Media)
Sejin Croninger (EVP Worldwide Acquisitions, Paramount Pictures)
Sarah Minnie (Head of Artist Development and Production, OTV)
Ify Nwadiwe (Actor, Comedian, Writer)
Elias Plagianos (Writer, Director, Producer)
Diane Quon (Producer, “Minding the Gap”)
Shrihari Sathe (Producer, “The Cow Who Sang a Song Into the Future”)
Amber Sealey (Director, “Out of My Mind”)
Jatin Setia (Executive Director, Twin Cities Film Festival)
Kristal Sotomayor (Filmmaker, Festival Programmer)
Erich C. Smith (Agent, TCA Jed Root)
Claire Taylor (Director of Programming, SeriesFest)
Lisa Ann Walter (Actor, Producer, Comic)
Kris Wimberley (​​Co-Founder and Head of Creative, Studio Smokescreen)

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