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Northwest Bentonville
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Bentonville Film Festival


A Walmart-sponsored film festival intended to “champion women and diversity in film” will return to the Natural State for a second year in 2016. The Bentonville Film Festival, founded by actor Gina Davis and businessman Trevor Drinkwater last year, is set for May 3-8, 2016 at various locations around Bentonville.

Geena Davis

Organizers say that more than 37,000 people attended the inaugural event, but Davis said she expects the festival to come into its own in its second year.

“The inaugural event came together very quickly which did not allow us to execute on many of the great ideas to enhance the commercial viability of the platform,” she said. “This year will showcase some amazing and powerful initiatives to champion women and diverse voices in media.”

This year’s event will include 34 films in competition, including 16 documentaries and 18 narrative films, as well as new short film competition.

There isn’t a dedicated movie theatre in Bentonville, so most of the film screenings will take place in three mobile theaters around the square, each with a capacity of 91 people. Other film screening venues include Old High Auditorium, Bentonville Public Library, and 21C Hotel.

In addition, the festival will include several panels with industry executives and celebrities, special events, and other activities.

Also as part of the festivities this year is a concert featuring country artists Darius Rucker and Cassadee Pope, along with Fayetteville resident and The Voice Season 9 Top Three Finalist Barrett Baber at the Walmart AMP on May 4.

Local venue Meteor Music Lounge will also include a lineup of “nationally recognized and local musicians” each evening during the festival.

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Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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