The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF)
Can you tell us a little about Bentonville Film Festival's commitment to women and diverse voices across features, shorts, and episodic content?
One of BFF's co-founders is Geena Davis; it was her work at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that inspired our initial formation. Today, we are proud to amplify voices from women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, filmmakers with disabilities, and veterans.
This commitment manifests itself in two ways:
1. We offer flights and hotel accommodations for the entire festival to all qualified filmmakers in an effort to foster a truly intimate, mission-centric, week-long collision of filmmakers, artists, and industry leaders.
2. We are the only festival to offer guaranteed distribution across all platforms to our jury award winners; we do this because we believe distribution, getting underrepresented stories seen by as big an audience as possible, is one of the big steps we can take toward progress.
What is the first thing BFF programmers take note of while reviewing submissions?
BFF strives to program films that explore issues surrounding gender and diversity made by and about underrepresented people. We want to push boundaries with our content while also programming films with commercial viability. At the end of the day, we program films with good stories, told in interesting ways, about places and people that we don't often see represented.
What advice would you give to someone submitting their film to BFF?
For the film to qualify for competition in the Festival, the film must have an Underrepresented Group in two (2) or more of the following roles:
How does BFF work with the entertainment industry to secure distribution for filmmakers? Can you provide some examples of filmmaker success stories?
Three of our founding sponsors are Walmart, AMC Theaters, and Lifetime television. Their commitment to the mission-driven content we discover, in addition to the commitments of partners like TV One and Starz, allow us to make meaningful offers of exposure to deserving filmmakers. The 2015 Audience Award Winning Documentary, In My Father's House, premiered on Showtime in early 2016. Jack of the Red Hearts, our 2015 Jury Award for Best Narrative, enjoyed airings on Lifetime and a limited theatrical run in 25 AMC Theaters. The 2016 Audience award winner, Floyd Norman: An Animated Life had a limited theatrical run, a collaboration screening co-sponsored by Essence Magazine, and is now available on Netflix.
What can filmmakers expect from screening their film in Bentonville, Arkansas?
Filmmakers can expect a Q & A to follow their screening. In addition to personalized technical support during their screening, festival staff are available 24/7 the entire week to ensure that guests feel like Bentonville is their home away from home. Time and again, filmmakers tell us how close-knit our festival feels. There's really nothing like it. The space that exists between our industry guests, panelists, filmmakers, and sponsor partners is minimal; over the course of a week, everyone runs into each other at the hotel, in restaurants, or at festival functions. We've been told it feels a little like summer camp for grown ups. We're all there for the same wonderful reason and everyone is incredibly supportive of each other. Because of the actual design of the town square, you're never more than a 5-minute walk to your next screening or panel.
December 26, 2016 - Regular Deadline
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