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DEADLINE: Geena Davis’s Inclusive Bentonville Film Festival Unveils Gala And Competition Slate

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The Bentonville Film Festival announced their lineup of gala selections and competition films which includes the world premieres of Joey Travolta’s Carol of the Bells, Haroula Rose’s Once Upon a River. Co-founded by Geena Davis will kick off with a screening of Tom Donahue’s documentary This Changes Everything and a special presentation of the festival’s signature event, Geena and Friends. The fest takes place May 7-11 in Bentonville, Ark.

The fest champions more diversity and inclusiveness in the film industry and beyond. This year’s competition selections includes 15 narrative films, 14 documentaries, and 9 episodic projects. Of the lineup, 81% are female directed and 68% of the selections include a POC director and/or cast/subject in the forefront.

“This year’s lineup of films truly exemplifies our mission and we are thrilled to highlight the work of female filmmakers, people of color, LGBTQ+, filmmakers, talent with disabilities and more — in other words, everyone,” said Davis. “Connecting those filmmakers with audiences, providing a platform for them to tell their stories, and offering opportunities for each one of us to see a reflection of ourselves onscreen is such an essential step to help them build their careers and ensure that we can all see entertainment options that match the diversity we see in our day-to-day lives.”

The opening night film, This Changes Everything is produced by and features Davis along with Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Zoe Saldana, Rosario Dawson, Cate Blanchett, and others as it takes an incisive look into the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture. This will be followed by “Geena and Friends” where Davis and an all-star group of female actors re-imagine memorable dialogue from all-male movie scenes through an all-female lens.

The gala film, Joey Travolta’s Carol of the Bells, stars Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte as a troubled young man looking for his biological mother. When he finds her, he can’t handle the discovery that she is developmentally disabled. Unable to work through this unforeseen reality on his own, the man’s wife takes matters into his own hands forcing her husband to face the truth and heal the past.

The centerpiece selection, Once Upon a River, is based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell. The film is a tale of redemption involving love and loss for a woman who embarks on an outdoorsy, Americana-laced misadventure along the Stark River with a distinctly 70s-esque esthetic. The film stars Kenadi DelaCerna, John Ashton, Tatanka Means, Ajuawak Kapashesit, Coburn Goss, Sam Straley, Arie Thompson and Evan Linder.

See the full gala and competition slate at below article link.

https://deadline.com/2019/04/bentonville-film-festival-geena-davis-carol-of-the-bells-once-upon-a-river-inclusion-diversity-representation-1202588572/

Veronica LombardoComment