CO-FOUNDED by actress Geena Davis and business exec Trevor Drinkwater, the fourth annual Bentonville Film Festival, which runs May 1-6, spotlights inclusion in film with an emphasis on promoting gender equality. It also does this: boggle the mind with choices. For starters, nearly 100 full-length films are on the docket, including everything from festival-y flicks nobody’s heard of to well-known classics like La Bamba and Sleepless in Seattle (welcome to NWA, Meg!). Then there’s the slew of short films, panel discussions and musical performances … Oy vey. Not to worry: We’ve studied the schedule and assembled a list of this year’s BFF must-sees and must-dos.
Men as Allies | D’Angela Proctor, senior vice president at TV One, chats with four dudes about how men can be better allies in the fight toward gender equality in the workplace and beyond.
Purposeful Storytelling: Going Beyond Entertainment to Make an Impact | Film industry folks dish on the best way to deliver stories that are diverse, free of bias and reflect the actual world we live in.
Geena and Friends: Talk About Reversing Gender Roles on Screen | Actresses Meg Ryan, Alysia Reiner and Geena Davis discuss the notion that achieving gender equality on screen can be as simple as flipping the script and turning male characters into female characters without changing a word of dialogue.
STUMPED | When filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser’s limbs are amputated, he turns to stand-up comedy as therapy and ultimately agrees to undergo an experimental double-arm transplant in an effort to reclaim his independence.
A Fine Line | An exploration of why only 6 percent (!!!) of head chefs/restaurant owners are women, when traditionally women held the central role in the kitchen.
Living in the Future’s Past | Along with a who’s-who list of scientists and authors, actor Jeff Bridges ponders how human beings fit into the natural world and how our fundamental animal nature might prove our ultimate undoing.
Skid Row Marathon | Follows five runners as they rise from the mean streets of LA to run marathons around the world, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn.
RBG | A long overdue look at the personal journey of the Notorious RBG, aka U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Tatterdemalion | A thriller about a young army vet suffering from PTSD who returns home to the Ozarks to look for her estranged brother.
Lez Bomb | An all-star cast—Cloris Leachman, Bruce Dern, Steve Guttenberg—helps tell the story of a young woman who’s come home for the holidays to introduce her wacky family to her new girlfriend.
Sadie | The story of a 13-year-old girl who lives at home with her mother while her father serves in the military. When her mother starts dating a new man, she takes measures to end the relationship. So it’s Parent Trap in reverse.
Egg | A dark comedy featuring Christina Hendricks, Alysia Reiner and Anna Camp that seeks to break stereotypes around motherhood and parenting.
The Counter: 1960 | Three “woke” black students from the present are hurtled back to 1960 and find themselves seated at a lunch-counter protest.
Wonder Buffalo | An overweight first-generation Thai American teen finds she can take on the world, but only when she’s cosplaying her favorite comic book hero.
Song Suffragettes | A collective of female singer-songwriters who perform every Monday night at Nashville’s The Listening Room Cafe. At BFF, the lineup of “Suffragettes” includes Kalie Shorr, Tasji Bachman, Savannah Keyes and Lena Stone.