Geena Davis, the founder of the annual Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas, expected to attract around 65,000 attendees, has recently reinforced the festival’s primary aim of bolstering marginalized voices with recent comments about diversity and inclusion.

In addition to her acting roles, Davis has become known for her activism. She champions female, LGBTQ+, and disabled voices, stating that while progress has been made towards “gender, race, and ethnicity-based inclusion,” the festival this year will prioritize disabled representation, which she argues is in the “low-single digits.”

A self-proclaimed “incorruptible optimist”, this year’s festival lineup includes the likes of “Out of Mind” about a sixth-grader suffering from cerebral palsy, “Continue” about a young girl suffering from depression, and “White Bird”, a follow-up to 2017’s breakout success “Wonder”.  Davis is a powerful advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, using her power within the industry and role in curating the festival to produce a roster of films unlike any other in terms of promoting these often under-represented perspectives.

She takes specific pride in the open-minded Arkansas community, speaking on how “Bentonville locals love the festival”, and how the festival continues to attract attention despite last year’s strikes, and long-lasting effects of the pandemics seeing a decline in film festivals in general. Perhaps one of the most important and impactful projects of the festival sees Davis herself play a key role as she launches “Geena & Friends,” which takes classic all-male scenes from comedy movies and recontextualizes them with an all-female cast.

75% of this year’s competition program comes from female or gender nonbinary creators, and 51% are from people who identify as BIPOC or Asian. The tenth edition of the Bentonville Film Festival is nearly upon us, running from June 10th – June 16th and serving as one of the most significant entries in the Summer festival calendar. It is one that is sure to drum up attention due to its boundary-breaking initiatives and diverse slate that promises inclusion for everybody.

Similar Posts