BFF has announced two featured titles: its Opening Night Selection is the world premiere of Elissa Down’s THE HONOR LIST, and the festival will present a Centerpiece Screening of Lea Thompson’s THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN.
“We’re thrilled to be hosting these trailblazing women in the beautiful region of Northwest Arkansas at the fourth installment of BFF,” said co-founder Geena Davis, Academy Award®-winning actor and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “This IS the Year of the Woman, and BFF is proud to be at the forefront of this seismic change. If they can see it, they can be it!”
BFF will kick-off its celebration of inclusive filmmaking with its Opening Night film with the World Premiere of THE HONOR LIST as its Opening Night film from Studio L, a Lionsgate company. Directed by Elissa Down and written by Marilyn Fu, THE HONOR LIST is based on a story by Marilyn Fu and Meghan Rienks, and stars Meghan Rienks, Sasha Pieterse, Karrueche Tran, and Arden Cho. The film follows former best friends who reunite when tragedy strikes before their graduation. It is produced by sisters Mariel, Zoe, and Cisely Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures, along with PopSugar Films, and had a crew of over 60% women. Truly a film made by women, for women, it explores the complexities of friendships, family, love, loss, and high school.
“We are very happy to premiere THE HONOR LIST at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival,” said Executive Producer Zoe Saldana. “The festival’s focus on women and inclusion perfectly reflect the theme and spirit of our film, filmmakers, and cast. We couldn’t ask for a better setting to launch this special movie.”
In addition, BFF will present a Centerpiece Screening of Lea Thompson’s THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN, from a script by Thompson’s daughter, Madelyn Deutch, who also scored the film. Thompson plays a supporting role opposite both Madelyn and her other daughter, Zoey Deutch.
Madelyn Deutch portrays a woman out of college dealing with the seemingly incessant failures of adulthood and the reality of a substandard dating pool, so she resigns herself to the support of her mother and sister, who are struggling with their own relationship problems. Zoey Deutch and Thompson’s husband, Howard Deutch, served as the film’s producers, alongside Gordon Gilbertson and Parkside’s Dan Roth and Damiano Tucci. The movie also stars Avan Jogia, Melissa Bolona, Jesse Bradford, Brandon T. Jackson, Cameron Monaghan, Zach Roerig, and Nicholas Braun.
THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN is the first feature film Lea Thompson, Madelyn Deutch and Zoey Deutch have worked on together as creatives behind the scenes. It has been a long collaboration and labor of love that evolved from a yearning for funnier and more honest young women’s stories. The film is set for a June theatrical release by MarVista Entertainment
“From our inception, MarVista has taken pride in supporting female filmmakers and voices,” said CEO Fernando Szew. “With THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN, we immediately connected with the authenticity of the story and performances and know this multilayered film will have strong appeal across generations. We are honored to be working with such a talented, creative and passionate group of women like Lea, Maddie, and Zoey, who also bring amazing dynamism as an inspiring family.”
BFF will announce its full lineup of films, music and more next week.