“BFF continues to distinguish itself as a fest not only invested in promoting the ideals of gender equality & cultural diversity, but also as a launching pad for burgeoning artists to distribute their big- and small-screen projects”
– Variety, May 2017

BENTONVILLE, Ark  (September 26, 2017) — The Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) today announced the dates for the fourth annual festival, returning to Bentonville, Arkansas May 1-6, 2018.  Co-founded by Academy Award® winner Geena Davis & Inclusion Companies CEO Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival champions inclusion in all forms of media.  With support from founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola, as well as prize sponsors AMC Theatres, Lifetime, Starz and American Cinema International — BFF is the only film competition in the world to guarantee theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution to a select winner.

“It’s exciting to watch the filmmaking community and senior industry executives come together to support women & diverse voices,” said Davis.  “Word is traveling that BFF identifies these voices and connects them with partners who’ll ensure that their stories reach wider audiences.  We look forward to presenting all forms of media and providing unique opportunities for storytellers.”

Added BFF co-founder Trevor Drinkwater, “As we enter our fourth year, BFF is focused on accelerating the entertainment industry’s emphasis on producing and integrating diversity into mass media.  The business imperative is clear:  content that is gender balanced and inclusive performs better.  BFF is working hard to provide a platform for the next generation of creators who’ll produce the content that inspires all young minds to do great things.”

BFF kicks off its year-round season on October 11 with the World Premiere of “6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain” at the AMC Fiesta Square in Fayetteville, Arkansas with stars Mira Sorvino, Sarah Dumont, director Scott Waugh and writer Madison Turner, along with the subject of the true-life story, Eric LeMarque.  The film first screened in the Showcase section at the 2017 Bentonville Film Festival and tells the story of former professional hockey player LeMarque (played by Josh Hartnett), a double amputee who leads an inspiring life after a harrowing struggle for survival.  “BFF is proud to bring this film back to Northwest Arkansas,” said Wendy Guerrero, President of Programming.  “Eric is someone who hasn’t let his experiences hinder his ability and we’re glad that everyone will now have the chance to share in his uplifting story.”  “6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain” chronicles LeMarque’s struggles after being stranded atop a mountain for eight days during a snowstorm.  He is forced to face his past and come to terms with his personal demons and rediscover the power of faith within in order to survive.  Tooley Entertainment and Sonar Entertainment fully financed the film which hits theaters for an exclusive cinema premiere on Thursday, October 12 and will be available on demand and digital HD on Friday, October 13.

BFF will continue to expand programming in 2018 and will offer Festival attendees an opportunity to enjoy an advanced screening of a major studio release, which will feature a number of strong female leads.  BFF 2018 will also feature an inspiring line up of narrative & documentary films in competition, shorts and episodic content, and studio Spotlight screenings.

Building on the success of the 25th anniversary screening of “A League of Their Own” last year, BFF will introduce its new Legacy Series, which will feature pioneering films that have changed the conversation.  Additional programming will include action-oriented discussion events presented by Mars, nightly musical performances presented by Coca-Cola and celebrity events presented by L’Oreal.

BFF experienced significant growth in its third year with record-breaking attendance, approximately 75,000 seats filled and over 1 billion media impressions from event coverage. Notable guests included: Davis, Meg Ryan, William H. Macy, Judy Greer, Patty Jenkins, Terry Crews, Marilu Henner, Jane Seymour, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Stephanie Beatriz, Aisha Tyler, Nely Galan and Jewel.  2017 Award winners were 82% female and 64% non-white.

The 2018 festival submissions for the BFF Film Competition will open on October 2, 2017 and close December 12, 2017. There is also a late submission deadline of January 12, 2018.  Films accepted into the festival will be announced March 2018.  To learn more details about the BFF submission guidelines and process, awards & other important information visit

New this year, creators will submit their work to the BFF exclusively through Withoutabox, the online festival submission system favored by filmmakers.

About Bentonville Film Festival:

Co-founded by Academy Award® winner Geena Davis & Inclusion Companies CEO Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival is a one of a kind annual event that champions inclusion in all forms of media. BFF is a yearlong platform culminating with an annual six-day festival, in partnership with founding sponsor Walmart and presenting sponsor Coca-Cola. The Bentonville Film Festival is held the first week of May of every year in Bentonville, Arkansas and includes an impactful Inclusion, Research and Content Summit. Connecting engaged entertainment industry leaders and major corporate changemakers with a diverse array of storytellers affords BFF the unique opportunity to amplify commercially viable content, solutions and initiatives that adequately represent the world around us. Because if they can see it, they can be it!

Snapchat: BFFfestival

About BFF Foundation: Bentonville Film Festival Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on promoting underrepresented voices in the entertainment industry through research, education, mentoring and industry partnerships. The primary partner of the Foundation is the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDIGM). The Foundation believes that by convening the media ecosystem – advertisers, content creators and content distributors – in support of media that accurately reflects the gender balance and diversity of our country, it can create a seismic change in how we inspire young minds to do great things. The Foundation also hosts events throughout the year in multiple locations and in collaboration with other likeminded organizations.

About Geena Davis and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media: Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress in “The Accidental Tourist” and earned the 2006 Golden Globe Award® for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, breaking ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.”

Davis is recognized for her tireless efforts on behalf of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the founder and chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount St. Mary’s College, the only research-based organization working with media and entertainment companies to engage, educate and influence the need for gender balance by reducing stereotyping and creating a diverse and inclusive range of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under.

About Withoutabox

Withoutabox is the premier submission service for film festivals and filmmakers. Since 2001, Withoutabox has enabled nearly 3 million festival submissions to the leading film festivals in the world, and more than 150 of these titles went on to receive an Academy Award® nomination with dozens eventually winning an Oscar®. Withoutabox provides a powerful and convenient solution for festivals seeking a service to manage their film festival submissions. World renowned film festivals that rely on Withoutabox to exclusively manage their submissions include The Sundance Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival. Filmmakers using Withoutabox can easily submit their films to film festivals around the word and can automatically create a title page for their film on IMDb (the #1 movie website in the world), reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors worldwide. Withoutabox continues to evolve on behalf of its customers, including recent product enhancements such as: promo codes; a Fire TV Festival Judging App; HD online screeners; a redesigned filmmaker experience; and support for Vimeo links. To learn more about Withoutabox or to sign up, visit Withoutabox is owned and operated by, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) (

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Lela Meadow-Conner, Director of Marketing
Bentonville Film Festival