Ten feature films are set to World Premiere at the 4th annual Bentonville Film Festival, which means, you saw it here first, Northwest Arkansas!
“It’s exciting to have such a wonderful selection of voices represented in our 2018 program, and an honor that filmmakers are selecting BFF as the festival where they want to premiere their films and kick-off heir festival journey, ” said Wendy Guererro, President of Programming. “We can’t wait to welcome them to Bentonville and showcase their movies to our community, who will get the opportunity to see them before anyone else in the world. And the best part of coming to screenings at a film festival are the Q&As with the creators that follow the films, so be sure to stick around and meet the filmmakers!” BFF was recently named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2018.
The films set to World Premiere at BFF are (click the title to get your tickets):
The Honor List, Director Elissa Downs (Tuesday May 1st, 7:30 PM AMC Theatre at 21C)
The summer before high school, Piper, Sophie, Isabella, and Honor are inseparable; by senior year, they barely speak. Piper is a popular party girl, Isabella is the editor of a feminist zine, Sophie pledges to stay a virgin until marriage, and Honor is a focused ballet dancer with a dream. When one of them suddenly passes away, they reluctantly put their differences aside and reunite to complete a forgotten bucket list, empowering them to honor every day like it’s their last. Truly a film made by women, for women, it explores the complexities of friendships, family, love, loss, and high school. Filmmaker Q&A will follow.
Banana Season, Director Sanghoon Lee (Wednesday May 2nd – 6:30 PM, Apple Blossom Theatre; Thursday May 3rd, 8:30 PM Marvel Experience at Skylight 4)
Peter is a little person with a big dream of flying like the bird species his dwarfish body most closely resembles. He is hired to paint the town’s water tower, a place he comes to see as his very own perch in which to take flight. Sun is a talented cage fighter who loves the energy and excitement of fighting but finds inflicting harm on others more unbearable than just absorbing the pain himself. A tale of true love, friendship and taking flight, Banana Season is a glimpse into the lives of ordinary souls, all at the point in their lives when they flower or fade. Filmmaker Q&A will follow.
Benji The Dove, Director Kevin Arbouet, (Wednesday May 2nd – 4:15 PM, Honey Bee Theatre; Thursday May 3rd, 3:45 PM, Marvel Experience at Skylight 3)
A tender tale of four boys who are rapidly coming to terms with school, bullies, friendship, and loyalty. Not to be limited by a poor upbringing, they tap their immense creativity and imagination to create The Order of the Red Dragon, a brotherhood of knights determined to fight injustice with justice. It’s terribly exciting, and life is one big adventure. But when fissures appear in the friendship, their adventure turns dark, and they are forced to face real-world dilemmas, and muster all they’ve got to save each other. Filmmaker Q&A will follow.
bias, Director Robin Hauser, (Thursday May 3rd – 4:15 PM, Honey Bee Theatre, Friday May 4th – 3:30 PM ,Marvel Experience at Skylight 4)
The toxic effects of bias make headlines every day: sexual harassment, racial profiling, the pay gap. As humans, we are biased. Yet few of us are willing to admit it. We confidently make snap judgments but we are shockingly unaware of the impact our assumptions have on those around us. The documentary feature bias follows filmmaker Robin Hauser on a journey to uncover her hidden biases and explore how unconscious bias defines relationships, workplaces, our justice system, and technology. bias contemplates the most pressing question: can we de-bias our brains? Filmmaker Q&A will follow
F.R.E.D.I., Director Sean Olson, (Thursday May 3rd, 11:00 AM, Apple Blossom Theatre; Friday May 4th, 10:45 AM, Marvel Experience at Skylight 3)
F.R.E.D.I. is found by 15-year-old James, and the pair quickly bond as they skate through teenage troubles, keeping it a secret from James’ recently divorced father, Randy. James’ best friend, science-whiz kid Danny, and the subject of James’ affection, the unattainable Natalie, team up to escape the manic corporate villain Grant, hot on F.R.E.D.I.’s tracks. Filmmaker Q&A will follow
Lez Bomb, Director Jenna Laurenzo (Thursday May 3rd, 4:15 PM, Apple Blossom Theatre; Friday May 4th, 4:00 PM, Marvel Experience at Skylight 3)
Lez Bomb is a multigenerational comedy of errors featuring a young woman (Lauren) who comes home for the holidays with some life changing news. Little does Lauren know, the eccentric cast of characters have their own stirring surprises as well.The result is a hilarious turn of events forcing the family to come together in a ceremonious series of coincidences. As it turns out, there is no good time to drop the Lez Bomb. Filmmaker Q&A will follow
Love Always, Mom, Directors Tricia Russo, Craig E. Shapiro, (Wednesday May 2nd, 5:45 PM, Marvel Experience at Skylight 5; Thursday May 3rd, 10:00 AM, Mockingbird Theatre at Arvest Community Room)
After 3 plus years battling stage 4 breast cancer, Trish Russo and her husband Greg, make the controversial decision to embark on a journey to have a child using an egg donor and a surrogate. The couple pick up the camera and turn it on themselves, initially to provide a resource for others who need to use alternative technology to build a family but it becomes much more than that. With both tears and laughter, we follow Trish and Greg as they get unique offers from friends and family to be surrogates and egg donors, follow them in the OR as they retrieve eggs and transfer embryos, and finally experience all the nerves and joys of pregnancy and birth. This is a never before seen look into the battle against metastatic breast cancer, as well as infertility, IVF, egg donation, and surrogacy. Moreover, it is about undying motherly love and a love letter to an unborn child. Filmmaker Q&A will follow
Miss. Arizona, Director Autumn McAlpin, (Wednesday May 2nd, 1:45 PM, Honey Bee Theatre; Thursday May 3rd, 1:15 PM, Marvel Experience at Skylight 3)
Rose Raynes was crowned Miss Arizona – 15 years ago. Now a bored housewife trapped in a less-than-ideal marriage, and mourning the independence of her 10-year-old son, Rose accepts an invitation to teach a life skills class at a women’s shelter. Digging out the relics of her pageant queen past, Rose attempts to share her “Making Your Presence a Present” platform speech with a room of four disinterested women dodging abusive exes. But when trouble shows up at the shelter, what the women really need is for Rose’s shiny SUV to get them out of dodge. The five embark on an all-night adventure through L.A.’s darkest streets and wildest drag club as the women fight to survive, and in so doing, discover what they need most. This one’s an anthem for any woman who’s ever been told to sit still and look pretty. This one’s for the marginalized.
This one’s for the girls. Filmmaker Q&A will follow
Origin Story, Director Kulap Vilaysack (Thursday May 3rd, 6:45 PM, Honey Bee Theatre; Friday May 4th – 6:00,Marvel Experience at Skylight 4)
When Kulap Vilaysack was fourteen, she took her father’s side in an argument and her mother replied, ‘Why are you defending him? He’s not your real dad.’ Twenty years later she’s finally ready to explore what that means. ORIGIN STORY is a feature-length, international quest – with stops in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Laos – to meet the biological father Kulap Vilaysack never knew. On the road, unforeseen revelations strike as hilarious or heartbreaking, rarely in between. ORIGIN STORY is a deeply personal but universally relevant tale of immigration, conflict, identity and personal responsibility. Filmmaker Q&A will follow
Urban Country, Director Teddy Smith (Friday May 4th, 4:00 PM, Apple Blossom Theatre; Saturday May 5th – 3:00 PM, Honey Bee Theatre)
URBAN COUNTRY is a coming-of-age family/faith-friendly drama featuring Faith, an 18-year-old girl from the city who moves to a horse ranch in the country to help her dying mother. An obvious fish-out-of- water, Faith learns to embrace the country lifestyle and ultimately chooses the importance of family, hard work and helping others to achieve her dreams.