Organizers of the Bentonville Film Festival look to expand the annual event’s focus on inclusion by adding an international element to the film competition for the 2019 festival.
The fifth annual festival will take place May 7-11 in downtown Bentonville, and the two new categories in the film competition include the international narrative feature film and the international documentary feature film, said Wendy Guerrero, president of programming.
“I think it will make it a bit more global, so that is exciting to bring some of these global films to Bentonville,” Guerrero said.
The event also will include four or five movie premieres or sneak peaks showing at event venue Record, panel discussions at 21c Museum Hotel, and nearly 40 films in the competition showing at six-screen Skylight Cinema. The event will conclude with an awards ceremony May 11.
“It’s our fifth year, so we’re really excited to be in the community for five years,” she said. “We’re building some programming around showcasing the mission and moving into our fifth year.”
Film entries will be accepted through Jan. 5, 2019. The event usually receives about 1,000 entries, said Guerrero, adding that “they’re coming in fast and furious.”
In the event, a private jury for each film category will judge the films, and categories include documentary and narrative feature film for U.S. and international films; short film; and episodic series, such as TV shows. This will be the second year for the episodic competition.
Nearly 85,000 people attended the 2018 festival, and Guerrero expects a similar number or more attendees for the 2019 event. In 2015, the event had 35,000 attendees.
On third Mondays of each month leading up to the festival, Skylight Cinema will show a film from a past festival winner or a film related to the event’s mission. More information on the festival is expected to be on the website, bentonvillefilmfestival.com, in early March. Individual tickets sales start in early April, and bundled pass sales have begun.