Bentonville Film Festival partnering with The Unexpected, new mural planned

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,341 views 

Art is connecting Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith metro thanks to a partnership announced Tuesday (April 16) between the Bentonville Film Festival and The Unexpected in Fort Smith.

According to a statement from The Unexpected, the Bentonville Film Festival will bring a short documentary program and a feature film, along with filmmakers and cast to downtown Fort Smith.

“Enlarging the territory of the festival has always been a goal of the Bentonville Film Festival,” according to co-founder Trevor Drinkwater. “The partnership with The Unexpected is a natural progression in expanding the film festival, as well as the art program’s audiences and bringing diverse and world-class arts and artists to unique settings in Arkansas.”

Following are the two shows coming to downtown Fort Smith.
May 9
Short Documentary Program, followed by audience questions
Location: The Media Center at 5 Star Production, 100 N. Eighth St., Fort Smith
Time: doors 7 p.m., with showtime at 7:30 p.m.

May 10
Feature Film followed by audience questions
Location: The Media Center at 5 Star Production, 100 N. Eighth St., Fort Smith
Time: doors 7 p.m., with showtime at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets and other info can be found at the film festival website.

This year’s film festival is set for May 7-11, with the event including two new categories – the international narrative feature film and the international documentary feature film. 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. Nearly 85,000 people attended the 2018 festival, and organizers expect a similar number or more attendees for the 2019 event. In 2015, the event had 35,000 attendees.

The festival was co-founded by Academy Award winner Geena Davis & Inclusion Companies CEO Trevor Drinkwater.

The Unexpected, entering its fifth year, also plans to “activate a new mural on Garrison Avenue,” with the artist and location to be announced prior to the film events in downtown Fort Smith.

Steve Clark, CEO of Fort Smith-based Propak and founder of 646.6 Downtown, which manages The Unexpected, received the 2019 Governor’s Arts Award for launching The Unexpected.

“The event brings in renowned artists to create public art – typically large-scale murals on buildings, sculptures and art installations in Fort Smith. The event has led to a resurgence in development in downtown Fort Smith, as well as an increase in music and performing arts events throughout the year,” noted information on the Arkansas Arts Council website.

The Unexpected also was the 2017 Henry Award winner for Community Tourism Development and is designed “to bring high-quality urban and contemporary art to Arkansas alongside their curatorial partner, the international creative house, Justkids.” Justkids is a creative house that conceives and produces art projects internationally.