The Bentonville Film Foundation has announced 12 distinguished jurors for the eighth annual Bentonville Film Festival. The jurors will present four awards including best narrative, best documentary, best short and best episodic.
Returning this year with both in-person and virtual options, the film festival will be chaired by Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis.
The Narrative Jury is composed of executive producer and co-executive producer Bird Runningwater; New York-based director and producer Shrihari Sathe; and Yolonda Ross, an actress, writer, director and producer. Sitting on the Documentary Jury is independent producer and distributor Karin Chien; Brooklyn filmmaker Isabel Bethencourt; and Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-nominated actress Shohreh Aghdashloo. The Episodic Jury consists of the award-winning film, television and digital producer Effie Brown; writer, director and producer Kitao Sakurai; and filmmaker Liz Cardenas. The Shorts Jury includes filmmaker and author Justine Bateman; JLove Calderón; and award-winning filmmaker Alex Schmider.
“When we choose our collaborators, it is just as important as when we choose our programming that we accurately represent our core mission and values,” says Wendy Guerrero, president of the Bentonville Film Festival. “We are so proud that this year’s distinguished group of jurors mirror the world we live in and they all do their part to make our screens do the same.”
In the BFF 2021 juried competition program, 71 percent of the films were directed by women, 75 percent were directed by people representing BIPOC or API communities and 33 percent were directed by people of the LGBTQIA+ community. Seventy percent of the films were written by women, 70 percent were written by people representing BIPOC or API communities, 32 percent were written by people of the LGBTQIA+ community and 87 percent featured a female lead, 81 percent had a BIPOC or API lead, and 30 percent had an LGBTQIA+ lead. Ninety-six percent of these films had a cast and crew that was made up of more than half of people from these same communities.
“We are excited to welcome this year’s outstanding array of jurors to the BFF community,” Davis says. “We look forward to sharing our diverse programming with them as they dedicate their time to thoughtfully award a standout project in each category.”
The Bentonville Film Festival Foundation also announced this year’s competition will take place in person from June 22-26 and virtually from June 22-July 3. According to the foundation, the complete festival program will be announced in May. For more information about the 2022 BFF or the foundation, click here.