The festival takes place June 13 – 18, 2023 in-person with on-demand streaming through June 25 – including selections from competition titles (Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Shorts, Episodic, Adventure) alongside exciting work across all festival sections; featuring panels that challenge industry norms, and conversations that emphasize independent artists in the art of film, storytelling and technology; and curated studio spotlight films with celebrity conversations.
“We can’t wait for our 2023 festival and are so proud to be nearly a decade into formally championing underrepresented visionaries. BFF is designed to support storytellers from across the globe with opportunities to showcase their unique stories. We are thrilled to be the gathering place for these diverse artists sharing bold work while providing a global platform to give wider access to these artists and their stories,” said Geena Davis, Bentonville Film Festival Chair.
“We’re delighted to bring ground-breaking projects to the Heartland where we have been an annual convening place for independent film, artists, and audiences for the last eight years. With the culturally rich community, accessibility to outdoor adventure, and focus on innovative technology, we are excited about the added short film categories in Animation and Adventure at the 2023 festival. By expanding our program in these areas, it will further our mission in championing women; people of color; LGBTQIA+ individuals; people with disabilities; older persons (50+); and large-bodied individuals in two new categories for 2023,” said Wendy Guerrero, President of Bentonville Film Festival.
“Kickstart Entertainment has supported and produced the Bentonville Film Festival since its inception in 2015. We have a robust animation business with studio’s in multiple countries so we jumped at the opportunity to help create and support a new short category to introduce diverse artists, content creators and audiences into the BFF community. We are honored to provide 20,000 in cash prizes plus studio support for this category,” Jason Netter, Founder Ceo of Kickstart and Producer of BFF.
In 2022, the Bentonville Film Festival built a program with the following statistics: more than 82% of the competition program was from content creators who identify as female or gender non-conforming; 65% who identify as black, indigenous, a person of color, Asian, or Pacific Islander; 62% who identify as LGBTQIA+; 42% who are over 50; and 20% who identify as a person with differing abilities.
Program Submissions will open October 3, 2022 on FilmFreeway for Feature films; and open for Shorts & Episodic categories on November 14, 2022. Details on submissions, including frequently asked questions, are available here.
Members of the professional community accredited through the Press and Industry offices will have access to the 2023 program in person and online through on-demand viewing windows.
Information on ticket packages and venues will be announced in November.