“If they can see it, they can be it.” -Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Co-founded by Geena Davis, the Bentonville Film Festival is a one of a kind event that works to bring unity and equality through media and film content. Hosted by our lovely community, there couldn’t be a better place than Bentonville to be the home of such an inspiring week!
The festival brings all kinds of people from all walks of life, and maintains the family-friendly vibe. I got to meet and grab a picture with Jon Heder, aka Napoleon Dynamite. Fun fact: I met him at a coffee shop, and he told me he doesn’t even like coffee. Weird, right? As a coffee lover myself, I had a brief moment of disapproval but then realized I could never dislike the actor who played Napoleon. Who could, anyways?
Kijaro had the amazing opportunity to provide all of the seating for the event, so I was able to walk around and see the whole community lounge in a Kijaro Dual-Lock while enjoying an outdoor screening of Star Wars, and eat free popcorn provided by Orville-Redenbacher! This went on for an entire week - a whole week of family fun and community bonding.
Meg Ryan and Geena Davis were both hanging out for the entirety of the film festival and hosting events, and you could find them walking around downtown Bentonville. Coca-Cola had its own space where they gave out free Cokes, free food, and the DJ played music that the whole crowd knew and could sing along to. When he played Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, I think the whole crowd erupted in a dance party. And by the way, Coca-Cola Life is one of knew favorite drinks, thanks to the free can I got from the festival. Really, everyone should try it. P&G Beauty and Maybelline were giving out sample products, and, if you were lucky, free makeovers. It was amazing to see so many families enjoying the wonderful Spring day, surrounded by dozens of companies who came out to support the diverse role that Geena Davis and other partners are bringing to our area through the Bentonville Film Festival.
I have to point out that one of my favorite parts of the event was all the dogs walking around, just ready for me to pet. I loved so many other parts of the festival, like the overarching lesson of the importance of the inclusion of all kinds of diversity, the coming together of a community, and of course, getting to meet Napoleon Dynamite (arguably the best moment of the week), but then you find puppies and get so caught up in playing that you forget everything else. The Better Cities for Pets and Mars Petcare tent had dozens of dogs ready to play and be adopted. Last year, the festival allowed for 58 dogs to be adopted by event-goers. This little guy was my absolute favorite, and I knew that I couldn’t take him home, so I had to convince myself that another family would come by and be the perfect home for this puppy.
To find out more about the Bentonville Film Festival and its founders, head to http://bentonvillefilmfestival.com/. Or better yet, go to it! Hosted downtown, on the Bentonville Square, the Film Festival comes for the first week in May annually. There’s no better way to start off the warm weather season!
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Photos and words by Madeleine Roberts | @raddiemoberts