Geena Davis To Be Honored with “The Variety Creative Impact in Leadership Award”


Bentonville, AR (May 30, 2024) The Bentonville Film Festival, in collaboration with founding partner, Walmart, and presenting sponsor, Coca-Cola, announced today their additional events, panels and programming taking place at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival, set for June 10-16 in Bentonville, AR. The annual Festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a globally recognized platform amplifying female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and people with disabilities’ voices in entertainment. Festival passes and individual tickets are on sale now.


Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis will be honored with Variety’s Creative Impact in Leadership Award on Monday, June 10 at the festival. Variety’s Creative Impact Award is a career recognition highlighting executives and creatives who have made an impact within their industry and continue to elevate marginalized voices and demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and values.


“We are thrilled to see our founder Geena Davis – the true heart of the Bentonville Film Festival – be recognized with Variety’s Creative Impact Award,” said Wendy Guerrero, BFF President. “Geena’s passionate commitment to championing inclusion in entertainment is enlivening, yet it’s her focus on taking real action to accurately reflect gender balance and diversity in media that sets her apart. Her energetic dedication to these principles has already had tremendous influence, and we can’t wait to see where she leads us over the next ten years.”


In addition, the festival has announced the below additional events, panels and spotlight screenings to take place throughout the duration of the festival:




Creative Impact Award for Geena Davis

Monday, June 10 at 6:00 p.m. / Blake Street House

Variety’s Creative Impact Award is a career recognition highlighting executives and creatives who have made an impact within their industry and continue to elevate marginalized voices and demonstrate exceptional leadership skills and values.


Pitch-a-Thon Presented by SeriesFest

Friday, June 14 at 3:30 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

Five filmmakers with selections at the 2024 Bentonville Film Festival will participate in an exclusive live pitch session with top television, new media and digital professionals in hopes of moving their projects – and careers – forward. Panelists include Lisa Ann Walter (Actor/Producer/Comic), Sarah Minnie (Head of Artist Development + Production, OTV), Erich C. Smith (Agent, TCA), Elias Plagianos (Writer/Director), and moderator Claire Taylor (Director of Programming, SeriesFest). Filmmakers pitching include Sylvester Folks, Set Hernandez, Cynthia Kao, Liann Kaye and Gabriella Moses.


Emerging Storytellers Showcase

Wednesday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas

A collection of short films representing the artistic culmination of programs leading the charge in providing access, guidance and resources to emerging filmmakers: mitú x Walmart Filmmaker Mentorship Program, Ghetto Film School, and the Coca-Cola Refreshing Films Program. Following the screening will be an in-depth Q&A with the filmmakers about their experiences crafting their work, and the representatives from the programs detailing the value and impact of mentorship in visual storytelling.



AI in Storytelling (Presented by IBM)

Friday, June 14 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

An interactive panel session aimed at highlighting the cutting-edge advancements in AI film technology. This segment will feature demonstrations of the latest AI-driven tools designed to support filmmakers in their organizational and creative processes and culminate in a stimulating panel discussion featuring industry leaders in the field.


Breaking Barriers: Finding Your Voice and Paving Your Own Career Path (Presented by Coca-Cola)

Tuesday, June 11 at 10:00 AM / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

An insightful panel discussion with influential women leaders, as they delve into their personal career journeys and defining moments. Learn how they overcame the challenges of finding their voice in the workplace and the importance of staying true to their passions to create their own path. Gain essential advice on self-growth and career development from these accomplished professionals who continue to push the boundaries in their fields.


The Next Generation of Media

Friday, June 14 at 11:00 AM / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

Join us for an insightful discussion on the current landscape of film sales and strategies for recouping your investment in the industry. In partnership with the O’Shaughnessy Foundation, this panel features influential voices from the film sector. Explore topics ranging from fast channels to advertising revenue and more.


If She Can See It, She Can Be It (Presented by Mars Wrigley)

Thursday, June 13 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

A remarkable showcase featuring a distinguished panel of actors, content creators, and executives who have successfully created or worked with women-led content. This annual panel is a beacon of inspiration and empowerment, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of these remarkable individuals. Leading the discussion is the esteemed Madeline Di Nonno, President & CEO of the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, who will bring her expertise and passion for promoting gender equality in the industry. Additionally, we are honored to have Academy Award winner and fearless leader of Bentonville Film Festival, Geena Davis, as one of the panelists.


Impact Over Intent (Presented by Mars Wrigley)

Wednesday, June 12 at 11:30 a.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

True progress results in changing minds, challenging traditions, and creating movements that motivate audiences to act. This panel will highlight the impact of purpose driven campaigns and initiatives that have inspired systemic change from a business practice and creative content production. Our esteemed panel of leaders will share their invaluable insights in how they are successfully implementing corporate initiatives to amplify social issues through their channels.


Navigating Minds: Exploring Mental Health and Media Influence (Presented by Mars Wrigley)

Wednesday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

In today’s digital age, media plays a pivotal role in shaping societal perceptions and attitudes towards mental health. From films and television shows to social media platforms and news outlets, the portrayal of mental health can significantly impact public understanding, stigma, and access to support. Followed by an in-depth presentation of the Geena Davis Institute’s latest research report, “Are the Kids All Right? Portrayals of Mental Health in TV Watched By Children and Teens.”  This panel will delve into the complex relationship between mental health and the media, exploring both its potential benefits and pitfalls.


Portray Her 2.0: An Analysis of Women in STEM On-Screen (Presented by Mars Wrigley)

Thursday, June 13 at 11:30 a.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. However, media representations of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) continue to lag behind, often perpetuating stereotypes and overlooking the contributions of female scientists, engineers, and innovators. This panel seeks to explore the critical role of media in shaping perceptions of women in STEM and discuss strategies for improving representation and inspiring the next generation of female leaders in these fields.


The Power of Women Investing in Women (Presented by Mars Wrigley & the Harnisch Foundation)

Tuesday, June 11 at 2:00 p.m. / Fermentation Hall at The Momentary

A celebration of women entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators in entertainment, media, and corporate brands who are driving positive change by investing in women. By shining a spotlight on these trailblazers, we hope to inspire and motivate others to follow suit, promoting a more inclusive and diverse landscape. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the movement that is breaking down barriers and empowering women to reach new heights of success.


AI in Storytelling Workshop

Thursday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. / Festival HQ at The Momentary

Bringing together technologists, business leaders, media and creative professionals, and filmmakers to explore the intersection of artificial intelligence and storytelling. Led by IBM Client Engineering, this event aims to showcase the potential of AI in transforming the art of storytelling, while also providing a platform for attendees to network, learn, and be inspired.





Thursday, June 13 at 8:30 PM / Thaden School Performing Arts Center

Linda Perry is one of the most outspoken and recognizable artists of the past 30 years. The hat, tattoos, attitude, and of course, her massive hit single “What’s Up”. In the decades since that song topped the charts, Linda’s been even more successful as a songwriter and producer for artists like Dolly Parton, Christina Aguilera, and Pink. Following the presentation of this documentary, which gives viewers unlimited access to Linda’s life and creative process, there will be an intimate, live musical performance with the artist herself.



Friday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas

(Created by Chad Feehan; Director, Christina Alexandra Voros)

Revealing the untold story of the most legendary lawman in the Old West, LAWMEN: BASS REEVES follows the journey of Reeves (Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi.

Cast: David Oyelowo, Lauren E. Banks, Demi Singleton, Forrest Goodluck, Barry Pepper, Dennis Quaid, Grantham Coleman, Donald Sutherland



Friday, June 14 at 8:00 p.m. /

(Director/Writer, Josh Margolin)

A feisty 93-year-old grandmother gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles, accompanied by an aging friend and his motorized scooter, to reclaim what was taken from her.

Cast: June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree, Parker Posey, Clark Gregg, Malcolm McDowell



Thursday, June 13 at 1:15 p.m. / Skylight Cinemas

(Director/Executive Producer, Joachim Rønning; Writer, Jeff Nathanson)

Born in 1905 to immigrant parents in New York City, Trudy Ederle overcame adversity and the animosity of a patriarchal society to rise through the ranks of the Olympic swimming team and complete a staggering achievement – a 21-mile trek from France to England – becoming the first woman to successfully swim the English channel.

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham, Kim Bodnia, Christopher Eccleston, Jeanette Hain, Sian Clifford, Glenn Fleshler



BFFoundation is a non-profit organization focused on promoting underrepresented voices of diverse storytellers. The core mission is to champion female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, API, and persons with disabilities’ voices in entertainment and media, through research, education, and supporting the production and distribution of inclusive content.


The foundation believes that by taking real action with content creators, talent, influencers, advertisers, and content distributors, we can accurately reflect the gender balance and diversity of our country. Our goal is to create a seismic change in how media inspires young minds to do great things.


Along with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the foundation also partners with schools and community institutions to educate the challenging effects of stereotyping, unconscious bias, and representation imbalance of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and persons with disabilities. We also utilize media-based tools and content to build positive association and equality-based learning models.

BFFoundation is focused on working with its partners to foster inclusivity in media and entertainment to produce a positive influence in the community at large.


For more information, visit



Scenario Communications