The 7th annual Bentonville Film Festival Virtual panels will be free. Click on the Virtual Panels button below for a complimentary ticket to any of our virtual panels with a suggested donation of $10 in order to help us to continue to support inclusive stories and storytellers through our year long programming.

2021 Virtual Panels are presented by Mars, Inc.

GET PANEL TICKETS

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3
1:00PM – 2:00PM CST

I Am Not a Fetish or Model Minority: Redefining What it Means to be API in Entertainment

Join us for the launch of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media’s new groundbreaking research study:⁠ I Am Not a Fetish or Model Minority: Redefining What it Means to be API in Entertainment. This inaugural study investigates Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) representation in the largest grossing family films in the U.S. along with a landmark survey of API entertainment content creators. This study will provide critical insights to drive progress for more authentic representations.⁠

Moderator⁠: Craig Robinson (EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal)

Panelists: Margaret Cho (Comedian, Actor, Musician, Advocate and Entrepreneur)⁠, Christopher Kahunahana (Filmmaker and Award-Winning Artist) ⁠, Christina M. Kim (Executive Producer & Co-Showrunner), Kung Fu ⁠, Jane Lee (Manager of Original Animated Series, Netflix) , Fawzia Mirza (Writer/Creator/Director)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4
11:00AM – 12:00PM CST

Power of Media for Social Change

The true power of media can change minds, challenge traditions, and create movements by making deep emotional connections that stir and motivate audiences to take action. Join us for a dialogue with brand leaders on how they are amplifying social issues through their channels and the impact of their campaigns in different communities.

Moderator: Madeline DiNonno (CEO & President, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)

Panelists: Dr. Brent Ridge (Entrepreneur, Beekman 1802), Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Entrepreneur, Beekman 1802), Janey Whiteside (EVP/Chief Customer Officer, Walmart)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4

3:00 – 4:00PM CST

If She Can See It, She Can Be It

A showcase of best practices from industry executives, content creators, and actors who have successfully worked with female driven content. In partnership with GDIGM, this annual panel discussion is moderated by Madeline Di Nonno and features BFF Chair, Academy Award winner – Geena Davis.

Moderator: Madeline DiNonno (CEO & President, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)

Panelists: Geena Davis (Academy Award winning Actor), Marlee Matlin (Academy Award Winning Actor), Beth Paretta (Paretta Autosport Owner), Lisa Lu (BFF’s 2021 See It, Be It Award Winner, Actor)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4
10:00PM – 10:30 AM CST

In Conversation with Geena Davis & Callie Khouri

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary Screening of Thelma and Louise, there will be a conversation with film star Geena Davis and screenwriter, Callie Khouri, of Thelma and Louise that is moderated by Tomris Laffly IndieWire.

Participants: Geena Davis (Academy Award Winning Actor), Callie Khouri (Academy Award Winning Screenwriter)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5
11:00AM – 12:00PM CST

Out of the Shadows and Onto the Screen: Storytelling and Mental Health

A conversation highlighting the importance of prioritizing mental health whilst maintaining a career in the film and entertainment industry, especially during the pandemic. Invited speakers will include leading experts in the industry and advocates.

Moderator: TBD

Panelists: Justin Hillian (Creator, The Chi), Steven Levenson (Creator, Dear Evan Hansen), Anna Shinoda (Author, Learning Not To Drown)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5
2:00PM – 3:00PM CST

Animated Voices

A dynamic discussion highlighting animation. Invited speakers will include changemakers in the entertainment industry.

Moderator: Alexandra Whyte (News & Social Media Editor, Kidscreen)

Panelists: Chris Nee (TV screenwriter and producer), Margie Cohn (President of DreamWorks Animation), Audrey Diehl (Sr. Vice President, Series, Warner Bros. Animation)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 5
4:00PM – 5:00 PM CST

Sounds of Storytelling

A dynamic discussion highlighting film scoring, soundtracks and how music shapes story. Invited speakers will include changemakers in the entertainment industry.

Moderator: TBD

Panelists: Pierce Freelon (Politician, Musician and Academic, Founder of Blackspace) Antonina Armata (Co-Founder and Member of Rock Mafia), Rickey Minor (Emmy Award-Winning Music Director, Composer and Producer), Mirette Seireg (President and founder of MPATH, LLC)

Welcome to Bentonville,

Visit Bentonville helps us welcome our BFF guests each year to our town so that each person who visits feels welcome and engaged with our host city of Bentonville. They help highlight that Bentonville is truly the heart of America, with a big heart and big ambition. On their website, Visit Bentonville describes the town as a place where “modern progress meets rich history, where the arts meet innovation, and where companies meet communities.” We hope that each person who traveled from near and far will make it back to our town. Please check out Visit Bentonville’s tourism website for more information on what to do and see in Bentonville.

Learn More about Bentonville on the Visit Bentonville Website!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6
11:00AM – 12:00PM CST

Transgender Voices

A conversation highlighting the importance of authenticity in the representation and inclusion of trans voices on and off the screen. Invited speakers will include on and off-screen talent, as well as activists in the industry.

Moderator: Nick Adams (Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD)

Panelists: Alex Schmider (Associate Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD, Award Winning Film Producer), Mari Walker (Writer, Director, See You Then), Samantha Rogers