Actress Geena Davis
announced today that she's launching a new film festival to be held in Bentonville (and called the Bentonville Film Festival) and sponsored by her own organization, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
, as well as corporate partners Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, AMC Theaters and ARC Entertainment. The festival, set to be held May 5-9, will begin accepting submissions on Jan. 15 and will focus on films that prominently feature women and minorities in cast and crew.
Davis is best known for her roles in `80s and `90s classics like "Fletch," "The Fly," "Beetlejuice" and "Thelma and Louise," and has previously stated that she started the Geena Davis Institute after the unexpected success of the latter film. "I didn't realize it would change my life," she said of her role as Thelma
. "And really, the biggest standout about the film is that it had two good female parts."
According to Variety
, the festival will be unique for being "the only film competition in the world to offer guaranteed theatrical, TV, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners." Davis also clarified that they'll be looking for films with high commercial potential. The festival's advisory board will include "Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Randy Jackson, Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Paula Patton, Natalie Portman, Nina Tassler and Shailene Woodley."
Variety also includes the guidelines for submissions:
To qualify for the festival’s competition, a film has to meet two of seven requirements: female or minority lead; female or minority director; female or minority writer; female or minority production company; gender and diversity balanced cast; gender and diversity balanced crew; and family or shared viewing appropriate.