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Geena Davis, speaking here at the 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls In California, has launched a new film festival through her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary's University.

Film festival to champion women and diversity

A new festival is shaking things up in the film industry. The inaugural Bentonville Film Festival will shine a spotlight on the talents of women and minorities - thanks to the vision of the festival's creators at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary's University.

The festival, which will take place from May 5 – 9 in Bentonville, Ark., will be the first and only film competition in the world to offer guaranteed theatrical, television, digital and retail home entertainment distribution for its winners.

In the news release announcing the festival, founder and Academy Award-winner Geena Davis said: “I have been an advocate for women for most of my adult life. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is dedicated to improving the representation in gender and diversity of talent, filmmakers, and business leaders by growing awareness through research, education and advocacy. The Bentonville Film Festival is a critical component of how we can directly impact the quantity and quality of females and minorities on screen and behind-the scenes.”

The festival, which is being hosted by ARC Entertainment, Walmart, Coca-Cola and AMC Theatres, will be chaired by Geena Davis and will screen approximately 75 films in competition, ranging from studio premieres to independent features and documentaries. Films that receive the Audience, Jury Selection and Best Family Film awards at the Bentonville Film Festival will receive a distribution agreement with a guaranteed traditional theatrical release on a minimum of 25 screens from AMC Theatres. 

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is housed at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. The strategic alliance between the women's university and the Institute began back in 2013 to create new research, educational and advocacy programs at Mount Saint Mary’s, and to support the ongoing work at the Institute. 

To learn more about the Bentonville Film Festival, and to check the film lineup for 2015, visit

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