Bentonville FF: Karen Day on BAMBOO AND BARBED WIRE -Betsy Bozdech interviews

Karen Day has done everything from war-zone reporting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, and more to co-authoring a book (Seal: The Unspoken Sacrifice) to raising four children. She turned her attention to feature filmmaking with 2014’s Girl from God’s Country — a documentary about pioneering female filmmaker Nell Shipman. Now, with Bamboo and Barbed Wire, she explores the parallels between Japanese American internment during World War II and our current political climate and attitude toward refugees

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Bentonville FF – Ani Simon-Kennedy and Kishori Rajan on THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LONG ROAD – Betsy Bozdech interviews

Director Ani Simon-Kennedy — a veteran of commercial shoots and socially conscious projects — screened her second narrative feature, The Short History of the Long Road, at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival after premiering it at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. She has received support from the Sundance Institute, The Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, Film Independent, Chanel and AT&T. Accompanied by producer Kishori Rajan, Simon-Kennedy — who’s based in New York, where she and her producing partner Caitlin Yatsko run Bicephaly Pictures — talked to AWFJ about her film, a road movie starring Sabrina Carpenter and Danny Trejo, and female filmmakers.

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Bentonville FF: Dawn Valadez on THE PUSHOUTS – Betsy Bozdech interviews

As both a filmmaker and a social worker, Dawn Valadez has spent her career focusing on the experiences of young people of color. Those experiences are front and center in The Pushouts, which looks at how the system fails so many at-risk kids — but celebrates the mentors and decisions that can help disrupt the cycle. Valadez, who co-directed and produced the film was at the 5th annual Bentonville Film Festival to screen The Pushouts and talk about its mission of social justice.

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Bentonville FF: Amber McGinnis on INTERNATIONAL FALLS – Betsy Bozdech interviews

Amber McGinnis’ feature film directing debut is International Falls, which stars Rachael Harris as a dissatisfied Minnesota woman who finds her way to stand-up comedy. The film is part of the line-up at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival, which McGinnis is attending with her 3-month-old daughter.

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Bentonville FF: Rebecca Stern on WELL GROOMED – Betsy Bozdech interviews

Rebecca Stern makes her feature directing debut with Well Groomed at the 5th annual Bentonville Film Festival. Chronicling a year in the life of competitive dog groomers, the upbeat film is a joyous romp through a world you might have not seen before. And it’s really about dogs and passion and art and enjoying oneself in hobbies and your environment. It’s sure to appeal to both canine lovers and fans of quirky subcultures.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Bentonville Film Fest Honors Jamie Brewer – Brandy McDonnell reports

The Bentonville Film Festival will honor actor Jamie Brewer with the “See It, Be It” Award, which highlights a rising and influential voice in the landscape of diversity and inclusion in media. The American Horror Story actor will be honored for her unwavering commitment to representing and championing those with intellectual disabilities both on screen and off, ensuring media accurately reflects the real world.

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Bentonville Film Festival 2017: Diversity, Inclusion, and Women Everywhere! — Betsy Bozdech reports

Founded in 2015 by actress/gender-equality advocate Geena Davis and ARC Entertainment executive Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) concluded its third annual week of, as it proudly says in its mission statement, “championing women and diverse voices in media.” The 2017 festival ran from May 2-7, with 70 films — episodic content, shorts, and feature-length dramas and documentaries — competing in several jury- and audience-awarded categories.

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