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Ad Week has an interesting story about the first annual Bentonville Film Festival, which has been co-founded by actress/activist Geena Davis as a way of "celebrating female and minority filmmakers." The initial event will take place the week of May 5, and will be sponsored by Walmart, as well as by Kraft and Coca-Cola.

Trevor Drinkwater, festival co-founder and ARC Entertainment CEO, tells Ad Week that it wasn't Walmart's idea to put the festival in Bentonville, but that it seemed like a great fit.

"It was our idea to have it there and [Walmart] supports it, obviously, because they want to show off their town," Drinkwater says. "It's a great representation of small-town America, and it's not dissimilar to a town like [Utah-based Sundance Film Festival's] Park City ... All these brands are interested in putting their ad dollars and support on programming that is more reflective of what America looks like, as far as women and diversity goes,"

Molly Blakeman, a spokeswoman for the retailer, says that "as the largest seller of physical movies, we are always looking for great content. The Bentonville Film Festival gives us an avenue to identify compelling films from women and minority filmmakers. In addition, we believe empowering women is the right thing to do and will make us a more successful retailer." 

The story notes that "the festival is informed by research from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which is 'dedicated to improving the representation in gender and diversity of talent, filmmakers and business leaders by growing awareness through research, education and advocacy'."
KC's View:
Sounds like potentially a terrific event; I'd love to try to find my way there in May. And kudos to Walmart for seeing an opportunity and acting on it.