The organization will provide local resources and promote production in Arkansas.
The BFFoundation is launching Bentonville Way Entertainment, a production company that will champion women and inclusive voices in the film industry, according to a press release. BFFoundation is a nonprofit organization that formed last year to produce the Bentonville Film Festival.
Kristin Mann will serve as head of content for BWE which is producing films featuring alumni from past festivals including Dealing with Dad, written and directed by Tom Huang, the Jennifer Gerber-directed Has Been Beauty Queen and the Amber McGinnis-directed Buddy.
BWE will provide local production resources to its films, with the aim to produce in Arkansas whenever possible. The three features are expected to go into production in late 2021 and early 2022.
“With a focus on creating pathways for underrepresented filmmakers, BWE will continue to elevate BFFoundation and create meaningful change in the industry,” Mann said.
Huang’s Dealing With Dad is a comedic drama about an Asian American family figuring out what to do after realizing their elderly father is struggling with depression. The film will be produced by Tanner Kling, Alan Pao and Brian Yang, with Effie Brown executive producing. It is currently filming in Los Angeles.
Has Been Beauty Queen, written by Arkansas-born Gerber and Samuel Brett Williams, is a semi-autobiographical telling of Gerber’s experiences growing up in Hot Springs as a teenage beauty queen with a bipolar mother. Summer Shelton is also producing the film which is being shot in Arkansas.
Buddy centers on an elderly father who accidentally contributes to a man’s death, and in an effort to maintain custody of his adult son with Down syndrome he decides to cover it up. The film is written by Luke Thomas and directed by McGinnis who is a member of the BFF’s See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship. The project will be produced in partnership with Sanjay M. Sharma and Milan Chakraborty of Marginal MediaWorks.
“We’re thrilled to introduce BWE as a way to continue BFFoundation’s vision for artist support beyond the established festival and year-round programs,” said Wendy Guerrero, president of BFFoundation and the Bentonville Film Festival. “With the formation of Bentonville Way Entertainment, we’re creating a tangible pipeline for filmmakers, giving them the resources and opportunities needed to bring their stories to life.”
The 2021 Bentonville Film Festival ran Aug. 2-8 and awarded its jury prizes for Best Documentary to Kili Big and Best Narrative Feature to 7 Days.