BENTONVILLE, AR (SMI-WOMEN-ENTERTAINMENT, 08.09.21)—The Bentonville Film Festival today (August 07, 2021) announced the jury prize winners for their seventh annual Festival. The week-long Festival, led by Academy Award-winning actor and Festival Chair Geena Davis, is known for its dedication to championing female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and people with disabilities’ voices in entertainment with Films Directed by 71% Women, 75% BIPOC/API and 33% LGBTQIA+ Filmmakers.
Jury Award Winners:
Narrative Film Award: 7 DAYS, Director: Roshan Sethi
Documentary Film Award: KILL BIG, Director: Ida Joglar
Short Film Narrative Award: AMERICANIZED, Director: Erica Eng
Episodic Award: NOW WITH FIONA, Director: Fiona Dawson
In addition to the winners announcement, Women Starlight had the opportunity to watch and review some of the Festival' shorts films that we found interesting and educational through virtual screening.
Find below the selected short films with the reviews:
I am Normal
A sane woman fakes the symptoms of a mentally unstable patient in order to be admitted into a mental institution for a secret psychiatric experiment.
A mental health professional gets some to join in an experiment of what happens when a well person is institutionalized. Expected to go a few days, it goes many weeks. Fake a few common symptoms, get in then revert back to how you were before. Nope, those inside did not take to well to any of this, you are ill, this is part of your illness, thinking you are well. Medicated, good that she did not take it, that would have altered her behavior. Kira does her best to help others, is harshly punished for the breaking of a fish bowl. Her husband visits but she does not want to go as she feels she may still help others. Her salvation comes when the original doctor who helped her get in is shocked, she is still there, or was he? Again, the mental health is this nation is lacking, a misdiagnosis at first is not fixed, that her behavior shows no sign of illness does not get her out as many more with issues remain out in the public. An interesting take on how this may very well be handled and the chilling result.
After a confrontation with an I.C.E. agent, a 16 year old whitina (white acting Latina) is forced to go on the run with two unlikely companions, becoming a social media icon along the way
Cultural appropriation is typically when Caucasians take on that of various minorities to fit in, to profit perhaps. Here is a bit of an assimilation, by a cheerleader that is not taken well by others of her ethnicity. The US is a melting poot, but there are all over pockets of various groups, some stay with the customs, others don not, this young woman chose not. A great take on those who are Dreamers and the obstacles they face, are they able to stay, or must they go, how are they treated. Many came here in diapers or very young, not their choice, they do not know their nation or origin are familiar with some culture but are far more American than as these 3 main characters than Mexican. It gets a bit extreme but yes, raids are done and do grab those who may and those who may not be able to stay here. A great eye opener and way to personalize the issue with young people, not gang members, just your typical teenagers.
WHEN THE LEAVES FALL
Triggered by a haunting childhood memory, a homeless woman living inside an abandoned bus shelter loses her grip on reality, ultimately putting herself and those around her in imminent danger.
A woman damaged at childhood, flashes back to her youth, to her deranged father and his actions. In her state, she takes on his prejudices, it does not go well, it is a bit surprising as she had a friend in her youth of color. It drives home the sad state of affairs here and how those with mental health issues are NOT cared for. A poignant strong statement on that is driven home in this short.
I WAS A STRANGER
A woman fleeing domestic violence finds refuge on the road in a community of boondockers.
She broke away from an apparently abusive partner, yet he was able to track her down. She was a stranger to those who took her in, protected her despite his being armed, giving her a second chance at freedom. Not an easy thing for her to do and get as a graphic at the end showed. It was profound that one who saw her getting her massive hunting knife to tell her not to" bring a knife to a gun fight", a quote from a movie. A movie that is moving, shows the help needed to get away from such situations, and how few do.
Four distinct women in Central Florida bond over crickets, superworms, and cockroaches on an insect farm in the small town of LaBelle.
A job yes, but so much more to those doing it. Bug Moms, theirlove and caring help th bugs grow, they play a part in the local economy. Some use this job as a way of finding self worth, value. A good interesting, thought provoking movie.