Two other jury awards were given out, along with three special recognition prizes.
The festival led by Academy Award-winning actor and Festival Chair Geena Davis is dedicated to championing underrepresented voices. It took place this year between August 3-8.
Narrative judges included Marginal Mediaworks Founder & CEO, Sanjay Sharma, and Michelle Sugihara, who serves as Executive Director of CAPE. Marginal MediaWorks’s Head of Film Milan Chakraborty judged documentaries alongside Head of Whistle Studios, Melanie Johnson, with Tom Hoehn (EVP of Digital and Social, 4 Media) and Alexander Shekarchian (attorney, ASManagement) overseeing episodic and short categories.
Kili Big follows a group of plus-sized women from around the world, who attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The doc from director Ida Joglar made its world premiere at the festival.
7 Days follows Ravi (Karan Soni) and Rita (Geraldine Viswanathan), two Indian-Americans who are set up on a pre-arranged date by their old-fashioned parents, bonding only when they’re forced to shelter in place together during the Covid-19 pandemic. Roshan Sethi directed the romantic comedy from a script he wrote with Soni. The indie debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in June.
The full list of 2021 Bentonville Film Festival award winners and honorees can be found below:
Jury Award Winners:
Narrative Film Award: 7 Days, Director: Roshan Sethi
Documentary Film Award: Kili Big, Director: Ida Joglar
Short Film Narrative Award: Americanized, Director: Erica Eng
Episodic Award: NOW with Fiona, Director: Fiona Dawson
Special Recognition Awards:
Honorary Mention, Narrative Feature: Waikiki, Director: Christopher Kahunahana
Honorary Mention, Documentary Feature: Youth v Gov, Director: Christi Cooper
Honorary Mention, Short Film: Nahjum, Directors: Sebastian Torres Greene & Manuel Del Valle