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Anti-Asian Racism Drama ‘A Great Divide’ to Open Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival (Exclusive)



A Great Divide, an anti-Asian racism drama that stars Ken Jeong, Jae Suh Park and Emerson Min, is set to open the competitive program for Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, running June 13 to 18.

The feature directorial debut of Emmy-winning commercial and short film director Jean Shim will get a world premiere during the ninth edition of the Bentonville, Arkansas festival. A Great Dividewith a screenplay by Shim, Jeff Yang and Martina Nagel, follows a Korean-American family that leaves the Bay Area for a fresh start in rural Wyoming amid pandemic lockdowns as it tackles the anti-Asian hate that sprung up in the US during the COVID-19 crisis.

Also getting a first look at Bentonville is director RJ Daniel Hanna’s Hard Miles, which dramatizes the true story of a youth prison social worker who took a cycling team comprising teenage inmates on a transformative 1000-mile ride. The film, written by Hanna and Christian Sander, stars Matthew Modine, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Jahking Guillory, Jackson Kelly, Zachary T. Robbins, Damien Diaz, Leslie David Baker and Sean Astin.

Bentonville also booked world premieres for other competition titles, including Erika Arlee’s A Song for Imogenewhich stars Kristi Ray and portrays an impoverished woman dealing with the fallout from a sudden death and an unexpected pregnancy, and Fiona Robert’s A View of the World From Fifth Avenuewhich stars Robert, Sophia Robert, Paul Karmiryan, Logan Miller and Annabella Sciorra.

The competitive narrative features section will also include screenings for Corey Sherman’s Big Boys; Jennifer Esposito’s mob drama Fresh Kills; Dutch Southern’s Only The Good Survive; and a US bow for Shamim Sarif’s polarized, a Palestinian-Canadian LGBT drama that stars Holly Deveaux and Maxine Denis.

The Bentonville lineup also includes Brooke Berman’s Ramona at MidlifeAristotle Torres’ Story Ave. USA; Bomani J. Story’s The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster; Rocio Mesa’s Tobacco Barns; Juan Felipe Zuleta’s Unidentified Objects; and Jessica Kozak’s Wilder Than Her.

The competitive documentary features sidebar has entries for Lagueria Davis’s Black Barbie, about Mattel’s groundbreaking Black Barbie; Banchi Hanuse’s Aitamaako’tamisskapi Natosi: Before the Sun USA; Sav Rodgers’ Chasing Chasing Amy, A look at Kevin Smith’s cult movie Chasing Amy; Jean Carlomusto’s Esther Newton Made Me Gay; and Finding Her Beat, by directors Dawn Mikkelson and Keri Pickett.

Other documentaries to compete in Bentonville include Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía “Beba” Contreras’ Hummingbirds; Rebecca Davis’ Join Or Die; Sierra Urich’s Joonam; Elaine Sheldon’s King Coal; and Patria Y Vida: The Power of Musicfrom director Beatriz Luengo.

“The Bentonville Film Festival has been part of my mission to ensure that the world we see on screen includes the vision of underrepresented communities. Marking our 9th consecutive year, we are proud to continue identifying and highlighting artists who are creating exceptional content behind the camera. From the onscreen lead to the production team, our stance on inclusion is consistent — and that’s how we drive real change in the industry,” Geena Davis, Bentonville Film Festival chair, said in a statement.

For the 2023 edition, Bentonville has programmed over 75 percent of its competitive section with films by directors who are female or gender nonconforming, and 60 percent of the lineup is by those who identify as BIPOC, Asian or Pacific Islander.

The Bentonville Film Festival will include an on-demand streaming section of the event to run through June 25.

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