FROM Trevor Drinkwater
The Bentonville Film Festival You may remember Geena Davis when she was on the lam in Thelma and Louise, or as Dottie the baseball-playing dairy farmer in A League of Their Own. She also played the President of the United States in the television show Commander In Chief. Davis has played a lot of great, complex roles but knows that good parts for women are far too few. Ever since she's worked in Hollywood, she's heard talk that certain movies -- often ones she starred in -- would improve availability of roles for women in the industry. But the momentum just never seemed to be there. Davis made personal appeals to studio executives and filmmakers, without much luck. Then, watching television with her young daughter one day, she realized the gender disparity on screen wasn't just in movies for grown ups, it was happening right from the beginning -- in TV for young children. That's when Davis knew she needed some hard facts and numbers to make her case. To conduct the research no one else was doing, she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media . Now, Davis has moved beyond research by partnering with Trevor Drinkwater, an entertainment executive with experience in consumer products. Drinkwater heads ARC Entertainment, a company with an emphasis on making movies to sell products. His largest customer? Walmart. Last year, Walmart and Drinkwater came up within the idea of hosting a festival with a focus on diversity. They figured it's good for the company and good for business. And they'd host it right in the town of Bentonville, Arkansas -- the home of Walmart. Drinkwater pitched the concept to his friend Geena Davis, and right away she said yes. In addition to Walmart, the Bentonville Film Festival boasts other big sponsors like Coca Cola and Kraft. Films in competition will be evaluated on their commercial potential, and the top winners will be guaranteed theatrical distribution through AMC, something no other film festival offers. The Bentonville Film Festival runs May 5-9, 2015. Davis and Drinkwater hope it will be the first of many.
In 'Free Fire,' Ben Wheatley wants to "meet the audience halfway" British filmmaker Ben Wheatley has built up a cult following with his hyper-violent, darkly funny movies. His newest film Free Fire is an action comedy starring Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, and a whole lot of guns. The movie has the broadest commercial appeal of any of his work to date, but it's still a Ben Wheatley film, which means, spoiler alert...a lot of people die.
North Korea tests more missiles, Turkey's president gains more power Early Tuesday morning, North Korea tested another intercontinental ballistic missile. It blew up shortly after take-off. But North Korea keeps working on a nuclear missile that could reach the U.S. Also in Turkey, a close vote has given sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey is an important Western ally in the region, but its leader is becoming increasingly authoritarian.
Elif Batuman: The Idiot Selin, the heroine of Batuman’s autobiographical first novel, The Idiot, is an 18-year-old Harvard freshman of Turkish-American descent. Set in 1995, the novel observes the rise of internet culture.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces an angry town hall crowd Senator Dianne Feinstein faced an angry crowd at her town hall in Los Angeles Thursday. The anger came from her would-be supporters -- people on the left. Also, a new bill wants to make it illegal for local police to cooperate with the feds who are targeting marijuana growers.