story by April Robertson, special to The City Wire
BENTONVILLE — What could you do with 4,320 minutes?
Using only this small amount of time — three days — as many as 10 teams of local filmmakers will create and edit a 15-minute film each featuring downtown Bentonville in the Making it Reel: Filmmaker Competition, presented by the Seedling Film Association June 16 at a local eatery, Tavola Trattoria.
The affair features two main events: the 4320 Film Challenge and an investors’ forum for filmmakers. The competition doesn’t guarantee funding for the winners, but one $500 prize will be awarded this year, according to the Seedling Film Association website.
It guarantees the time and opportunity to speak directly with people interested in investing in film, as well as project feedback from seasoned filmmakers. You could think of it as American Idol, only in urban Arkansas and with videos instead of voices.
Daniel Hintz, executive director of Downtown Bentonville, explained that the unique aspect of this film festival is its functionality, a way to create opportunities for visual artists and even base an economy around the arts.
“Some film festivals focus heavily on the product, the screening of the films, but we’re focusing more on the making of the production,” Hintz said. “We aim to provide support for the creation [of art].”
In an event that inspires cinematic entrepreneurs, Hintz said this is “exactly the kind of thing that creates jobs.”
The event is a joint effort of Seedling and DBI and is part of the larger, month-long ArtsFest.
“A partnership [between associations] has evolved over the past few years,” Hintz said. “Three years ago, this began with some films, last year we partnered with Seedling, and now with Seedling we help promote Bentonville through film.”
This is the first year that DBI has plans to use a film produced during the festival.
“We’ll be using one on the website as a resource,” he said.
The adventure began May 15, when contestants entered submissions and a $50 fee in exchange for entry to the Investor Workshop for Filmmakers. Four winners were notified at the beginning of June to begin preparing their concept for presentation to the investors before filming takes place June 8-10.
The Investor Forum for Filmmakers, open to the public for a $10 entrance fee, will take place at 10 a.m., June 16, on the second floor of the Tavola Trattoria, 108 S.E. A St., Bentonville.
“We’re expecting about 50 different pitches at this one,” Hintz said.
The Investor Forum for Potential Investors and the Winners Circle Pitch Presentation are both closed to the public and will take place 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 5:30 p.m. respectively.
The public is invited to attend the festivities following the competition, which include a screening of the 4320 Film Challenge from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bentonville Library and an after-party at 8 p.m. on the second floor of the Tavola.