Short Films Selected for the 14th Annual BendFilm Festival



Bend, OR – BendFilm is pleased to round out a robust feature film lineup with the 68 short films selected to screen at the 2017 BendFilm Festival running October 12 – 15, 2017.  

Erik Jambor, BendFilm Festival Programmer, said, “Short films are bold stories told in a brief timeline that dares the audience not to blink.  Short film programs are great ways to audiences to be exposed to a wide variety of stories, artists and styles.”



Shorts Block One: Narratives

The Boy by the Sea (directed by Vasily Chuprina / 7 min. / Netherlands) – The story of an unlikely friendship between a young boy and an old lighthouse keeper.


So Much Yellow (directed by Erica Milsom / 10 min.) – A sister’s perspective on the day she lost her little brother, Bruce, who has Down syndrome.


Fireflies (directed by Raouf Zaki / 16 min.) – As a withdrawn Middle Eastern man begins frequenting a café, the headwaiter grows increasingly suspicious about the true nature of his visits.


Unbound (directed by Maggie Mahrt / 13 min.) – In turn-of-the-century Japan, a young girl sacrifices her freedom to save her ailing father. She soon becomes entangled in an unexpected metamorphosis.


Real Artists (directed by Cameo Wood / 12 min.) – Sophia Baker just scored her dream interview at a world-famous animation studio. But she soon learns all is not as she expected behind the curtain.


Leo Johnson (directed by Evan Bluestein / 20 min. / American Film Institute) – A couple joins their friend to steal an engagement ring from his ex-fiancée’s house.


Shorts Block Two: Narratives


Acid Test (directed by Jennifer Waldo / 14 min.) – When Jenny tells her parents she’s tripping on acid, the hallucinogenic parental meltdown unravels the family dynamic as she discovers the power of rebellion.

Game (directed by Jeannie Donohoe / 15 min.) – A new kid in town tests the limits at the high school basketball tryouts.

How Far She Went (directed by Ugla Hauksdottir / 13 min. / Columbia University) – An unflinching look at family, personal sacrifice, and the lengths we will go for those we love.

A Whole World for a Little World (directed by Fabrice Bracq / 15 min.) – A woman tells her baby a great story.

Mrs. Drake (directed by Caitlin FitzGerald / 15 min.) – Overworked and overstressed, Laura is a single mother struggling to maintain her equilibrium while raising her frequently difficult son.

Panic Attack! (directed by Eileen O’Meara / 3 min.) – A hand-drawn animation that explores anxiety, obsession, and one woman’s slippery hold on reality.


Shorts Block Three: Northwest Wonders


Above the Fray (directed by Graham Zimmerman / 7 min.) – The story of Beth Rodden, one of the greatest climbers in history, beginning with her terrifying expedition to Kyrgyzstan.

At What Price (directed by Tommy Day / 12 min.) – Professional adventure and climbing photographer John Price explores the myth of ‘the perfect life’ that’s so pervasive in social media.

Haskell (directed by James Allen Smith / 11 min.) – Three moments in the life of Haskell Carlston, who was born with the ability to manipulate time.

Iron (directed by L. Gabriel Gonda / 17 min.) – A young woman joins the labor force working on the railroad during WWI.

Mixtape Marauders (directed by Peter Edlund / 17 min.) – Two young burnouts live in a world of mindless day jobs, petty drug deals, and wildly unconventional musical tastes.

North & Nowhere (directed by Scott Ballard / 12 min.) – A girl, a gun, and a last chance.

Portlandia Squirrels (directed by Rob Shaw / 4 min.) – Three rats try to figure out what makes humans treat their cousins, the squirrels, so nice while they get the short end of the stick. Featuring the voices of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

Sticker Shock (directed by Taylor Morden, Popmotion Pictures / 3 min.) – Jury award-winner of BendFilm and Scalehouse’s 72-Hour Filmmaker Scramble.


Shorts Block Four: Documentary


Invading Giants (directed by Kevin Fraser / 12 min.) – Every year residents of Newfoundland and Labrador look to the north with baited breath hoping the Atlantic Ocean will deliver to them a parade of ancient icebergs.

The Last Honey Hunter (directed by Ben Knight / 30 min.) – Maule Dhan Rai is the last man in the remote Nepal village of Saadi who has been visited in a dream by a spirit called Rongkemi. If no one else in the village has the dream, a generations-old tradition may die.

Slacker (directed by Max Lowe / 9 min.) – Slacklining to many is a mystery, a line where impossible and possible collide. For Terry Acomb it’s simply a way of life.

The Strongest I’ll Ever Be (directed by Phil Ebiner / 15 min.) – After being handed a heartbreaking diagnosis of ALS, award-winning photographer Anthony Carbajal confronts the disease that robs him of his abilities and his future.

Water Town (directed by Maya Craig / 24 min. / University of California, Berkeley) – The current and three former mayors of Weed, California fight to win back the spring water they believe the corporations are stealing from them.


Shorts Block Five: Family

All I Want (directed by Venika Mitra / 7 min. / India) – A street urchin’s single minded and unwavering pursuit to buy one mango.

Dempsey the Diabetic Superhero (directed by Kendall Goldberg / 13 min. / Chapman University) – Meet Dempsey Foxson, a spunky, 10-year-old competitive gymnast who refuses to let her Type 1 Diabetes affect her dreams.

Doctor B (directed by David Chen / 8 min.) – Professional yo-yoer Jonathan Best (AKA Doctor B) returns to one of the largest yo-yo championships in America.

Homegrown (directed by Quentin Haberham / 9 min. /  National Film and Television School, UK) – Francis learns that what is right for himself may not be best for his son.

Just, Go! (directed by Pavel Gumennikov / 11 min. / Latvia) – A young man who lost both legs in a childhood accident comes to the rescue of the girl next door.

New Toy (directed by Rogerio Boechat / 7 min. / Brazil) – A baby gets a new toy bear from his mom.

Scrap Dolls (directed by Aude Cuenod / 13 min.) – An 11-year-old boy, grieving over the loss of his best friend, encounters an artist who makes art out of abandoned objects.

Wishing Box (directed by Wenli Zhang & Nan Li / 6 min.) – After years of sailing, pirate Derek and his monkey have found a magic treasure chest.


Shorts Block Six: Late Night


Don’t Ever Change (directed by Don Swaynos / 10 min.) – A reunion between a woman and her estranged daughter is interrupted by a stranger with an unusual request.

Evocation of a Nightmare (directed by Wally Chung / 2 min.) –
Entering what seems to be a deserted building, a man explores and finds an unwanted guest.

Home Education (directed by Andrea Niada / 25 min. / London Film School, UK) – An inquisitive girl is convinced by her mother that her dead dad will resurrect if they show how much they miss him.

Jouska (directed by Wynter Rhys / 6 min.) – A man’s hypothetical conversation that he plays out compulsively in his guilty mind.

Meanwhile in Space (directed by Cameron Burr & Donald Ian Black / 2 min.) – A dramatic moment on an intergalactic freighter.

Second to None (directed by Vincent Gallagher / 7 min. / Ireland) – Frederick Butterfield has always been runner up to his twin brother Herman.

Shy Guys (directed by Fredric Lehne / 8 min.) – Two strangers confront one of the most insidious scourges afflicting mankind while standing at public urinals with their willies out.

Unexpected Company (directed by Kerry Vaughn Miller / 17 min.) – An unexpected visit exposes a dark secret two reclusive sisters are trying to hide.


Shorts Screening With Features

After the Smoke (directed by Nick Waterman / 9 min.) – A town gathers for the local rodeo in a remote outback mining station.
Screens with The Scent of Rain & Lightning

Alison (directed by David Lester / 13 min. / Canada) – A dysfunctional night with his girlfriend challenges Jay to evaluate whether the rewards of intimacy and commitment are worth it.
Screens with Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks

Buttercup (directed by Megan Brotherton / 12 min.) – As Maggie struggles with her mother’s death, a surprise visitor helps her find joy again.
Screens with For Now

The Collection (directed by Adam Roffman / 11 min.) – Two friends stumble upon the holy grail of movie memorabilia in the most unlikely of places.
Screens with Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much

Cop Dog (directed by Bill Plympton / 6 min.) – A plucky guard dog has a new job patrolling our airports sniffing for illegal drugs.
Screens with Revengeance

Dancing in Limbo (directed by Amanda Larsh, Hannah Bradford, Caroline Roffe & Nick McDonald / 14 min. / Chapman University) – When dance becomes the only way to express yourself and forget your troubles as a refugee, true passion emerges.
Screens with Liyana

The Day Before (directed by Geoff Marslett / 15 min.) – The losses are literal when a pre-wedding hunting trip in the Colorado mountains spins out of control.
Screens with Infinity Baby

Dress in Black (directed by Daniel Daly / 10 min.) – Hoping to come to terms with why she is unable to get out of bed, Olivia explores her memories and imagination.
Screens with The Sounding

Dressed (directed by Sydney O’Haire / 7 min. / DePaul University) – After her engagement collapses, Mags’ mourning is interrupted by her little sister, recently out and seeking her support at a Pride protest.
Screens with The Promised Band

Election Night (directed by Ryan Scafuro / 8 min. / UK) – An international crowd gathers until the early morning to watch the US election at a pub in London.
Screens with The Misogynists

Emergency (directed by Carey Williams / 11 min.) – Faced with an emergency, a group of young Black and Latino friends carefully weigh the pros and cons of calling the police.
Screens with Bomb City

Finding Balance (directed by Luke Seile, Paul Williams & Matt Katsolis / 5 min.) – Artist Adam Haynes finds inspiration and life balance outside.
Screens with 42 Grams

The Full Story (directed by Daisy Jacobs & Chris Wilder / 8 min. / UK) – Toby is selling his childhood home. Walking through the empty rooms, he is assailed by memories of happiness unravelling and the helplessness of being a child. Why do close ties break and loved ones leave? Can we ever know the full story?
Screens with Forever ‘B’

Make Them Believe (directed by Taimi Arvidson / 14 min. / Russia) – A Russian wrestler enchanted by the United States plays the ultimate villain as the stars and stripes-clad character “American Hope” in Moscow’s underground wrestling ring.
Screens with The Road Movie

My Treasure (directed by Michael Flores  / 20 min. / El Salvador) – A cleaning woman steals a Salvadoran Civil War map and hunts for treasure in the hope of reuniting with her son.
Screens with Blank 13

Now (directed Otávio Lima & Mickael Couturier / 9 min. / Brazil) – A poetic meditation on the physical and mental journey of climber Lucas Lima as he tests his determination on a difficult ascent.
Screens with The Tenth Step

Pittari (directed by Patrick Smith / 4 min.) – A horned creature’s destructive rampage is halted by a stubborn adversary.
Screens with All the Rage

Rekindled (directed by Erin Brown / 13 min.) – After a string of failed relationships, a successful career woman gets the chance to rekindle a romance with the love of her life.
Screens with The Relationtrip

Richie’s (directed by Gaspard Nemec / 11 min.) – After opening its doors in the mid-90’s, Richie’s gym became a safe haven where people found refuge from the drug riddled, violent streets. Now in the midst of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, it’s fighting to survive.
Screens with The Cage Fighter

Ride Share (directed by Leo Gilbert / 19 min.) – A stressed out millennial is forced to take a long ride share to visit her father.
Screens with Your Ride is Here

Running Eagle (directed by Konrad Tho Fiedler / 13 min.) – An American Indian girl escapes from captivity in the oil fields of North Dakota and hitchhikes back to her home in Blackfeet country, Montana.
Screens with Walking Out

A Shepherd (directed by Vern Moen / 10 min.) – A young shepherd in Oregon’s Willamette Valley struggles with the life and death circle of his ancient job in a modern era.
Screens with No Man’s Land

Side Effects May Include (directed by Emily Laue / 9 min. / Stony Brook University) – A voice actor gets a lucrative new job voicing pharmaceutical commercials.
Screens with Mr. Roosevelt

Stars (directed by Han Zhang / 5 min. / Academy of Art University) – Grandpa and grandson sell stars in a town near the shore. One night they run out of the stars.
Screens with Dealt

Temporary (directed by Milena Govich / 12 min.) – A compassionate veterinarian works as an in-home euthanasia specialist for dying pets.
Screens with Dog’s Best Friend

Wave (directed by Benjamin Cleary & TJ O’Grady Peyton / 14 min. / Ireland) – A man wakes from a coma speaking a fully formed but unrecognizable language, baffling linguistic experts from around the globe.
Screens with Mustang Island

We Go On (directed by Matteo Servente / 13 min.) – The conversations of two old gents in hospice care ricochet around like a shootout in a fantasy factory as they both relish the last communication left to them.
Screens with Lucky

Spotlight, Foreign Language Films, Late Night and Local Focus Features for the 2017 BendFilm Festival

BendFilm announced today the Spotlight, Foreign Language, Late Night and Local Focus Feature Films for the 2017 BendFilm Festival. The 2017 Program Will Present 35 Feature Films From 5 Countries:


Spotlight Features:


All the Rage (Saved by Sarno)
Directed by Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley & David Beilinson
Northwest Premiere / 94 min.
America is experiencing an epidemic of pain. One man has the answer to the problem, yet the medical establishment has ignored him. For nearly 50 years, Dr. John Sarno has been single-handedly battling the pain epidemic by focusing on the mind-body connection and the nature of stress and the manifestation of physical ailments. Using a first-person approach to explore the work of Dr. Sarno and his radical methods to treating back pain, All the Rage examines the connection between emotions and health. Through interviews with Sarno, experts, and esteemed patients including Larry David and Howard Stern and many others, the film offers a profound rethink of how we approach our health care.

Directed by Luke Korem
Northwest Premiere / 86 min.
One of the most renowned card magicians of all time, Richard Turner astounds audiences around the world with his legendary sleight of hand. What they may not even realize — and what makes his achievements all the more amazing — is that he is completely blind. Charting Turner’s colorful life from his tumultuous childhood to the present, Dealt reveals how through determination and force of will, he overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to rise to the top of his profession. It’s both a tantalizing, up-close look at the secretive world of magic and a candid, awe-inspiring portrait of a man who lives beyond his limitations.

Dog Years
Directed by Adam Rifkin
Northwest Premiere / 94 min.

Vic Edwards was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, known for his mustachioed good looks and cocky swagger. With his Hollywood glory a distant memory, the now-octogenarian Vic is prompted to reassess his life with the passing of his beloved dog and the arrival of an invitation to receive a lifetime achievement award from the “International Nashville Film Festival.” Burt Reynolds stars in this universal story about growing old.

Liberation Day
Directed by Morten Traavik & Ugis Olte
West Coast Premiere / 98 min.
Under the loving but firm guidance of a longtime fan turned filmmaker and cultural diplomat, and to the surprise of a whole world, the ex-Yugoslavian cult band Laibach becomes the first rock group ever to perform in the fortress state of North Korea. Confronting strict ideology and cultural differences, the band struggles to get their songs through the needle’s eye of censorship before they can be unleashed on an audience never before exposed to alternative rock ‘n’ roll. Meanwhile, propaganda loudspeakers are being set up at the border between the two Koreas and a countdown to war is announced. The hills are alive… with the sound of music.

Directed by John Carroll Lynch
Oregon Premiere / 88 Min.
The spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off-the-map desert town. Having outlived and outsmoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment. Lucky is a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection. Starring Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr., and Tom Skerritt.

No Man’s Land
Directed by David Byars
Central Oregon Premiere / 81 min.
With unfettered access, director David Byars gives a detailed, on-the-ground account of the 2016 standoff between protesters occupying Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and federal authorities. After the leaders of this occupation put out a call to arms via social media, the Malheur occupiers quickly bolstered their numbers with a stew of right-wing militia, protestors, and onlookers.

Walking Out
Directed by Alex & Andrew Smith
Oregon Premiere / 96 min.
An estranged father and son are forced to rely on one another to survive an unforgiving wilderness in this riveting, richly emotional thriller. Once a year, fourteen-year-old David travels from his mother’s home in Texas to visit his loner father, Cal, in the remote mountains of Montana. There, the two embark on their annual hunting excursion, during which the taciturn Cal attempts to connect with his smartphone-addicted son. But when a terrifying turn of events leaves Cal critically wounded, it’s up to the teenage David to summon enough strength for both of them. Infused with a deep reverence for the rugged beauty and harsh realities of the Montana landscape, Walking Out is both a tense survival saga and a disarmingly moving father-son tale. Starring Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, and Bill Pullman.



Late Night Features:


The Misogynists
Directed by Onur Tukel
West Coast Premiere / 85 min.
Cameron is a lonely businessman and Trump supporter who has recently separated from his wife of 35 years. Now living on his own in a hotel room, he celebrates Election Night with his sad-sack protégé Baxter who is experiencing marital woes of his own. As the night progresses and the two men begin to sense the historic political upset that is playing out before their eyes, their beliefs, motivations and identities are challenged. Starring Dylan Baker and Jamie Block.

Directed by Bill Plympton & Lim Lujan
Central Oregon Premiere / 70 min.
The latest feature from Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, co-created with underground animation veteran Lim Lujan, Revengeance follows a low-rent bounty hunter named Rod Rosse, “The One-Man Posse,” who gets entangled in a web of danger when he is hired by U.S. Senator Deathface to find the girl who stole a package.

Local Focus Features:


Earth Seasoned…#GapYear
Directed by Molly Kreuzman
Central Oregon Premiere / 75 min.
Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and short-term memory problems, Tori finds her greatest teacher in nature, spending a “gap year” living semi-primitively with four other young women in the Oregon Cascade Mountains.

Shut Up Anthony
Directed by Kyle Eaton
Central Oregon Premiere / 93 min.
Anthony talks too much. A neurotic creative grinding out a living at a Portland ad firm, he loses his girlfriend, job and dignity over the course of a few days. With nothing else to do, Anthony flees to his family’s timeshare where he encounters Tim, an estranged family friend who is also an alcoholic theology professor. The two are forced to share the space as they clash over relationships, religion, vodka and coaster etiquette. Shot on location in Bend and Sunriver.



Foreign Language Features:































Blank 13
Directed by Takumi Saitoh
West Coast Premiere / 71 min. / Japan
Koji is bewildered by a sudden phone call from his brother telling him that he has located their long-lost father. It has been thirteen years since their dad stepped out of the house, never to return. Moreover, Koji is stunned to hear that their father has cancer and been given three months to live. When the inevitable day of their father’s funeral arrives, Koji and his brother must confront both the thirteen-year blank created by his absence as well as a collection of odd acquaintances who have come to pay their last respects.

Sex, Pity and Loneliness
Directed by Lars Montag
US Premiere / 120 min. / Germany
Sex, Pity and Loneliness lets different attitudes and life expectations of urban people clash: physician Julia hires a callboy as an escort, while her ex-husband lives out his fantasies with an internet acquaintance. A retired teacher has a dark secret linking him to a teenage-girl whose little sister gets kidnapped, putting the marriage of the her parents to the test. Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Helmut Krausser.

The Square
Directed by Ruben Östlund
Oregon Premiere / 145 min. / Sweden
Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square,” an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for “The Square,” and the overblown response sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Staring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West.

The Road Movie
Directed by Dmitrii Kalashnikov
Northwest Premiere / 67 min. / Russia
A fascinating mosaic of asphalt adventures, landscape photography, and some of the craziest situations you’ve ever seen, The Road Movie is a stunning compilation of video footage shot exclusively via dashboard cameras in Russian automobiles. The dash-cam phenomenon permeates Russian roads so thoroughly, capturing a vivid range of spectacles through the windshield, including a comet crashing down to Earth, an epic forest fire, and no shortage of angry motorists taking road rage to wholly new and unexpected levels. All the while, accompanied by bemused commentary from unseen and often stoic drivers and passengers.





Erik Jambor: Living the Dream

It’s no secret that being a film festival programmer is a dream job. That fact is not lost on Erik Jambor who loves watching movies, discovering new filmmakers, discussing program themes with the community and curating festival films for indie film fans. Erik also has the incredibly challenging task of working with a committee of dedicated film lovers to narrow the more than one thousand annual submissions into a weekend film slate for the BendFilm Festival. But he truly loves it.

In fact, if you need help figuring out which films should be on your personal schedule, just drop him a line or stop by the BendFilm office with a spare cup of coffee. He’s always happy to help folks find their way through the festival schedule.

Luckily, Erik took a break from his never-ending to-do list to answer a few questions about programming a festival, his favorite films and his must-have snack during a movie:


Q. How would you describe the role of film in your life?

I’ve been programming festivals since co-founding Birmingham, Alabama’s Sidewalk Film Festival back in 1999, so by now film is like is an opposable thumb. Film makes it much easier to get through life.


Q. What is your favorite snack to eat while watching a film?

Soft pretzels. The yellow mustard is always a mess in the dark, but you gotta have it.


Q. How do you screen films? (ie at home on the couch, at your computer with headphones, both?)

I have a four-year-old, so however I can!


Q. What movie would you take with you to a deserted island and why?

Don Hertzfeldt’s Billy’s Balloon. It’s a 6 minute short from 1998 that pretty sums up how I’d feel in that situation. I’m pretty sure I’d need a friendly-looking balloon to punch me in the face over and over again…


Q. What is the best part and toughest part about being a programmer?

Lots of free movies to watch! And it’s a rush to be able to notify filmmakers that they’ve made the cut. But on the flip side, it’s  impossible to run all my favorites, and I’ve had to build up calluses on my heart to be able to give them the sad news — and send out the other 1,000+ rejection notifications we dole out each year. I’m sure my karma takes a serious hit with each one.


Q. What trends are you seeing in the submissions this year?

It’s a big year for films about Uber-like ride sharing services. It also seems like social media pays a major role in more than a few.


Q.  What are you looking for in the submissions and how do you create a well rounded program?

I love to find films that are a visceral punch in the gut — where you’re taken for a ride that ends up being different from what you expected. Of course, some films are more subtle, and ultimately we want a program that offers a wide range of emotions and experiences. Overall, the goal is to run a broad range of films that appeal to lots of different types of people. Hopefully, within the program somewhere, you’ll find your next favorite film.


Q. Do you have a favorite BendFilm Festival memory you can share?

That’s gotta go back to 2007. The festival awards show was on-stage at the Les Schwab Amphitheatre that year. It’s a bit risky to hold outdoor events in Bend in October, and winter came early that year. The on-stage presenters had to deliver awards through chattering teeth, and the ice sculpture table settings refused to melt, just reminding everyone how cold it was.

Narrative and Documentary Competition Films For the 14th Annual BendFilm Festival

The Competition Categories Feature 20 Films: 2 World Premieres, 3 West Coast Premieres, 7 Northwest Premieres, 3 Central Oregon Premieres and 5 Oregon Premieres


BendFilm announced today the narrative and documentary feature films set to screen at the 2017 BendFilm Festival, running October 12 – 15, 2017.  Selected from more than 1,080 submissions, the films announced today will be juried by a panel of industry professional who will present more than $10,500 in cash prizes across the entire program, including $5,000 for Best of Show. The remaining program categories and the full Festival schedule will be revealed in the next two weeks.

Todd Looby, Executive Director of BendFilm, said, “This festival tagline says it perfectly, ‘It’s All About the Story.’ This year’s films cover a wide range of topics, genres, moods and characters that speak to the story of our current time. There’s something in here for everyone and we know audiences will come away both smiling and thinking. What more can you ask for?”

Erik Jambor, BendFilm Festival Programmer, said, “This year’s line up features a broad range of films from ground-breaking documentaries that bring you directly into to the heart of the story to inventive comedies told from fresh and unique perspectives. This festival is about discovering new ideas and the eclectic lineup is full of surprises for all audiences.”

The Festival schedule is set to go up online soon and will be posted on Stay tuned for more film announcements in the coming days.



Bomb City
Directed by Jameson Brooks
Northwest Premiere | 95 min.
Based on the true story of Brian Deneke, Bomb City is an intense and illuminating crime-drama about the cultural aversion of teenage punks and artists in a conservative Texas town. Their ongoing battle with a rival, more-affluent group of jocks leads to a controversial hate crime that questions the morality of American justice–especially relevant today.

Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks
Directed by Josh Crockett
West Coast Premiere | 86 min.
Two estranged siblings are reunited at the funeral of their parents, a couple of crazy doctors-without-borders who rarely stuck around to do any parenting. Though supposedly all grown up, Marcus and Michelle are as lost and self-centered as kids. They struggle with their lack of grief over the deaths, their struggle with each other and their parents’ unwelcome imprint on them.

For Now
Directed by Hannah Barlow & Kane Senes
Central Oregon Premiere | 79 min.
In this funny, beautifully-shot and moving comedy, Hannah, an Australian ex-pat living in Los Angeles, organizes an audition at the San Francisco Ballet Company for her younger brother Connor, a professional dancer based in Europe. Her boyfriend Kane and best friend Katherine join them on their road-trip up the Californian coast, bypassing many wondrous sun-soaked sights… as well as their self-respect.

Infinity Baby
Directed by Bob Byington
Oregon Premiere | 73 min. | b&w
Neo (Nick Offerman) is a researcher whose stem cell work generates babies who don’t age as a service for aspiring parents who never want to leave the baby bubble. His protege, Ben (Kieran Culkin), refuses to commit to a relationship despite his latest girlfriend Allison’s (Trieste Kelly Dunn) persistence to thwart his mom’s (Megan Mullally) sabotage.


Mustang Island
Directed by Craig Elrod
West Coast Premiere | 86 min. | b&w
In the tradition of indie films’ greatest darkly comedic directors, Mustang Island follows Bill (Macon Blair) after his girlfriend breaks up with him at a New Year’s Eve Party, Bill drags his pals to an off-season Texas beach town to track her down. Instead of reconciling the relationship, the group gets wrapped up in the town’s cultural adventures.

The Relationtrip
Directed by Renée Felice Smith & C.A. Gabriel
Northwest Premiere | 89 min.
At an age when everyone around them is settling down and finding love, Beck and Liam are self-proclaimed loners. After bonding over their mutual disinterest in relationships, they decide to go away together on a ‘friend’ trip. And that’s when things get weird. Really, surreally weird.


Mr. Roosevelt
Directed by Noël Wells
Oregon Premiere | 90 min.
After an auspicious death in her family, struggling LA-based comedian Emily Martin (Noel Wells, Master of None and SNL) returns to Austin. There she finds herself in the awkward position of staying with her ex and his new girlfriend until the funeral while trying to close old doors from her past.

The Scent of Rain & Lightning
Directed by Blake Robbins
Northwest Premiere | 102 min.
When a young woman learns her parents’ killer has been released from jail, she is forced to revisit old wounds while discovering the destructive power of hate and the true cost of family secrets fully revealing themselves. Based on the novel The Scent of Rain & Lightning by Nancy Pickard.

The Sounding
Directed by Catherine Eaton
Northwest Premiere | 93 min.
On a remote island off the coast of Maine, Liv, after years of silence, begins to weave a language out of Shakespeare’s words. A neurologist brought to the island to protect her commits her to a psychiatric hospital instead. Liv becomes a full-blown rebel in the hospital where she fights for her voice and freedom.

Your Ride is Here
Directed by Fraser Jones
West Coast Premiere | 58 min.
Over the course of one night in Nashville, a jaded Uber driver chauffeurs his newly-appointed trainee. Along their routes, the two are introduced to a cast of peculiar passengers who break down personal barriers, freed by the confines of a shared car, the dark of the night, and the power of laughter mixed with heartbreak.




42 Grams
Directed by Jack C. Newell
Northwest Premiere | 81 min.
After working at some of the world’s best restaurants, chef Jake Bickelhaupt’s could not find a kitchen to call home. A chef without a restaurant, Jake began cooking fifteen-course menus out of his apartment. Alongside his dedicated wife Alexa, their “underground” restaurant becomes a foodie hot spot. A year later, they take out a lease on an abandoned chicken joint to open a real restaurant, 42 Grams.

Big Sonia
Directed by Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday
Central Oregon Premiere | 93 min.
When Sonia Warshawski (90) is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead Seattle mall), she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away,” facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces.

The Cage Fighter
Directed by Jeff Unay
Oregon Premiere | 81 min.
A blue-collar family man breaks the promise he’d made years ago to never fight again. Now forty years old, with a wife and four children who need him, Joe Carman risks everything — his marriage, his family, his health — to go back into the fighting cage and come to terms with his past.

Dog’s Best Friend
Directed by Eryn Wilson
World Premiere | 78 min.
A film for dog lovers and dog haters, Dog’s Best Friend is a portrait of Jacob Leezak and his journey to rehabilitate man’s best friend, one dog at a time. With no fewer than 30 dogs on his property in  Sydney, Australia on any given day, Jacob specializes in ‘powerful breeds like Pit Bulls; the very dogs society would usually euthanize.

Forever ‘B’
Directed by Skye Borgman
Oregon Premiere | 91 min.
In 1974, in the quiet town of Pocatello, Idaho, 12-year-old Jan Broberg was kidnapped by her family’s best friend and neighbor. 18 months later, out on bail and awaiting trial for kidnapping, Robert Berchtold abducted Jan a second time, triggering a nationwide FBI manhunt.

The Last Animals
Directed by Kate Brooks
Oregon Premiere | 91 min.
The Last Animals follows the conservationists, scientists, and activists battling poachers and transnational trafficking syndicates to protect elephants and rhinos from extinction. From Africa’s front lines to behind the scenes of Asian markets, the film takes an intense look the global response to this slaughter and the desperate measures to rescue the Northern White Rhinos who are on the edge of extinction.

Directed by Amanda Kopp & Aaron Kopp
Northwest Premiere | 77 min.
Five orphaned children in Swaziland collaborate to tell a breath-takingly beautiful story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey to rescue her young twin brothers is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.

Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much
Directed by CJ Wallis
World Premiere | 85 min.
Ted Slauson is a math teacher from Texas who spent the majority of his life closely studying and memorizing all the prize amounts on The Price Is Right. Ted’s lovable obsession takes him  from bidding wunderkind to banned–involved in a scandal that was covered in Esquire, Time Magazine, and others.

The Promised Band
Directed by Jen Heck
Northwest Premiere | 89 min.
The story of an unlikely group of women from opposite sides of the Israeli/Palestinian border who are set on an unexpected path when an American friend makes them an offer they can’t refuse: to meet in person. In a region where sides are separated not by just a 26-foot physical wall but a social one, meeting is nearly impossible.

The Tenth Step
Directed by Gerry Moffatt
Oregon Premiere | 61 min.
World-renowned Himalayan rafting expedition leader Gerry Moffatt embarks on an exciting 4,000-mile solo motorcycle adventure across the Himalayas for his 50th birthday, intent on exploring changes he’s seen over 30 years of guiding. Inspired to revisit a river that almost killed him 20 years ago, Gerry finds gratitude and closure in the crucible of one of the most dangerous whitewater canyons on the planet.

Revisit Festival Favorites (From the Comfort of Your Couch)

Last week we hosted our final “In Case You Missed It” screening of 2017 before the 14th annual BendFilm Festival coming up this October.  For those of you who want to continue to rediscover these great projects from last year (and who wouldn’t?!), here is some good news:

We tracked down a handful of films from last year’s Festival to see how you can view them from the comfort of your own home.  We hope to continue to add to this list.  Enjoy!


Finding Oscar by Ryan Suffern (winner of the Katie Merritt Audience Award)

Google Play

First Girl I Loved by Kerem Sanga (winner of the Best Narrative Feature Award)

Google Play

Growing Up Coy by Eric Juhola (winner of the Best Documentary Feature Award)


If There’s a Hell Below by Nathan Williams (winner of the Best Cinematography Award)

Google Play

Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World by Nico Edwards


Donald Cried by Kris Avedisian

Google Play

Contemporary Color by Bill Ross and Turner Ross

Google Play

Petting Zoo by Micah Magee
(Ok we snuck this one in from the 2015 Festival but still it’s one you’ll want to watch again!)


It’s All About the Story – 2017 Ad Campaign

The 2017 BendFilm Festival comes alive for audiences on October 12 but for the filmmakers and festival organizers, that journey to the screen started a long time ago.  BendFilm partnered with Astir Agency to create an ad campaign that embodied the best parts of the Festival and got audiences talking before the films starts rolling.
Erik Bergstrom, Creative Director answered a few questions to give a behind the scenes look into this year’s ad campaign and the tagline: It’s All About the Story.

What was the inspiration behind “Its All About the Story” tagline for the 2017 BendFilm Festival?
We, at Astir Agency, looked at independent film in the cinematic landscape and boiled down what makes BendFilm’s selections so unique. And what we were left with was the power of story being the defining quality. Film is an incredibly powerful medium for conveying stories and stirring up emotion. A story well told does not rely on a specific budget, studio, or equipment, but instead finds it’s strength from the creative filmmakers, actors and collaborators who are able to get to what matters, making the audience feel something.

Can you describe the ad campaign in 5 words?
Fun, intriguing, and very yellow.

What do you want the audience to think and feel when they see the ads? 
We want the audience to feel a sense of play and curiosity. The ads are one frame from the climax of a scene that can only be completed in the observer’s mind. There is a story behind each image, but only the viewer knows how it will unfold.

Tell us about the models.
The models are adventurous souls ready and willing to do anything. They are musicians, students and mountaineers. At this very moment, Chris Wright, the male model, is in remote Pakistan for the next 6 weeks attempting a first ascent deep in the Himalayas, collecting what are sure to be amazing stories of his own. We promise, no models were harmed in the shooting of these ads!

How did you decide on the three final angels/frames?
Photographer Tim Park did a fantastic job with this shoot, providing us with a bunch of great images from which to create the scenes. The chosen scenes felt full of potential energy. You don’t know in which direction the energy is going, but you know that it is going somewhere… quickly.

What is your favorite part of this campaign?
The entire campaign has been a blast! But, we really love that there is an open ended, choose your own adventure element to the visuals. Part of the fun of experiencing independent film – what you feel and what I take away from a particular film – is so often completely different and unique to who we are. These ads speak to that personalized experience.

How will this campaign “Its All About the Story” continue off screen?
We want to hear and see how each of you completes these stories. So, grab your laptop, writing pad or cocktail napkin and start writing.   Plus, BendFilm plans to share stories from filmmakers and film-lovers about how storytelling enhances their lives.  And there may be some spontaneous iterations of this idea playing off-screen during the Festival so keep your eyes out around downtown!

Rising from Ashes – with Special Guests






Rising From Ashes: Bikers in Attendance!

BendFilm will present two screenings (at 5:30 pm and 8:15 pm) of RISING FROM ASHES, the uplifting and redemptive 2012 documentary by T.C. Johnstone that follows Team Rwanda in its quest to reach the highest levels of cycling while becoming a symbol of hope for their recovering country. “It’s not just about a cycling team,” wrote Daphne Howard in a review for The Village Voice. RISING FROM ASHES “is a testament to what happens when human beings care for one another.”

Team Rwanda is making only its second trip to the United States to race in the 37th Cascades Cycling Classic–July 20-24. Six riders will be at the screenings, including Gasore Hategeka, who is featured in the film, and team captain Bonaventure Uwizeyimana. Also coming are team head coach Sterling Magnell, team director of marketing and logistics Kimberly Coats, and Team Africa Rising founder Jock Boyer.

Proceeds from the McMenamin’s screenings will go toward Team Rwanda’s efforts, not just in developing more Olympic cyclists, but also to its expanded mission to improve literacy, food, water and healthcare in Rwanda.

“When you say Rwanda,” Coats told an interviewer last year, “people still think genocide.” Of Hutus and Tutsis and the mass slaughter of an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 men, women, and children. “Our riders…always say that they want Rwanda to be known as a land of cycling, and not for all the bad of the past. They see themselves as ambassadors of a new Rwanda and proof that people from different backgrounds can come together and race as one team.”

RISING FROM ASHES (Directed by T.C. Johnstone, USA, 2012, 82 min.)

Tickets: $15: 5:30pm screening:
8:15pm screening tickets:

BendFilm Fundraiser










Join BendFilm for the premiere of a short documentary produced in collaboration with Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS). Celebrate our mission to strengthen the community, to inspire social change and to enhance lives through the unique power of film. Featuring live music by Chiringa!, food by Joolz, beverages by Elixir Wines and Bigfoot Beverages, and, of course, FILM. It will be an unforgettable evening!

Event Details

Where:  Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon

When:  June 3 @ 6pm

Tickets:  $30 per individual or $250 per table of 8.  Available here.


BendFilm Presents | Best of the 43rd NW Filmmakers’ Festival

BendFilm Presents:
Best of the 43rd Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival

Filmmakers in Attendance!

Join us to see eight engaging short films from Portland’s Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival at the Volcanic Theatre Pub on Monday, May 22nd, from 6-8PM.

These well-crafted shorts were selected to showcase the quality, range and vitality of independent filmmaking in the Pacific Northwest giving these independent filmmakers wider exposure.

Portland’s NWFilmCenter Programmer Ben Popp will be joined by filmmakers to present the program and answer your questions following the films.

Event Details

Where:  Volcanic Theatre Pub

When:  May 22nd @ 6pm

Tickets:  $10 (General) $8 (Members).  Available here.

The Age of Consequences

BendFilm will celebrate Earth Day 2017 with a screening of a compelling new documentary that the Hollywood Reporter called “eye opening ” on April 18th at the Tower Theatre.


Director Jared P. Scott, chooses an unusual perspective in THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES (USA, 2016, 80 min) as he investigates the issue of climate change through the lens of US national security and global instability. With the participation of Pentagon insiders, admirals, generals and military veterans, the film looks at how climate change can amplify social tensions in volatile regions of the world. The film’s goal is to open the audience’s eyes and minds and show that if we all come together, there is hope.


Sophie Robinson, Executive Producer of THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES, will be on hand for a discussion and to field questions following the film.
“When sectors of power are de-prioritizing environmental protections, it’s important to bring together the Bend community of nature-lovers, veterans, and outdoor enthusiasts to discuss why we all have a stake in fighting climate change,” said BendFilm Director Todd Looby. “A film like this is an incredible way to provoke thought and inspire action on an issue so important to our community.”

Event Details:

Where:  The Tower Theatre

When:  Tuesday, April 18th @ 7PM 

Tickets: $14 general admission. Available now here.