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 www.BendFilm.org. Stay tuned for more film announcements in the coming days.

 

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION: 

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.


 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION:

 

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.


Liyana
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.