Staff and Board of Directors
Todd Looby, Executive Director
Todd has led the BendFilm organization since 2014. In that time the organization’s budget tripled, it has acquired a daily-operating cinema, the Tin Pan Theater, and was named “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” in 2019. Todd began his professional career as a business manager for Chicago’s largest general construction firm. While working in the construction business, he taught himself filmmaking and eventually made the leap to full-time filmmaking in 2008. Todd’s second narrative feature, “LEFTY,” screened at festivals across the country and was named in “The Top 10 Movies of 2009…” by the “Chicago Tribune’s Metromix.” His follow-up, “Son of None”—a narrative short shot in Liberia—won the Special Jury Award at Slamdance 2011 and won Best Short at the Boston Film Festival. Todd’s last narrative feature, “Be Good,” stars established filmmakers and actors Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg and was called, “Well acted, crafted and observed” by “Variety.”
Erik Jambor, Head of Festival Programming
Erik Jambor co-founded the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham, Alabama in 1999, serving as Director for its first eight years and growing the event into a filmmaker favorite and one of Time magazine’s “Film Festivals For the Rest of Us.” While at Sidewalk he developed and produced year-round programming, including the organization’s inaugural Birmingham SHOUT, the first LGBTQ film festival in Alabama. Erik ran the 2007 BendFilm Festival in Bend, Oregon, and from 2008 – 2014 served as Executive Director of Indie Memphis. During his seven years at the helm, Indie Memphis earned recognition in five of MovieMaker magazine’s annual film festival rankings, most recently in 2014 when it was named as both one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” and “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” Erik was presented with Indie Memphis’ inaugural Vision Award in 2015 for his permanent impact on the festival’s legacy. He has served on numerous festival juries, including Slamdance, and SXSW.
Abby Caram, Director of Operations
Abby has been a supporter, volunteer and festival attendee since BendFilm began. Now she joins the festival behind the scenes as the year-round Director of Operations. Abby and her husband, Bill have called Bend home since 2002 when they moved from the east coast. Abby, Bill and her two daughters can often be found out and about enjoying everything that Central Oregon has to offer.
Tracy Pfiffner, Marketing & Development Manager
Tracy has been a BendFilm fan and supporter since moving to Bend from Portland with her husband and two children. Tracy’s experience includes business development, social media management and providing digital marketing services for media companies, filmmakers and private clients. Her passion for film began as a child in a rural California town when her parents piled the kids into the back of the family car to watch movies at the local drive-in theater. When not at BendFilm or out exploring trails around Central Oregon, you can find Tracy with a bowl of freshly popped popcorn watching movies.
Ellen Shelton, Year-Round Programs
Ellen moved to Bend in 2014 after 30 years of involvement with The Telluride Film Festival and Mountainfilm in Telluride. She created outreach programs for both festivals in Colorado, and is looking forward to designing a unique film series for a year-round Bend audience and to helping produce special film events outside of our October festival.
BendFilm Board of Directors:
Giancarlo Gatto, President
Giancarlo Gatto joined the BendFilm board in January 2015 after volunteering as a venue manager for the 2014 festival. He has worked in the mortgage industry for almost 15 years in a multitude of positions. He currently originates residential and construction mortgage loans in Central Oregon for First Interstate Bank. He studied Mass Media Communications at LaSalle University in Philadelphia where he built on his already existing passion for film, art, music, and technology. He moved to Bend from the Philadelphia area in 2011 with his wife and three children. Giancarlo is grateful to be able to bring his financial mind and artistic heart to BendFilm as a board member.
Chris Gagne – Treasurer
Chris joined the BendFilm board in January of 2018 after volunteering as a venue manager for the 2017 festival. His passion for film comes from more than twelve years working in the movie theatre business in the California Bay Area and Las Vegas, NV, during which time he helped facilitate operations for the CineVegas film festival for five successful years. Like many, Chris made the migration to Bend with his wife in December of 2015 and instantly felt the draw to be a part of this budding cultural community. Although he had spent his recent few years out of the industry, his love for all things movies remained and his passion was reignited after volunteering for BendFilm. Chris is honored to be serving on this board and looks forward to helping grow this incredible festival for years to come!
Dad, husband, professional photographer, amateur actor and filmmaker, and general do-er of outdoorsy things moved with his family to Bend in 2015, and he has volunteered for BendFilm since his arrival. Due to his addiction to movies and his love of Bend, he comes onto the BendFilm board with a desire to do whatever he can to see the festival continue to shine. If you want to know more about why he thinks BendFilm is so important to the economy and culture of Central Oregon, just ask him! But be careful, he may never stop talking!
Originally from Indiana, Bob migrated to Corvallis, Oregon in the early 90s. After a few years and gigs as a fisheries biologist and a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea he settled down a bit. In 2000 he, his wife Suzy and daughter Alexandra packed up the truck and came to the dry side of the hill to settle in Bend. The love of independent thought and expression led to an interest in BendFilm where he was initially involved primarily as a festival sponsor. That led into more duties and Bob is a recycled board member, serving his first stint during the formative years of BendFilm. With the organization comfortably in good hands he took a break for a few years from formal involvement and was only recently recalled to active duty.
Natalie Dent joined the BendFilm board in January 2018, but her love of film began way before that. As an only child, Natalie’s parents would often entertain her by putting on a movie. As a result, she has seen some of her favorites (including “Romancing the Stone”) at least 100 times. As a teen, Natalie studied theater and was in several local plays. She then went off to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., to study Marketing. Afterwards, she joined a PR firm in Seattle, where one of the firm’s accounts was the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The Dent family moved to Bend in June 2013 and they’ve never looked back. Natalie views her position on the board as a way to help keep the arts alive and thriving in Bend.
Lawrence Fisher, a native of South Africa, and his wife Melanie moved to Central Oregon in 2005 to pursue all of the incredible opportunities for outdoor adventures including snowboarding, camping, boating and mountain biking. Lawrence started Home System Solutions, a home theater and home automation company, in January 2006. Lawrence has always had amazing attention to detail when it comes to electronics and how components work together. This skill is valuable when designing systems and working with clients to ensure their vision comes to life. Lawrence joined the Bend Film Board of Directors in the summer of 2018. He has a deep love of independent film, community support and creating movie theaters. Lawrence is also an active supporter and corporate sponsor of several local nonprofits including the Central Oregon Trail Alliance and Family Access Network.
Alison is a mother, lawyer, mediator and arts lover who made Bend her home after completing graduate school in 2001. She has served on various professional and cultural boards throughout her time in Oregon and enjoys being involved in her community. Alison enjoys working with BendFilm for a number of reasons, but especially likes being involved in an organization that promotes the power of film to deliver various perspectives. Alison loves traveling, hiking, eating and relaxing with her family of four.
A native of San Jose, California, CJ loves the sun, the outdoors and the Bend lifestyle. A graduate of Bellarmine College Prep (go Bells!), CJ decided to relocate to Corvallis, Oregon, so that he could take advantage of all of the outdoor adventures and beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer and finish his college experience at Oregon State University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forest products from OSU—Go Beavs! CJ is no stranger to hard work in and out of the office. He has worked on a hand crew as a wildland firefighter for the Forest Service and for Boise Cascade Corporation, where he served as a wood scientist in new product development and a corporate planner in the Wood Products Division. This experience led him to discover finance and the opportunity to help clients with building their ideal future. CJ met his wife, Amanda, in Boise, Idaho, while participating in a running club.
Longing to be closer to their West Coast origins, CJ and Amanda relocated to Bend in the summer of 2007 to start their life as Bendites. They enjoy the Northwest lifestyle and raising their three children: Evie, Oliver, and Bo. CJ began his journey in the financial services industry by taking on the task of training himself in the nuances of finance from scratch, knocking on doors to meet community members, finding partners and mentors in the community, and then learning from there. With the partnership and founding of Miller Ferrari, CJ found his niche. As a true partnership, CJ and Mark believe in the team approach and work jointly to serve their respective clients. CJ’s experience and background resonate with working professionals, such as healthcare providers and small business owners. His understanding of business retirement plans and benefits helps clients maximize their benefit offerings (as employee and employer) as it pertains to their individual situation.
Bio coming soon!