Underrepresented Voices Production Grant

Details Coming Soon:

$5,000 Production Grant for Womxn or BIPOC Artists


On-screen representation of BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA+ characters affect how our culture views our fellow citizens. Until equal representation is achieved on-screen and behind the camera, BendFilm will work to break down barriers and amplify the voices of those who are underrepresented in the industry. We believe that understanding and exposure between neighboring cultures will help create dialog, cooperation, and partnerships that strengthen the interconnectivity of Central Oregon.

BendFilm’s Underrepresented Voices Grants will support a local womxn or BIPOC artist with $5,000 toward making their short film. The grant supports storytellers who are working to tell creative and complex  stories told from a point of view that is unique and authentic. 

Underrepresented filmmakers are less likely to have the funding support to produce their first films to jumpstart their careers. With this grant we are breaking down the economic barrier to democratize the art form which in turn will:
1.) Support the career of an underrepresented artist.
2.) Increase the production of culture that accurately portrays underrepresented communities.
3.) Lead audiences to a better understanding of themselves (if underrepresented) or to the life experience of someone else.


All artists who apply must live or have a plan to film in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco, Wheeler, Lake or Klamath Counties.


  • Submit a proposal (details coming soon). Eligibility guidelines:
    • Director of the film must be a woman or person of color
    • The artist must currently reside in Central Oregon or have a plan to film in Central Oregon.
    • The film must follow the rough treatment that will be provided in the official RFP.
    • The film must be completed on deadline (details coming soon).
    • The project must credit the Oregon Film Office and BendFilm as Executive Producers.
    • The project must include all $50+ Seed&Spark contributors in the “Thank You” credits.
    • The film must be available to World Premiere during BendFilm’s 17th Annual Festival in October, 2020.

(Coming Soon)


Are there any limitations on how grant funds can be spent?
Yes. The film must be directed by a woman or a person of color. The producer or director must reside in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco, Wheeler, Lake or Klamath Counties by June 1, 2020 or the film must be primarily shot in one (or any) of the aforementioned Central Oregon counties.

How will applications be evaluated?
A team made up of BendFilm staff, Board Members and two (2) local filmmakers will evaluate the proposals for artistic merit and ensure all minimum requirements are met. Due to the volume of applications we are not able to provide specific feedback on projects that are not selected.

Link to Official RFP (Coming Soon)

2019 Recipient: Michelle Alvarado 

“Heaven” by Michelle Alvarado was created with funds from the BendFilm Underrepresented Voices Grant.

A fishy satire, Heaven, dares to ask “Why do we believe in an afterlife?” This short film draws a parallel with human emotions and aspirations to a fish, as a way to comment on humankind’s determination to believe in something existing beyond this life, rather than a more rational or empirical hunch that it is true. Told with Rupert Brooke’s poem Heaven, composed in 1913, we see through the eyes of a fish, implying something suspect about our own ‘fishy’ beliefs about the afterlife.

From Michelle: “I have to say the grant has been beneficial beyond this short film.  It helped me exercise that creative part of my mind that asks ‘what stories are important to tell’  and to think outside the box a bit more. The exercise worked, I have formulated a couple other independent documentary series that I am starting to research now and very excited about.”