A chat with Filmmaker of ‘Big Sonia’, Leah Warshawski

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, we chatted with filmmaker Leah Warshawski about her film ‘Big Sonia’ which tells the story of Leah’s grandmother, who is a Holocaust Survivor.

“In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to resist her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.”


BF: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

LW: I’m a producer/director currently based in Maui and Sun Valley, Idaho. I grew up in the midwest and went to college a few places before landing at the University of Hawai’i where I got a BA in the Japanese Language.

BF: How did you begin the process of making this film? Did you think about making it for a long time before actually beginning the production process?

LW: We began making BIG SONIA in 2009 after my husband visited Sonia’s tailor shop for the first time. We had talked among our family about filming Sonia and her shop as a reality show or a comedy but after Todd came to visit he agreed that there are stories in the shop that need to be captured. We didn’t have any funding at the time so we just started filming on our own every time we were in Kansas City. At the time Sonia was 84 and we didn’t know how much longer she would be healthy enough to film, so we wanted to start quickly. (She’s currently 97 and still going strong!)


BF: Do you have any fond memories from making the film?

LW: Too many to mention…But one of my favorite memories is having Sonia with us at the festival world premiere where we won both Best Doc and Audience Awards. Sonia was beside herself and she came to a wrap party with us and danced all night long. Having these kinds of experiences and being able to travel with Sonia during the festival circuit was a huge joy for me because we never did this when I was younger. So I feel like our relationship grew because of the festivals and audience reactions to the film.


BF: Sonia Warshawshi is your grandmother, can you tell us a bit about how it was to make a film about your family?

LW: This is tough to answer quickly, but I did a TEDx talk about some of the issues that came up. You can watch the TED talk here.


BF: Overall, since it’s been a few years since the movie was released, what was the reception of the film like? Do you feel it is still current?

LW: As long as there is still so much hate in the world BIG SONIA will remain current. The film won 22 awards and went to hundreds of film festivals. BIG SONIA is also currently on PBS around the country through 2025, where we have an audience of millions of viewers. We had no idea the film would be so relevant today but we’re still getting notes daily from people who say the film changed their lives.


BF: In an interview from a few years ago you mentioned how you nor your family has gone to visit any of the concentration camps, is this still the case?

LW: That’s correct – we still have not gone. Covid definitely made travel harder and now it’s really not a priority for any of us to go and see it first-hand. Too much trauma there to re-visit.


BF: What advice would you give documentary filmmakers starting out?

LW: Play the long game: Films usually take at least 3-5 times as long as you think they will to finish. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be discouraged by rejection: If you feel like your film needs to be made you’re doing to do it anyway! The Universe will bring unexpected wins along the way. Be patient. Grants are very competitive and take a long time: If you need to raise funds quickly I recommend taking a hard look at the people you know within 6 degrees of separation and get ready to make personal asks. Don’t offer anyone a return on their investment – docs typically don’t make any money. If you break even you’ve done a great job!


BF: What are you working on now, or is there anything coming up in the future?

LW: Currently finishing a short doc about a non-traditional surf instructor on Maui and a feature doc about a luthier based on Maui who just made his 1,000th instrument. Lots of projects on our website:

BendFilm’s Ultimate Holiday Movie List!

The holidays are upon us, which means of course we had to round up some of our favorite Holiday Films! Here at BendFilm, we have quite a wide range of favorite movies, from classics like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Christmas Story’ to not so classics like ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ there is something for every taste! Check out our list below!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

The Holiday

Mouse Hunt

Love Actually

It’s a Wonderful Life

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

A Christmas Story 

Babette’s Feast

Holiday Gift Guide: 25 Gifts for Movie Lovers!

It’s that time of year again! Don’t let the stress of holiday shopping get you down. We have compiled a list of 25 amazing gifts to get the Movie Lover in your life! This will make your gift-giving so easy and will absolutely be a hit with film nerds.

1. Tin Pan Ticket Gift Pack!
Get either 6 or 10 tickets at a discounted rate! This is a perfect way to support a local business and give a gift that keeps on giving! It’s always nice to be able to go to the movies for free!


2. BendFilm Membership:
With 6 different levels of Membership, you can gift one no matter your budget. This is a great gift for the Film lover that lives in Bend, and it comes with a variety of year-round perks.

3. BendFilm/ Tin Pan Merch:
If your pal loves going to the Tin Pan or is a BendFilm Festival goer, get them some merch! All mech can be purchased in person at the Tin Pan Theater. Tin Pan Hydroflask Cups are a great gift, you get $1 off every drink when you use the cup.


4. 2023 Bend Film Festival Pass:
Make sure you & loved ones join BendFilm to celebrate our 20th Anniversary in 2023! Give the gift of attending Movie Maker Magazines’ 25 coolest Film Festivals in the World–October 12-15th, 2023 in beautiful Bend Oregon. There is nothing like experiencing films with the rest of the worl
d, alongside the filmmakers themselves!

5.IndieWomen Membership:
IndieWomen Celebrate and Support the Brave and Inspiring Work of Women Filmmakers BendFilm’s IndieWomen mission is to support all women filmmakers at the BendFilm Festival and beyond. Female-identifying, non-binary and trans individuals are welcome to join. Your funding supports increased filmmaker representation at the Festival in order to help build filmmaking careers.

Gift Group #6: Posters!

100 Movie Scratch-off Poster:
This is a fun interactive gift for the kind of person that loves checking things off their list + watching movies of course.


Minimalist Movie Posters:
Get these unique posters of your loved ones’ favorite films.


Horror Movie Scratch-off poster:
The same idea as the 100 Movie Scratch-Off poster but for Horror Fans! Spooky!


Gift Group #7: For the Foodies! 

Popcorn Seasoning:
Who doesn’t love snacking on some popcorn? Spice it up with this delicious pack of popcorn seasoning, perfect for the ultimate movie night.


Coppola Wine:
Francis Coppola has a winery! This gift is perfect for the wine lover. Pop it open, pour a glass, and enjoy a film. 


Eat What You Watch Cookbook:
This cookbook makes all those amazing foods you see on your screen. Gift it to the foodie in your life! The question is, does it taste as good as it looks?


Gift Group #8: For the cool kid

Movie Soundtrack Vinyl:
For movie & music lovers, get a film soundtrack on vinyl! A24 has so many, and they look so cool, which is a bonus!


Cinefile Card Game:
Test your knowledge with this fun game that is perfect for the next game night with your friends.

Last BlockBuster Merch:
We had to include the Blockbuster merch on our list as it is in our lovely town of Bend! Perfect for the nostalgic film lover who wishes they could wander the aisles of this lost store!

Gift Group #9: For the book lover!

Hereditary Screenplay book:
This is perfect for the horror movie lover!


Wes Anderson Coffee Table Book:
If you have a loved one who is a fan of the whimsical director this book is perfect for them.


Story by Robert McKee:
Some call this book the “Screenwriting Bible”. It’s perfect for someone looking to learn more about the art of screenwriting!


Gift Group #10: For the A24 fan!

Marcel the Shell Statue:
If you have a Marcel-obsessed kid (or adult) in your life this is the perfect & adorable gift.

A24 Towel:
For the A24 lover, get a fun branded Towel.

Lady Bird Puzzle:
For the puzzler in your life.

Gift Group #11: For the die-hard film lover!


Customizable Movie Print:
Add a personalized touch to your gift and get this print of your friend’s favorite movie.


Movie Maker Magazine Subscription:
Stay up to date on all the latest Movie news with another gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.


Martin Scorses Master Class:
The gift of knowledge! This is a great gift for someone who wants to learn more about filmmaking. It will no doubt have a lasting impact!


Gift Group #12: For the cozy at-home movie watcher!


Half Snap A24 Fleece:
For that friend who is always cold. The perfect fleece says “I love movies, but don’t want to scream it from the rooftops”

Aspect Ratio Blanket:
Perfect for cozying up on the couch and watching your favorite movie!

Genre Candles:
Light a candle and get in the mood for whatever film you are going to watch, there is one for basically every genre!



In honor of our 20th Anniversary Festival happening in 2023, we are so excited to announce our Festival Creative Contest! We are looking to YOU, our amazing, creative community to come up with our 2023 creative. These graphics will be on posters, passes, ads, social media, and practically everything under the sun!

Here are the guidelines:

  • Make a poster 11×17 in size

  • Capture the essence of IndieFilm, Bend, Community, Filmmakers, and the power of good cinema!

  • Having a few colors included is great, so we can have variety in our marketing materials.

  • Important things to include:

    • 20th Anniversary Festival!

    • Dates: Oct 12th-15th In Person, Oct 16th- 22nd Virtual.

    • BendFilm Logo and Website

  • The winner gets $500 and two passes to the 2023 festival! And free marketing!

  • The winner will be announced via social media and our newsletter. Credit will be given via tagging and in the copy!

  • The deadline for submissions is January 1st, 2023. Please submit an ai file as well as a PDF. The winner will be selected by a panel of BendFilm staff and Board members

  • For questions and submissions email

The BendFilm Staff’s favorite Halloween movies!


Happy Spooky Season! October means cozy nights, falling leaves, spooks, and most importantly Halloween Movies! Here is our ultimate list of the best Halloween movies for you to enjoy this year! 


Elise, Marketing and Creative Content Coordinator








Doone, Social Media & Screening Manager

The Nightmare Before Christmas







Hanna, Operations Manager and Associate Programmer








Halloween will be playing at the Tin Pan Theater Wednesday, October 26th, get your tickets HERE


Todd Looby, Executive Director: 

Friday 13th, Part II








Todd (Foxy), Tech and Programming Manager, Tin Pan Theater







will be playing at the Tin Pan Theater on Halloween! Get tickets HERE


Selin, Head of Festival Programming: 








Jared, Programming & Screening Manager, Tin Pan Theater

Return of the Living Dead







Robert, Screening Manager, Tin Pan Theater

Trick ‘r Treat







Tom, Director of Communications and Development: 

The Exorcist







We will be screening a variety of Halloween Films at the Tin Pan to get you in the spooky season mood! From A24 hits to there is something for everyone! View all our Halloween Screenings HERE!

BendFilm Announces Feature And Short Film Awards for 19th Annual BendFilm Festival

20 Films and Artists were Awarded Jury Honors Including ‘You Resemble Me’ Winning Best of Show


As an Oscar® Qualifying Festival, BendFilm To Share Indigenous, Narrative and Animated Short Film Winners With The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®


Bend, OR – BendFilm announced today the 20 films and filmmakers awarded jury prizes and more than $12,000 at the 2022 BendFilm Festival. BendFilm will present encore screenings of the award-winning titles on Sunday October 9 which concludes the in-person portion of the festival. Select titles will stream online October 10 –  23, 2022. 

Other award recipients celebrated during the 2022 BendFIlm Festival include director Tamara Jenkins who was recognized as the Indie Woman of the Year, and actors Tatanka Means and Gary Farmer recognized as indigenous honorees. The audience awards will be announced on Monday, October 24 after the streaming portion of the festival concludes. 


BendFilm Festival Head of Programming, Selin Sevinc, said, “From the moment the program opened, we have felt the warmth and spontaneity of our passionate independent film community. There is no greater feeling than connecting artists with audiences in Central Oregon who approach these stories with open minds and open hearts.”


BendFilm Festival Executive Director, Todd Looby, said, “The theme of connection was felt profoundly throughout the festival from the screenings to conversations, parties and panels. There was an electric feeling throughout the town as people watched and were transformed by these films. We look forward to continuing the festival online through the next two weeks to continue and share these incredible stories.” 


Juror and Former Sundance Film Festival Director, John Cooper and Reporter Emily St. James, on behalf of the jury said,“‘You Resemble Me’ is a powerful true story that takes a global problem to a human level. It’s a quietly radical film, seeking to humanize a woman who was turned into a symbol by the international media, even though the international media had her completely wrong. Thanks to terrific performances and groundbreaking filmmaking, the film will hopefully give everyone who sees it pause when jumping to conclusions about those demonized in the media. The jury was moved by this topical story and we are thrilled to award Dina Amer with Best of Show on her directorial debut.” 


Jurors include: senior correspondent, Emily St. James; former Sundance Film Festival director, John Cooper; marketing executive Kim Kalyka; Vice President of Publicity for IFC Films, Danielle McCarthy-Boles; film critic for, Matt Fagerholm; content partnerships manager for RedBull, Brett Campbell, actor, Cara Jade Myers, Environmental Law, Tribal Sovereignty, and American Indian Law student, Elizabeth Zingg; filmmaker, Joanne Feinberg; filmmaker and indigenous program advisor LaRonn Katchia; Sidewalk Film Festival founder, Erik Jambor; documentary filmmaker, Jenny Shi; actress and producer, Liz Cardenas, Academy Award-nominated producer Michael Scheuerman; Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Robin Honan; and, educator, multidisciplinary artist, and award-winning actor Tallie Medel.


2022 BendFilm Festival Jury Award Winners:


Best In Show

​​You Resemble Me directed by Dina Amer

Cultural and intergenerational trauma erupt in this story about two sisters on the outskirts of Paris. After the siblings are torn apart, the eldest, Hasna, struggles to find her identity, leading to a choice that shocks the world in this intimate story about family, love, sisterhood, and belonging.


Best Outdoor/Environmental Feature

Au Revoir directed by Justin Loiselle and Jonathan Ferguson

From a diffident youth to living legend, this is the story of wakeboarding champion Raph Derome as he retires from riding in front of crowds and cameras. Learn about Raph’s competitive family legacy, hear about the brotherly rivalry that fuelled his rise, and witness his last act on the water, the ride of a lifetime.


Best Indigenous Feature

Uýra: The Rising Forest directed by Juliana Curi

Uýra, a trans-Indigenous artist, travels through the Amazon forest on a journey of self-discovery, using performance art and ancestral messages to teach Indigenous youth and confront structural racism and transphobia in Brazil. In the country with the highest murder rates of trans individuals, Indigenous people, and environmentalists, Uýra fosters unity and provides inspiration for these movements in the heart of the Amazon.


Best Documentary Feature: 

Sam Now directed by Reed Harkness

Filmed over an expanse of 25 years, two brothers go on a 2,000-mile road trip to solve a family mystery. Shooting on nearly every camera format imaginable, from hand-developed Super-8 film to Arri 4K, Sam Harkness and his older half-brother Reed employ their creative world of fiction filmmaking to dive headfirst into dealing with the issue at hand: Sam’s mom is missing. 


Best Narrative Feature: 

The Game directed by Ana Lazarevic

Strahinja, a smuggler in the Balkans, aspires to buy a luxury apartment to fix his broken marriage. Shortly after, a routine smuggling trip to Hungary is interrupted by border police. Strahinja becomes stranded with refugee teens, led by Yousef, a beatboxer and a hopeless romantic from Yemen. Yousef’s open hearted approach to life makes Strahinja aware of the walls he has built around his own.


Special Jury Award For Narrative Features: 

Malek Rahbani for his performance in Jacir

Jacir directed by Waheed AlQawasmi

Jacir, a resettled Syrian refugee, is in search of a new life in a rough Memphis neighborhood. He is faced with a challenging new environment and a host of interesting individuals, including Morty, his next-door neighbor’s cat, Meryl, a racist and opiod-addicted shut-in, and Jerome, a Memphis rapper. Jacir tries to win the affection of a new love interest, Nadia while dealing with her overzealous father and navigating suspicion from ICE.


Best Editing: 

Jason Reid and Darren Lund for Sam Now 

Sam Now directed by Reed Harkness

Filmed over an expanse of 25 years, two brothers go on a 2,000-mile road trip to solve a family mystery. Shooting on nearly every camera format imaginable, from hand-developed Super-8 film to Arri 4K, Sam Harkness and his older half brother Reed employ their creative world of fiction filmmaking to dive headfirst into dealing with the issue at hand: Sam’s mom is missing. 


Best Cinematography: 

Bae Jin Baek for his work on Unidentified

Unidentified directed by Jude Chun

In 1993, enormous spherical UFOs appear over every major city in the world. They don’t attack. They don’t initiate communication. They just remain floating above each city. In 2022, twenty-nine years after the UFOs arrive, they have become a part of ordinary life, but there is a rumor going around that some people who look like ordinary humans are actually aliens and the mysterious Alien Mind Control Syndrome has taken hold of people in strange and unexpected ways. 


Best Director: 

Elisa Levine and Gabriel Miller for their work on Sweetheart Deal 

Sweetheart Deal 

Four Seattle sex workers trapped in a never-ending spiral of addiction turn to a self-proclaimed healer offering friendship and a path to salvation from the streets. From the sanctuary of his roadside RV, he nurses all who are ready through the rollercoaster of heroin withdrawal. But just as the women begin to rebuild their lives, a shocking betrayal ripples through their world.


Special Jury Award For Excellence in Personal Filmmaking: 

Bad Axe directed by David Siev

A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Cambodian Killing Fields.


Best Documentary Short: 

Meantime Directed by Michael T. Workman 

As an isolated winter takes hold, a son returns home to reckon with the past that haunts his father. 


Best Narrative Short: 

Enjoy Directed by Saul Abraham

Progressive muscle relaxation, Lycra, spoken word. As Michael (Himesh Patel) seeks novel ways to halt his spiraling depression, a moment of hope arrives via an unexpected source.


Best Northwest Short: 

No Spectators Allowed Directed by Kanani Koster

A true-crime podcast host sits down with an Indigenous woman to record her sister’s cold case, but their intentions for telling this story come to a head as they examine the night in question.


Special Jury Award For Social Impact: 

One Buck Won’t Hurt Directed by Christopher Stoudt

Four Black teenagers in New Orleans support themselves by tap dancing for tips in the French Quarter, navigating the reckless optimism of youth and the bitter pains of growing up fast in the incarceration capital of America.


Special Jury Award For Animated Short: 

The Seine’s Tears Directed by Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Philippine Singer, Alice Letailleur 

On October 17, 1961, Algerian workers took to the Paris streets to protest the mandatory curfew imposed by the police. 


Best Animated Short: 

Ice Merchants Directed by João Gonzalez 

Every day, a father and his son parachute from their cliff-top house to the village on the ground, where they sell the ice.


Special Jury Award For Personal Vision: 

Babysitting Directed by Patrick Noth 

Working from home as a creative can be difficult, especially when you’re babysitting three kids. 


Best Outdoor/Environmental Short: 

Monumental Divide Directed by Brian Olliver 

A young couple comes to terms with social forces that drove them out of a utopian rural community.


Best Indigenous Short: 

Daughter of the Sea Directed by Alexis C. Garcia 

After the death of her grandfather, a young woman experiences a spiritual awakening when she is called by Yemaya, the orisha Goddess of the Sea.


Best Student Short: 

El Carrito Directed by Zahida Pirani 

Nelly, who lives alone with her elderly father and makes ends meet by working as a street vendor, is forced to take a leap of faith or be resigned in her position forever.



Katie Merrit Audience Award for Best Short:

Rosalie Fish Directed by Tim Kemple and Faith Briggs

For Rosalie Fish, Indigenous student-athlete and activist, running isn’t just a sport — it’s how she represents the strength and resilience of indigenous women within her tribe and beyond. As we look forward to #IndigenousPeoplesDay, we are honored to share Rosalie’s story in our second episode of “Who is a Runner” – a docu-series collaboration with Brooks Running.



Katie Merrit Audience Award for Best Feature: 

Pasang: In the Shadow Of Everest Directed by Nancy Anne Svendsen

The story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the Indigenous trailblazer who battled racism, gender discrimination, and political opposition in her quest to become the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest. Her courageous, tragic journey would greatly move her country, inspiring new generations to reach for their rights.


You can view films virtually after the fest HERE!

2022 BendFilm Jurors!

Say hello to our amazing Jurors for the 19th Annual BendFilm Festival!⭐️

This fabulous group of 17, consists of filmmakers, actors, festival directors, Oscar nominees and more!

They will be voting on the best films in the fest, which will be announced at our Award Ceremony on Saturday, October 8th at the Boys and Girls Club!



Doc Feature Jurors


Jeanelle Augustin: Jeanelle Augustin is a Haitian-American film programmer and grants professional interested in redefining investment and embracing risk. Currently, Jeanelle leads the Original Voices Fellowship presented by NBCU Academy and NBC News Studios. She has programmed for CIFF, True/False, and Big Sky, led filmmaker labs and seminars for BlackStar Projects, Firelight Media, and UnionDocs, served on festival juries and funding panels for BAVC, Chicago Media Project, Creative Capital, Define American, Doc Society, Film Independent, IDA, Mezcla Media, Open City, SFFILM, Sundance Institute, and was named a 2021 DOC NYC Documentary New Leader and selected for the 2022 Rockwood Documentary Leaders Fellowship supported by Ford Foundation. 


Matt Fagerholm: Matt Fagerholm is the Literary Editor at and a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He spent four years writing film coverage for and has contributed to a variety of publications including Time Out Chicago, The A.V. Club, No Film School and Magill’s Cinema Annual. His writing/editing experience includes serving as Assistant A&E Editor at the Columbia Chronicle and interviewing such icons as Betty White, Ed Asner and Judy Collins for the Woodstock Independent. He is the founder of Indie Outlook, a blog featuring exclusive interviews with some of the most exciting voices in modern independent filmmaking. 


Danielle McCarthy Boles: Danielle McCarthy-Boles is the VP of Publicity at Magnolia Pictures. She has overseen publicity and promotion for independent film hits including Man On Wire, Melancholia, Shoplifters, The Square, and the Oscar-nominated documentaries I Am Not Your Negro and RBG among many others. McCarthy-Boles produced the critically acclaimed documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me which was released theatrically nationwide by Magnolia Pictures in 2013 and was released internationally by Universal Music Group in 2014. She holds a BFA in Cinema Studies from New York University and an MA in Media Studies from The New School.


Narrative Features Jurors 


John Cooper: For 3 decades John Cooper was a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming team. In the early years, he moved from a programmer to the Director of Programming before eventually being named director in 2010. From 2010 to 2020 he oversaw all aspects of the annual Sundance Film Festival in addition to expanding ventures to Sundance Film Festival: London and Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong. Other work includes guest curator and juror at major festivals around the world. From 1995-1998 Cooper also served as director of Outfest held annually in Los Angeles. In 2020 he was accepted into the Academy of Motion Pictures.


Kim Kalyka: Kim Kalyka is a 20 year veteran of the independent film industry who began her career at Miramax marketing such titles as Bridget Jones’ Diary and Amelie. In 2002, she joined IFC Films working on such films as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Boyhood, The Trip, Blue is the Warmest Color, Pina, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Currently an executive at NEON, she’s part of the team that released such notable titles as the Oscar nominated I, Tonya, Spencer, Flee, Worst Person in the World, Honeyland, and multi Academy-Award winning Parasite.


Emily St. James: Emily St. James is a senior correspondent at Vox, where she covers American identities. She was the first culture editor for the site and the first TV editor of The A.V. Club. Her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Criterion Collection, and The Baffler. She is the co-creator of the podcast Arden and co-author of the book Monsters of the Week: The Complete Critical Companion to the X-Files. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and an ever-shifting number of cats.


Narrative Shorts Jurors 


Liz Cardenas: Liz Cardenas is a 2022 Independent Spirit Award winner for Duplass Brothers Productions’ 7 DAYS (Tribeca 2021 | Cinedigm) and a 2019 Spirit Award Nominee for NEVER GOIN’ BACK (Sundance 2018 | A24). One of two narrative producers to receive the inaugural 2022 Dear Producer Grant (an unrestricted $50K grant), she was included in the 2019 LATINXT, a curated list of emerging Latinx creators from an initiative by Zoe Saldana, Robert Rodriguez and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Other notable credits include Alex Lehmann’s ACIDMAN, starring Thomas Haden Church and Dianna Agron (Tribeca 2022), and David Lowery’s A GHOST STORY (Sundance 2017 | A24), starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck.


Tallie Medel: Tallie Medel (diverse pronouns) is an educator, multidisciplinary artist and award-winning actor in New York City. Medel is one-third of dance comedy trio Cocoon Central Dance Team and the host of DARLING TALLIE, a dance comedy show and party. Film credits include Daniels’ EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Dan Sallitt’s FOURTEEN and THE UNSPEAKABLE ACT, Caleb Johnson’s THE CARNIVORES and JOY KEVIN, and SNOWY BING BONGS ACROSS THE NORTH STAR COMBAT ZONE, a collaboration with Rachel Wolther, Alex H. Fischer and Cocoon Central Dance Team. They teach clown, they’re a gif, and they have big juicy eyeballs.


Erik Jambor: ERIK JAMBOR co-founded the Sidewalk Film Festival in 1999 and was Director for its first eight years. He ran the 2007 BendFilm Festival, was at the helm of Indie Memphis from 2008-2014, and returned to BendFilm in 2016 as Head of Festival Programming through 2020. Erik has since returned to his filmmaking/editing roots, with his short doc TIN SANDWICH BLUES having recently completed its festival run. He has served on the jury of numerous festivals including Slamdance, SXSW, and the Biografilm Festival in Bologna, Italy. Sometimes he plays ukulele.


Doc Shorts Jurors 


Jenny Shi: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who is passionate about stories that find shared humanity and compassion. Her debut documentary “Finding Yingying” (MTV Documentary Films) has won numerous awards including the Special Jury Recognition at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival and a China Academy Award of Documentary Films, and was nominated for an Emmy. Jenny’s work has appeared on Paramount +, MTV, BBC News, PBS NewsHour, among many others. Jenny is a graduate of Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices In Docs program, a Logan Nonfiction Program fellow, a Women at Sundance Adobe fellow, and a DOC NYC “40 Under 40” filmmaker. 


Michael Scheuerman: Oscar-nominated Producer of Hunger Ward (2020), director Skye Fitzgerald’s short documentary on the war and famine in Yemen. His initial exposure to the film industry was working on Havana in 1990, Sydney Pollack’s narrative on the Cuban revolution filmed in the Dominican Republic. After 25 years in the tech industry, he retired in 2018. A Bend resident, Michael hikes, bikes, skis, and also serves on the Advisory Board of BendFilm.


Robin Honan: Robin Honan is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and co-produced the Oscar-winning documentary FREEHELD. In 2020, she produced the Netflix documentary WHAT WOULD SOPHIA LOREN DO? which was shortlisted for a Best Documentary Short Subject Academy Award in 2021. Her Oscar-nominated HBO film MONDAYS AT RACINE follows a Long Island hair salon that offers free services to women undergoing cancer treatment, helping them restore a sense of beauty following the ravages of chemotherapy. With Ross Kauffman, she produced the short documentary FIRE WITH FIRE, which currently has over 25 million views on YouTube, and tells the tale of a renegade oncologist who has cured leukemia in thousands of patients by using a disarmed form of the HIV virus to attack cancer cells. Robin also directs short films and branded content for a wide range of organizations. 


Indeginous/Environmental/Outdoor Jury 


Joanne Feinberg: Joanne Feinberg is an award-winning filmmaker and curator. She brings over 25 years of film production experience, and thousands of hours of thoughtful film viewing, to her work. She is currently the Senior Programmer at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and previously Director of Programming at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Joanne graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a combined degree in Cinema Studies and Film & TV Production. A deep love and understanding of cinema informs all of her endeavors. 


LaRonn Katchia: LaRonn Katchia is an award-winning filmmaker and tribal member from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, OR currently pursuing a passionate filmmaking career in Portland, OR. LaRonn grew up on the Warm Springs reservation and has lived there for 18 years of his life transitioning to the city of Portland for film school. His love and passion for film reside from the influence of the commonly mistreated portrayal of indigenous peoples in Hollywood films today.


“My mission is to change the Indigenous stereotypes of film and to represent us through an authentic lens. The Indigenous perspective is what’s missing in Hollywood today and needs to be brought to light. There are too many untouched original stories waiting to be filmed, and that being filmed by an indigenous director.” 


LaRonn has recently worked on a behind-the-scenes featurette for the FX hit show Reservation Dogs and helped shoot & edit the first all-indigenous episode of PBS’s Roadtrip Nation: Native Way Forward in collaboration with Buffalo Nickel creative. Today, in collaboration with the Warm Springs Community Action Team: LaRonn is working on his first feature documentary about the transformation of a 125-year old, historic Commissary Building as it is moved and restored into a small business incubator to serve tribal 


Brett Campbell: Brett Campbell joined Red Bull Media House in 2015 to help manage Red Bull’s global documentary film slate, and since expanded to look after Content Partnerships across all areas for the North American market. Brett has managed campaigns and for critically acclaimed and awarded documentaries including THE ALPINIST, THE DAWN WALL, DEAR RIDER, and ANY ONE OF US. Collectively, these campaigns yielded millions in box office and streaming deals with the likes of HBO, Netflix, Discovery, BBC, and Amazon. Brett’s passion lies in building opportunities for creatives, and finding audience for impactful, inspiring people and stories. 


Cara Jade Myers: Cara Jade Myers is a Native American actor and writer who is an enrolled member of the Wichita tribe.

She was born on September 2nd in Phoenix, Arizona to Sharon Campbell (Wichita) and Bennett Hill (Kiowa). Her grandfather, Bobby Hill, was a well-known Native American artist who painted under the name White Buffalo and her great grandmother was an acclaimed beader whose work has been displayed in the Smithsonian. Raised in a turbulent household in Prescott Valley, she left home at the age of 17. She married her high school sweetheart, Josh Myers, at the age of 19. Cara began taking acting classes with a fiery passion, driving 2 hours to the class and 2 hours back, 3 times a week while living in Prescott Valley. She likes to say it prepared her for LA traffic.

In 2011, she and Josh headed to Hollywood where she got involved in acting classes and started writing. She was accepted into the 4th Annual Native American Writers Lab where she developed a TV pilot from pitch to 3rd draft. The same year, she was a semi-finalist in the ABC/Disney writers’ program. In early 2020, Cara was among 12 selected as part of A3 Artist Agency’s The Colony program, creating a TV pilot that is now in pre-proudction. She finished the year as a fellow of the Native American Feature Film Writers’ Lab.

Over the years, she’s acted in a variety of indie and short films. In 2019, she was cast in an episode of the Emmy-Award winning series, “This is Us”. In 2021 she wrapped her role as Anna Brown in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film, Killers of the Flower Moon.


Elizabeth Zingg: Elizabeth Zingg (they/them) is a queer Ho-Chunk person who grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and spent much of their adult life in much of the southwest/northwest and thru-hiking up the east coast. With a passion for ecology and the political frameworks of tribal, state, and federal governments, they are currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at ASU Sandra Day O’Connor with an emphasis in Environmental Law, Tribal Sovereignty, and American Indian Law.


Animated Shorts Jury


Tallie Medel

Danielle McCarthy-Boles

Robin Honan

BendFilm Announces Tatanka Means and Gary Farmer As Indigenous Filmmaking Honorees for 19th Annual BendFilm Festival

(L-R: Tatanka Means, Reservation Dogs, Gary Farmer) 

Gary Farmer and Tatanka Means Will Make Special Appearances In Bend, Madras and at the K-8 School in Warm Springs To Celebrate Indigneous Storytelling 

BendFilm announced Tatanka Means and Gary Farmer as Indigenous Filmmaking Honorees for the 2022 BendFilm Festival. Means and Farmer will receive their award in person during the 19th annual BendFilm Festival running October 6 – 23, 2022.  Both actors will also lead or participate in a variety of public and private events that focus on indigenous art and filmmaking. Events include special free screenings of FX Networks’ hit show Reservation Dogs with post film discussions, a comedy sketch by Tatanka Means, an Indigenous Filmmaking Showcase in Madras, and a student workshop for Warm Springs K-8 school led by Farmer and Means. 


Todd Looby, BendFilm Executive Director, said, “Not only are Gary Farmer and Tatanka Means incredible actors in their own right, they both shine off screen through music, comedy, activism and other creative collaborations. We are honored to host them in Bend, Madras and Warm Springs and look forward to celebrating their careers during the Festival. This program has received a lot of support from funders and it is really great to see our indigenous programs expand and better serve the greater Central Oregon region.”


For several years, BendFilm has hosted filmmaking workshops in partnership with Warm Springs Community Radio KWSO and hosted engagements with notable Native storytellers including director Chris Eyre and actor Adam Beach. BendFilm and the Warm Springs Community Action Team are partnering in the upcoming year to offer more filmmaking workshops for Warm Springs students outside of the festival season.


Tickets for Reservation Dogs episodes and Indigenous Filmmaking Showcase set to screen during the 2022 BendFilm Festival are now live at


Gary Farmer is an actor and musician, born on the Six Nations along the Grand River, Ohsweken, Ontario. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of Indigenous media in Canada and was the founding director of an urban Indian radio network, Aboriginal Voices Radio Network. Gary has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Male in the films Powwow Highway, Dead Man, and Smoke Signals. Recent credits include series regular on Resident Alien and Reservation Dogs. Gary’s blues band, Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, will release their sixth album this fall.


Tatanka Means is an award-winning actor, motivational speaker and stand-up comedian from Chinle, Arizona. He represents the Navajo, Lakota, Dakota and Omaha Nations. His most recent film is Killers of The Flower Moon, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and is set to be released in the fall of 2022. He can also be seen in the new season of Reservation Dogs and in the upcoming movie, Horizon, by Kevin Costner. Tatanka performs stand-up comedy throughout Indian Country spreading laughter and messages of inspiration to all ages. Tatanka was recently named “Entertainer of The Year” by the National Indian Gaming Association. Tatanka is proud to be an alcohol and drug-free sober performer. He also won Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role in Once Upon a River, which won Best Directing at the 2019 BendFilm Festival.


This program is supported by the Starview Foundation, The Roundhouse Foundation, The Oregon Cultural Trust, and The Braemar Charitable Trust.


About BendFilm:

BendFilm hosts an annual independent film festival, year-round film exhibitions and programs, and is the proud owner of the Tin Pan Theater – a boutique arthouse cinema located in downtown Bend’s Tin Pan Alley. The organization is designed to support and nourish filmmakers and enrich the cultural life of Central Oregon while also providing an economic benefit to the region. Celebrating its 19th year, BendFilm is proud to bring diverse voices and visions to the Bend community. The BendFilm Festival runs every October in Bend, Oregon. Make plans to join us October 6-23, 2022 for in-person and virtual cinema plus filmmaker workshops, panels and more. Bend is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, beer lovers and stunning natural scenery. BendFilm is made possible by a dedicated crew of volunteers and generous donors, members and sponsors. For more information, call (541) 388-3378 or visit Connect with BendFilm on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tamara Jenkins Announced the IndieWoman and First Features Honoree for 19th Annual BendFilm Festival!

(L-R: Private Life, Director Tamara Jenkins, Slums of Beverly Hills)

Indie Director and Writer Tamara Jenkins Is Widely Recognized For Her Nurturing and Intimate Approach To Dramatic Storytelling

BendFilm To Host Screenings of Jenkins’ Films ‘Slums of Beverly Hills’ and ‘Private Life’



BendFilm announced writer and director, Tamara Jenkins as the 2022 IndieWoman of the Year and First Features Honoree. Jenkins will receive her award in person as audiences celebrate her career during the 19th annual BendFilm Festival running October 6 – 23, 2022.  BendFilm will host a screening of two of her films, Slums of Beverly Hills and Private Life, along with a guided Q&A session moderated by former Director of Sundance Film Festival John Cooper. Jenkins will share insights from her 20-year career and reflect on gender inequities in the industry.


Oscar-nominated writer and director Tamara Jenkins was described by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as “not a compromiser.” Rolling Stone said this of Jenkins’ work: “… her microscopic looks at human beings in all their complexities and vanities are vital to the cinematic landscape. Her stories are not didactic. They are observational and communal — a hug, not a finger-point. She is scrupulous not just with the female character closest in age to her; Jenkins takes years to write a script because she wants to walk in the shoes of every character until she gets them right.”


Selin Sevinc, BendFilm Head Programmer, said, “Tamara Jenkins is a rare filmmaker who has a knack for finding a balance of humor and desperation in characters we instantly warm to. We always feel personally comforted by the fact that her characters exist in this world, and that Jenkins exists in today’s world of indie filmmaking despite working with stars like Laura Linney, Natasha Lyonne, Alan Arkin, Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. For her uncompromisingly independent attitude to filmmaking and ongoing inspiration to us all, we’re honored to name Tamara Jenkins IndieWoman of the Year.


Tamara is the writer and director of the films Private Life, The Savages, and Slums of Beverly Hills as well as several award winning shorts. Her films have screened at the New York Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival, Cannes, and Sundance Film Festival. Among the honors she has received are an Academy Award nomination, an Independent Spirit Award, a Los Angeles Film Critics prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Tamara attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her MFA and met her husband, the screenwriter, Jim Taylor, with whom she occasionally writes. Jenkins lives in NYC with Jim and their daughter, Mia. 


Tickets for Tamara Jenkins’ films set to screen during the 2022 BendFilm Festival are now live at


Private Life | Written & Directed by Tamara Jenkins

3:15 p.m. Sat. 10/8 @ Tower Theatre

Richard and Rachel, a couple in the throes of infertility, try to maintain their marriage as they descend deeper and deeper into the weird world of assisted reproduction and domestic adoption. When their doctor suggests third-party reproduction, they bristle. But when Sadie, a recent college dropout, re-enters their life, they reconsider. After A Private Life, Tamara Jenkins will participate in an on-stage conversation with John Cooper about the film and her career.


Slums of Beverly Hills | Written & Directed by Tamara Jenkins

7 p.m. Fri. 10/7 @ Cascades Theatrical Co.

In 1976, a lower-middle-class teenager struggles to cope living with her neurotic family of nomads on the outskirts of Beverly Hills. After Slums of Beverly Hills, Tamara Jenkins will participate in an on-stage conversation. 



About the IndieWomen of the Year Award: 

BendFilm created the IndieWomen of the Year award in 2018 in honor of the late Pamela Hulse Andrews who was a Bend business leader and advocate for the arts for more than 25 years. Director Debra Granik and Producer Anne Rosselini received the award at the 2018 Festival, Producer Christine Vachon received the award in 2019 and Director Anna Boden received the award in 2020. Pamela was a passionate arts advocate who worked tirelessly to support women in film.  For many years, Pamela organized the Independent Women for Independent Film group that raised money for several BendFilm awards and helped BendFilm survive the economic downturn in the late 2000’s. BendFilm will carry on Pamela’s memory through this award, presenting it to female artists who demonstrate an exceptional passion for independent film, bravely shares her authentic voice and makes extraordinary contributions to the independent body of work.


About the BendFilm First Features Program: 

The BendFilm Festival discovers and supports new filmmaking talent. BendFilm screens several feature films each year by first-time filmmakers who display mature and original filmmaking techniques and abilities. These filmmakers are navigating a very crowded field of new and experienced filmmakers. They now have a much harder time establishing filmmaking careers in comparison to the celebrated independent filmmakers who came to prominence before the digital age. BendFilm brings in established independent filmmakers to share their experiences to help mentor emerging filmmakers breaking into the industry. Other First Feature honorees and mentors include John Sayles & Maggie Renzi (2016), Peter Gilbert (2017), Debra Granik, Chris Eyre, Ondi Timoner (2018), Ron Shelton (2019), Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Andrew Bjalski (2020).

Music Videos and Local Focus Films the for 19th Annual BendFilm Festival!

(L-R: $$, New Beginning, Darlin’)


BendFilm To Celebrate the Connection of Music and Film with 8 Music Videos In Its Popular First Music Video Category Back For the Second Year

The Local Focus Highlights Pacific Northwest Filmmakers and Issues Impacting the Region


BendFilm announced today the eight Music Videos and nine Local Focus films set to screen at the 19th annual BendFilm Festival running October 6 – 23, 2022.  


The Music Video category takes audiences on a vivid and impactful audio and visual journey. Genres in the program include 1980s sci-fi-synth-rock, folk, PDX underground rock, satire, and more. The Local Focus documentary films highlight our community’s experiences and observations, highlighting local causes that affect all of us. The Local Focus narratives are a curated mixture of comedies, dramas and thrillers.


The Oscar® Qualifying BendFilm Festival will present 80 short films and 33 feature films from around the globe in addition to music videos, panels, workshops and live performances. The schedule is live at


Todd Looby, BendFilm Executive Director, said, “Central Oregon has a vibrant and growing independent film community adding to the great work coming out of Portland and the Willamette Valley. Each year the Local Focus program expands and the quality of work gets better. We look forward to sharing local talent with audience members coming from near and far.”


Selin Sevinc, BendFilm Head Programmer, said, “We look forward to celebrating the harmonious, timeless and captivating connection between music and film. This year’s music video program provides both a nostalgic tribute to the early days of MTV and an insight into the creativity of modern music video culture. And we relish the opportunity to highlight local filmmakers and soul-baring stories through our Local Focus category.”




Neap Tide By Moon News

Directed by Andrew Higgins

World Premiere

The pain of loss/change and the prospect of building something new.


Darlin’ by She & Him

Directed by Lara Jean Gallagher

Festival Premiere

A music video for “Darlin’” from the She & Him album, Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson.


Dichotomatic by Spoon Benders

Directed by Karlee Boon

World Premiere

A colorful drag through the monotony of lives and nine-to-fives.


$$ by Gold Casio

Directed by Tyler Bertam & Gold Casio

World Premiere

Intergalactic late-night channel surfing.


Frutos Rojos by Los Mundos

Directed by Dave Merson Hess

West Coast Premiere

An interdimensional strawberry-dog picks up a mysterious hitchhiker.


Bang by Jane Machine

Directed by Nastasia Dusapin

World Premiere

Jane Machine’s “Bang” is a rambunctious and catchy ode to eros made flesh by its synth-driven track and infectiously playful video. 


New Beginning by Automatic

Directed by Ambar Navarro

Festival Premiere

Three elite are chosen to escape Earth and start a new beginning on an unharmed planet. 


Ah Ways by Kelsey Beck Kuther

Directed by Doone Lupine Williams

Festival Premiere

Think David Lynch’s 1997 neo-noir “Lost Highway” with a twist of Jeff Buckley.





Blend: On Being Black in Bend | Directed by Kenny Adams 

US Premiere

Ten Black Central Oregonians share their experiences living in the area and the hurdles they’ve faced.


Bridging the Gap (USA) | Directed by Elif Koyutürk 

West Coast Premiere

Meet the people behind Think Wild’s mission to protect and care for native wildlife in Central Oregon. 


Bugtussle (USA) | Directed by Derek Sitter 

World Premiere

After a bank robbery gone bad, a broken criminal and his unhinged partner hide out in a shack in the orange groves of Bakersfield to await their getaway car. 


Further In (USA) | Directed by Eric Parnell 

World Premiere

An off-grid camping trip exposes the darkness in a couple’s relationship.


Get Stung (USA) | Directed by Nick Logsdon 

World Premiere

A Dutch health and wellness guru helps a honeybee cope with its impending death. 


Julia (USA) | Directed by Emma Duvall 

World Premiere

Based on a true story in 1970 South Korea, a young girl faces a test of friendship at an orphanage when she is accused of a crime she did not commit.


Spotlight: Presented by NeighborImpact | Directed by Felipe Santacruz 

World Premiere

An inside look into making Central Oregon more equitable and inclusive for everyone.


To Out Scheme a Sister (USA) | Directed by Taylor Moe 

World Premiere

In Edwardian-era England, Bernadette makes a plan to regain her inheritance from the hands of her scheming sister Mildred.


Vlad & Nick (USA) | Directed by Taylor Morden 

Central Oregon Premiere

On Christmas eve, an aging vampire recounts his adventures with an old friend.