2020 BendFilm Festival Award Winners

BendFilm Awards Statue

BendFilm Announces Short and Feature Film Awards for BendFilm Festival 2020

27 Films Awarded Including ‘Warrior Women’ Which Won $5,000 for Best In Show

 

Bend, OR – BendFilm announced today 27 films and filmmakers awarded jury prizes and more than $12,000 at the 2020 BendFilm Festival. BendFilm will present encore screenings of the award-winning titles in the Virtual Festival Cinema immediately following the Awards Ceremony through Sunday, October 25. The full hour-long Ceremony is available to stream online for free anytime.

The (indie) Women of the Year award in honor of Pamela Hulse Andrews was presented virtually to director Anna Boden. (Half Nelson, Captain Marvel, Mrs. America).  BendFilm celebrated her illustrious career with deep indie film roots, her episodic work in television and her diverse experience in the Marvel franchise. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Andrew Bujalski were celebrated as First Features Honorees during the Festival for their authentic filmmaking styles and impact on the independent film world.

Erik Jambor, Head Of Festival Programming, BendFilm, said, “This year’s celebration of independent film has been fun, therapeutic and unconventional. We relish in creating community around creativity and the human desire to connect.  Thank you for all those who helped make our 17th anniversary truly remarkable.”

Jurors for the Festival include:  Film Critic, Carlos Aguilar; Distributor, Samah Ali; Actress, Amber Benson; Film Programmer, Drea Clark; Film Critic, Tim Cogshell; Director, Patrick Creadon; Producer, Fennel Doremus; Director, Chris Eyre; Director, Skye Fitzgerald; Director, Lara Jean Gallagher; Producer, Peter Gilbert; Director, LaRonn Katchia; Animator, Kent Osborne; Director, Sergio Rapu; Director, Haroula Rose; Director, Eric Slade; Director, Frederick Thornton; Director, Isaac Trimble; and Producer, Aaron Woolfolk.

The 2020 BendFilm Festival Award recipients are:

Best of Show 
Warrior Women directed by Christina D. King and Elizabeth A. Castle
The story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s.

Best Directing 
Sapelo directed by Nick Brandestini
A journey within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons, coming-of-age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.

Best Narrative Feature 
Freeland directed by Mario Furlon, Kate McLean
An aging pot farmer suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as the impact of the legalization of the cannabis industry rapidly destroys her idyllic way of life.

Best Cinematography:
Woman Of the Photographs directed by Takeshi Kushida
Cinematographer Yu Oishi
A misogynist photographer discovers the joy of loving a woman by using his photographic retouching skills to help her with her self-identity and self-esteem.

Best Documentary Feature 
Sapelo directed by Nick Brandestini
A journey within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons, coming-of-age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.

Best Editing
Revival directed by Josefina Rotman Lyons
Editor Will Kitchings
A meditation on aging, dance, and community, the film follows four legendary older choreographers as they strive to create dances with New York City seniors.

Best Indigenous Feature 
Cholitas directed by Jaime Murciego and Pablo Iraburu
Five Bolivian indigenous women are involved in a unique expedition. As a symbol of liberation and empowerment, they propose to climb the highest mountain in America, The Aconcagua.

Best Outdoor Environmental Feature 
The Falconer directed by Annie Kaempfer
Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a sanctuary for injured birds of prey. A falconer guided by the healing power of nature, Rodney becomes the unlikely hero of a new environmental movement in his stressed Washington DC community.

Special Jury Award for Environmental Insight:
Wolves Return directed by Thomas Horat
The wolf polarizes and fascinates. 150 years after the wolf was wiped out of Central Europe, it is inexorably conquering its place.

Special Jury Award for Documentary Cinematography:
Sapelo
directed by Nick Brandestini
Cinematography by Nick Brandestini
A journey within a unique American island to tell the story of its matriarchal griot, Cornelia Walker Bailey, and her adopted sons, coming-of-age in the last remaining enclave of the Saltwater Geechee people.

Special Jury Award For Documentary Debut
Finding Yingying directed by Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
A Chinese family travels to the U.S. for the first time to look for their daughter, an international student who vanished from a university campus.

Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast:
Materna directed by David Gutnik
A closely observed psychological portrait of four women, whose lives are bound together by an incident on the New York City subway. Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Lindsay Burdge, Jade Eshete, Rory Culkin, Michael Chernus, Sturgill Simpson, Assol Abdullina.

Best Indigenous Short
Blackwater directed by Boise Esquerra
Years of reckless alcoholism, a country music star finally hits rock bottom and is court-ordered into wellness therapy with an offbeat group of misfits on her hometown reservation.

Special Jury Award For Storytelling 
Kama’āina (Child of the Land) directed by Kimi Howl Lee
A queer sixteen-year-old girl, Mahina, resides in the predominantly Native Hawaiʻian neighborhood of Wai’anae, Oahu. After suffering abuse from her stepfather, Mahina must navigate life on the streets, until she eventually finds refuge at the Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae – Hawaiʻi’s largest organized homeless encampment.

Special Jury Award For Original Concept
Looking Glass directed by Ginew Benton (Ojibway)
After his father was murdered Benjamin Looking Glass II, a young Native American man, builds a time machine using modern science and ancient knowledge to prevent his fathers murder and ultimately discovers his true purpose in creation.

Best Narrative Short 
A Woman directed by Tahmina Rafaella
A young, modern mother struggles to find her place in Baku, Azerbaijan, a culture simultaneously Muslim and secular, progressive as it is traditional, and like her at a crossroads of seeming contradictions. Navigating the trappings of both conventional and modern female roles, she straddles the space between choice and responsibility where in the course of one day she can be a mother, a daughter, a wife, and still be herself.

Special Jury Award for Directing 
Thank you For Patiently Waiting directed by Max Marklund & Anders Jacobsson
Josef is involved in a car accident that throws him into a roller coaster of memories, large and small. He remembers his severely depressed father in a Santa suit, the angry neighbor shouting during a wild house party, his mother’s unconditional love, and the New Year’s Eve that ended in romance and vomit. Why all these memories appear, and what they mean, he won’t know until the end.

Special Jury Award for Outstanding Performance 
Friends Like That directed by Francesca de Fusco
In the immediate aftermath of a break up, Maia seeks solace from her best ex, Alex. After spending the night, crafts get made and things get weird.

Best Documentary Short
A Head Shorter directed by Sasha Sivan Bortnik
Narrated by Naftali Deutsch, A HEAD SHORTER begins in the spring of 1944 when Naftali and his entire family are forced to leave their home in Kimyat, a village in the Carpatho-Ukraine region, and sent to Auschwitz. The film takes us through Naftali’s journey as a 12 year old boy in the Holocaust and how he survived multiple concentration camps.

Special Jury Award for Directing
80 DEGREES NORTH directed by Brandon Holmes
A group of international artists explore the Arctic island chain of Svalbard. Set against dramatic natural backdrops, the artists share their hopes, fears, and insights on encountering an environment undergoing radical change.

Special Jury Award for Micro Story
River Looters directed by Rebecca Hynes
Three river surfers turned obsessed free divers hunting for lost belongings in the Deschutes River. When not on a quest to reunite people with their lost belongings, they dive for trash. The most water logged and shreddy good samaritans in Oregon.

Best Animated Short 
A Head Shorter directed by Sasha Sivan Bortnik
Animation by Soul Proprietor Studios
Narrated by Naftali Deutsch, A HEAD SHORTER begins in the spring of 1944 when Naftali and his entire family are forced to leave their home in Kimyat, a village in the Carpatho-Ukraine region, and sent to Auschwitz. The film takes us through Naftali’s journey as a 12 year old boy in the Holocaust and how he survived multiple concentration camps.

Best Student Short 
Furthest From directed by Kyung Sok Kim
In 1999, Novato, California, an 8-year-old girl named Jessie is enjoying what little time she has left with her best friend, Lucas. The two of them have difficulty conveying it, but they’re both aware as to what is about to happen. The trailer park they live in will be closed, and the whole community will be forced to evacuate, as a result of the MTBE water contamination. For Jessie, this means facing an unwanted change and learning to say goodbye to that which tethers her to her little pink trailer.

Special Jury Award for Student Documentary:
Volunteer directed by Allonzo Armijo
92-year-old Howard Henry chooses to stay busy and avoid aging by going to work every day.

Special Jury award for Filmmaker to Watch:
Ellie Wen, director of The Missfits
An all-girls robotics team based in San Francisco is taking on the male-dominated field of engineering. They are determined to show other girls how fun and rewarding STEM can be, one robot at a time. The documentary follows The Missfits as they confront growing pains, build their robot, and travel to competitions. The diverse team is made up of twenty girls from high schools around the Bay Area ranging in age from fifteen to eighteen and coming from a variety of backgrounds. On their own, they are outsiders, misfits. But together, on the team, they build each other up and learn to embrace their own identities.

Special Jury Award For Micro Doc
Present Imperfect directed by Kyle Stebbins
Nature isn’t perfect, but that’s exactly what makes it perfect. When we embrace flaws, we create even more beauty. That’s what woodturner Bill Karow believes, and what drives him in his craft: to reshape people’s opinions about the things they perceive as worthless, and to find joy in that process.

Best Of the Northwest 
For the Love of Barb directed by Will Cuddy and Zach Feiner,
A deceased lover leaves behind a bit of romance for a ferocious meeting between her suitors.

The Katie Merritt Audience Awards:

The Katie Merritt Audience Award, Narrative Feature
AMERICAN REJECT

The Katie Merritt Audience Award, Documentary Feature
CHOLITAS

The Katie Merritt Audience Award, Narrative Short
IMAGINE SYMPHONY LIVE

The Katie Merritt Audience Award, Documentary Short
GIANTS

The Katie Merritt Audience Award, Local Focus
THE PURSE: A DREAM IN TWO ACTS

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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 17th 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 8-25, 2020 for virtual and drive-in cinema, virtual filmmaker conversations 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 www.bendfilm.org. Connect with BendFilm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.